William Dunlop targets Classic TT glory on Norton

William Dunlop on the rotary Norton at the London Motorcycle Show
William Dunlop on the rotary Norton at the London Motorcycle Show

William Dunlop will ride a rotary Norton at the 2015 Classic TT for the National Motorcycle Museum in a deal that will evoke memories of his dad Robert’s success on the legendary British machine.

Dunlop attended the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show on Sunday, where details of the exciting partnership were confirmed.

Respected Norton engineering guru Brian Crighton will run the team and Dunlop will have the opportunity to undertake plenty of testing on the bike prior to the Classic TT, which runs from August 29-31.

The 29-year-old, who will ride the 588cc machine in the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 race, told the News Letter he’ll be going all-out for what would be a special victory on the Mountain Course in August, given his late father Robert’s association with Norton in the 1990s, when the Ulster roads legend sealed a Superbike double at the North West 200 in 1990 and finished on the rostrum in third position in the Formula 1 race at the TT.

Scottish star Steve Hislop also played a pivotal role in writing Norton’s name into the history books, edging out World Superbike great Carl Fogarty to win the 1992 Senior on the iconic ‘White Charger’ in a race later voted as the greatest ever witnessed around the 37.73-mile circuit.

And Dunlop is now hoping to add another chapter to the spellbinding Norton story this summer, when he bids to put the marque back on the top step on the Mountain Course once more.

“I’m going there to win and there’s a big effort going into this; they feel the bike can win as well and when you look back Steve Hislop did a lap at 123mph,” said Dunlop.

“Now we’ve got better tyres and the suspension is probably a bit better, plus the track now is faster now than it was back then, so you never know.

“Michael did 109mph on the Norton [in a parade lap at 2014 Classic TT] from a standing start and that was the first time he’d thrown his leg over that bike.

“There’s no doubt it’ll be quick enough because the bike was going through the speed trap at 190mph at the North West 200 all those years ago,” he added.

“It’s going to be fast, so it’s just about getting it to handle right and getting used to the fact that the bike won’t have any engine braking, things likes that. As far as speed goes there’ll be nothing close to it.”

Bruce Anstey set a new lap record at 123.894mph on the exotic Padgetts Yamaha YZR500 two-stroke Grand Prix machine in the Formula 1 race last year.

Dunlop - who joins Guy Martin in the Tyco BMW team for the international road races - will also compete on the Davies Motorsport Hondas at the Classic TT in the 350cc and 500cc races.