Undoubtedly one of the most high profile marque rider/team partnerships of recent times, Mountain Course great John McGuinness will join forces with Norton for participation within the RST Superbike/Pokerstars Senior races at TT 2018.
Since the announcement of the conclusion of his ultra successful stint, as part of the works Honda fold, speculation has been rife that the Morecambe racer would link up with Stuart Garner’s Norton team.
Having now put pen to paper, he’s looking forward to a fresh new challenge, fitness permitting at TT 2018:
“I didn’t want to end my career due to an injury, but the truth is I didn’t know whether I would be able to come back as I didn’t know how fit I was going to be.
Right now, things are going well. I feel a lot sharper and my head is in gear and ready to go. The plan is to get the external fixator cage off my leg by the end of this month and after that we can start working towards getting bike fit and testing.
I’m definitely ready for a change of manufacturer. I needed an injection of enthusiasm and I’ve found it with Norton.”
Photo via iomtt.com
The 23 times TT winner who will pilot Norton’s newest race mount, dubbed the SG7, went onto add:
“From the first time I met with Stuart (Garner) the vibe was there and the passion. I watched Steve Hislop win the TT on the Norton in 1992 and it was massive.
Everyone remembers that! We can’t get carried away, it’s going to be a big job but I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of the bike in action, I watched the bike out on track last year and it’s clearly a very fast and capable bike.
I can tell you there are worse handling bikes out there too, so there’s no reason why we can’t do the business if the stars line up right.”
Norton CEO Stuart Garner added:
“We’ve been talking to John for a year or more, he’s the talent. He’s the man at the TT with the total experience, the results and the pedigree.
We have the ambition to win the TT and to go on to develop a really strong team in years to come. We’d had John in our sights for a long time.”
“To get John in the Norton team with his experience and knowledge available is fabulous. Norton will seize the opportunity to get John involved in all aspects of the bike, he’s a huge asset to Norton.
Everyone in the factory has got a huge buzz. It’s pretty special. We’re all looking forward to the TT but we’ve not set any targets and take nothing for granted.
Putting John McGuinness and Norton together is a dream team, but we know all results at the TT are hard earned whatever your name.”
Words by Stevie Rial