MOTORCYCLING: Josh Brookes in Classic TT debut on 588 Norton

PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/06/13: Ian Lougher takes the chequered flag on his ILR Honda in the final race of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, the Pokerstars Senior TT; the final race of his 30-year career

PHOTO BY PACEMAKER
PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/06/13: Ian Lougher takes the chequered flag on his ILR Honda in the final race of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, the Pokerstars Senior TT; the final race of his 30-year career PHOTO BY PACEMAKER

Josh Brookes will ride an original-spec 588cc Norton Rotary as previously raced by Ulster legend Robert Dunlop in next month’s Classic TT.

The 2015 British Superbike champion, who returned to the TT in June alongside fellow countryman David Johnson in the factory Norton team after a three-tear absence, will be making his debut at the event.

Brookes will ride under the Wiz Norton Racing banner and joins the team’s regular rider Richard Wilson for the four-lap Motorsport Merchandise Superbike race, which will be held on Monday, August 28.

He has tested the iconic British machine at Donington Park, which produces around 120bhp and is running an original specification from the era when Ballymoney man Dunlop, plus Trevor Nation and Ron Haslam all enjoyed success on the bike.

Brookes said: “I’ve always been interested in the Rotary Norton racers from the 1990s and love the engineering ideas that went into this truly iconic motorcycle.

“I saw the Wiz Norton guys at an event and got talking to them about the project. One thing led to another and it wasn’t long before I was testing the bike. I’m really excited about making my Classic TT debut on such a fabulous motorcycle and getting some more time on the TT Mountain Course.”

Arguably, the Norton’s finest moment came in 1992 when Scottish great Steve Hislop won the Senior TT after a race-long duel with Carl Fogarty. The race was voted as the greatest TT showdown ever by race fans in a 2011 survey to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Mountain Course.

Brookes made a solid return to the TT last month, where he finished sixth in the Lightweight race on Ryan Farquhar’s IEG/KMR Kawasaki.

However, the 34-year-old’s best performance came in the PokerStars Senior race as he lapped at 130.883mph on the Norton SG6, achieving a personal best lap and the fastest lap ever by a Norton as he finished sixth.

Earlier in the week, he finished a solid seventh in the RST Superbike race.