The next manufacturer to feature in Road Racing News Famous TT Marques series, is arguably the most famous British two wheel brand in history, Norton.
122 years ago in 1898 the Norton story first began courtesy of James Lansdowne Norton, who’s company went onto taste success within the inaugural TT Races of 1907, as Rem Fowler claimed Twin Cylinder race victory.
By the mid 1920’s Norton was well and truly established amongst biking’s biggest names across Europe and on Manx shores.
Senior TT successes with Alec Bennett and Stanley Woods, Sidecar honours with George H Tucker were amongst the main highlights of the 20’s, whilst the 30’s would prove even more productive.
Thanks to the performances from Percy Hunt, Jimmy Guthrie, Freddie Frith, Harold Daniell and the aforementioned Stanley Woods, Norton enjoyed seven Senior TT triumphs from 1931-1939.
Post World War 2, the late 1940’s would see Norton’s Senior class domination continue with three successive premier class triumphs from 1947-1949.
Into the 1950’s and more blue riband class crowns were banked in 1950, 1951 and 1952 as the legendary Geoff Duke and Reg Armstrong claimed International road racing’s biggest prize.
Rhodesian Ray Amm went onto add Senior TT victories in 1953, 1954 to Norton’s racing resume whilst added world famous racing names to secure TT wins/podium finishes on Norton machinery include the following:
Eric Oliver/Les Nutt, Bob McIntyre, eight times World Champion Phil Read MBE, Jack Brett, John Hartle, Bob Anderson, Billy Nelson, Derek Minter, Paul Smart, Mick Grant, Geoff Johnson, Robert Dunlop and 1973 Formula 750 race winner Peter Williams.
Photo by Mike Yiend
Modern era wise we’ve got to start by focusing on Steve Hislop’s incredible Senior TT success in 1992. Hislop and the ‘White Charger’ Abus supported rotary Norton, emerged triumphant by just over four seconds over future four times World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty.
Returning in an official capacity to the TT Races in 2009, the past ten years have provided highs, lows, positives, negative publicity for the iconic Norton name.
High points of the last decade have included Senior TT top six finishes with Josh Brookes, who also in 2018 on route to a top five finish within the record breaking, history making Pokerstars Senior race, set a new record Norton lap speed of 131.745 mph.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Alongside 2015 British Superbike Champion Brookes, added 21st century era roads greats to compete under the Norton banner are as follows:
19 times TT winner Michael Dunlop, TT Privateers Championship winners Ian Mackman and Dan Hegarty, twice TT winner Cameron Donald.
RST Superbike Classic TT Champion David Johnson, reigning IRRC Superbike series winner Davey Todd and fastest TT racer in history, Peter Hickman.
Now owned by TVS, hopefully the future’s bright for one of biking’s biggest, most loved names, who to date according to the iomtt.com based TT database, have an incredible 94 TT victories! True Mountain Course royalty.
Words by Stevie Rial