2014 Norton Factory Race TeamAt the 1967 Isle of Man TT, the legendary Mike Hailwood piloted a Honda RC181 to a new lap record of 108.77 mph.
This occurred during Hailwood’s notorious battle with MV Agusta’s Giacomo Agostini, who piloted a smaller 500 Three.Many came close to the record, but it wasn’t until 1975 when someone finally broke it. And this rider was Mike Grant, who was piloting a two-stroke Kawasaki triple; the Yorkshireman raised the record overall lap record to 109.80 mph.Grant continued his career of racing both at the TT and the British Grand Prix, and collectively earned seven Isle of Man TT wins and three Grand Prix races.At 69-years-old, Grant’s career is far from over; Norton Motorcycles has hired Grant, who last piloted a Norton motorcycle 40 years ago, to manage the Donington Park-based manufacturer’s Isle of Man TT efforts.Grant will be responsible for much on the Norton Factory Race Team, including rider management, development of the SG2 Factory bike, and sharing his “Vast TT and racing experience with the highly capable team of young engineers” at Norton.Mick Grant says: “I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with a brand of huge racing heritage. To work with a team that has so much passion and enthusiasm is great, this is the key to a successful team.”Stuart Garner (Norton CEO) says: “To be able to get such experienced talent like Mick is a real coup for Norton, we are determined to win TT’s here at Norton and we see Mick’s role as a vital step in ensuring our team has the depth of experience to take on the current experienced teams. In particular our engineering team will greatly benefit from Mick’s knowledge. We have built a factory race bike from scratch and are now developing it continually, Mike will enable us to move forward with both bike development and rider management.”Last year, with Ian Mackman and Dan Hegarty at the controls of the Aprilia-powered SG2 Norton, the team finished both the Senior and Dainese Superbike TT races.The team has yet to announce riders for its 2014 TT lineup, though Michael Rutter is apparently on Norton’s radar.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!