TT 2017: Norton boss: 'We aren't as mad as people thought we were'

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British manufacturer Norton has been awarded the Motul team award for technical excellence after an impressive showing at last week’s Isle of Man TT.

The iconic British marque walked away from TT 2017 with four top ten finishes, their quickest ever lap and their best result since Norton returned to the TT with Stuart Garner in 2011.

Aussie riders Josh Brookes and Dave Johnson finished sixth and seventh respectively in Friday’s Senior TT, with the Castle Donington-based factory taking seventh and eighth in the RST Superbike race with the riders reversed in position.

Brookes’ quickest lap of 130.883mph narrowly beat Johnson’s quickest time from 2016 as Norton show they are a force to be reckoned with around the 37.73-mile mountain course.

Dogged by reliability issues in the past, throughout the entire two week TT the squad saw just two retirements during practice with one of those when Brookes’ chain fell off at Ballaugh Bridge.


“Everybody felt we were lucky to get into the top ten last year, but this year we’ve come and asserted ourselves as top ten contenders with both bikes,” Norton owner Stuart Garner told MCN. “There’s no luck about it now, we’ve earned it.

“The big thing for me as team owner, is I don’t see another team placing two top ten bikes like we have. That’s massive as we’ve designed the chassis and the bike in Castle Donington, so it’s huge for the reliability of the bike and fabulous for all of the guys who have been working on it.

“I look at the people who laughed at us when we started this project and we’re beating them now. Nobody has built a bike from scratch to take on the top flight at the TT in generations, of course people were going to laugh at us the idea was crazy! But after a lot of hard work, guts, determination and of course money, it’s all starting to come together. We’re five or six years in and we’re starting to see where we are going and everybody is starting to realise we aren’t as mad as they thought we were.” 

Pick up a copy of our special edition McGuinness: Ordinary bloke. Extraordinary Racer. This special from MCN, celebrates the career of one of the sport’s best-loved road racers. Affectionately known as McPint, John’s career has wowed and entertained bike racing fans for more than 20 years. Buy it here. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing