Exclusive! Norton to race in Lightweight TT

Cameron Donald flies over Ballaugh Bridge

Norton has confirmed their entry into the 2015 Lightweight race at the Isle of Man TT, a factory insider has told Bike Social.

It was also confirmed that Australian Cameron Donald who raced for Norton at the 2014 TT will be joined by another rider in the team on a second and revised version of the 2014 SG3 for the Superbike and Senior races next year.

The Lightweight project is being developed by students on the apprenticeship program run by The British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy which has Norton as its partner and is based at Norton’s HQ at Castle Donington. The 16-18 year olds have an incredible opportunity to enter the motorcycle manufacturing industry at the sharp end with the development of a race team.

The Lightweight TT entry was also confirmed via a career website highlighting the Academy, which stated; “As part of this unique opportunity Norton will also be working towards a race team development and a Lightweight TT entry for 2015 staffed by the Academy students.”

We understand the chassis of the Lightweight bike will be ready in time for Christmas and the project will use the hugely popular Kawasaki ER-6 engine which powered all of the top 15 bikes at the 2014 Lightweight TT. The race was won by Dean Harrison at an average speed of 117.46mph. Further development of Norton's own project will continue early in the New Year before testing commences.

The 2015 Lightweight TT takes place on Friday 12th June ahead of the Senior TT.

Dean Harrison takes the spoils in the 2014 Lightweight TT

The very first Lightweight TT took place in 1922 and has been an on-and-off part of the TT race schedule since. It was reinstated in 2012 after a 6-year absence and the entry regulations state that the bikes can be any four-stroke, twin-cylinder machine not exceeding a capacity of 650cc.

The British manufacturer is undergoing quite the resurgence since it was bought back to life by Stuart Garner in 2008 and has a long history with the TT having won the inaugural twin-cylinder race in 1907. Norton returned to racing at the Isle of Man TT in 2012 after a 20 year absence with the SG1.

The Aprilia RSV4-powered SG3 was raced by Donald in 2014 and rather than developing an entirely new bike, the team are working on developing the existing model concentrating their efforts on the rear end set-up, especially the swing-arm. That said, only the gearbox and crankshaft remains from the Aprilia, everything else is Norton-manufactured. Donald managed a 124mph lap on the first lap of the Senior TT which was the fastest ever lap by a Norton but unfortunately retirements caused by electrical gremlins in the Superbike race and then a slipping tyre on the wheel rim in the Senior TT means the Norton team are even more determined for success in 2015.

How will Norton get on in 2015?