CAMERON DONALD TO RIDE FOR NORTON FACTORY TEAM AT 2014 ISLE OF MAN TT RACES
Norton Motorcycles has confirmed that Cameron Donald will contest the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, with the Australian ace lining up in the Dainese Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races for the British manufacturer. Cameron will start both races from the number 19 position, made famous by the late Steve Hislop who took Norton’s last TT victory in the 1992 Senior Race.
After three years with Wilson Craig Racing, there has been much speculation about Donald’s future since last year’s TT. However, while the change in teams will see his career take a different direction, it signals his intention to continue racing at the highest level and also his passion for competing on the Mountain Course.
Hailing from Warrandyte, near Melbourne, Donald won the TT Newcomers Trophy in 2005 and set the paddock alight a year later when he took a stunning second place in the Senior TT. 2008 saw him claim a Superbike-Superstock double victory for Relentless by TAS Suzuki before setting the first ever 131mph+ lap in practice for the 2009 meeting although a spill a day later ultimately put him out of the races.
Although he has yet to win another race, he now has an impressive tally of ten podiums with his most recent coming in last year’s Superbike Race when he took second place behind Michael Dunlop. With a fastest lap of 130.729mph, Donald is also the eighth fastest rider ever to have lapped the 37 and ¾-mile course and showed his versatility with second in the inaugural Okells Brewery 350cc Classic TT Race last August.
Having made an unsuccessful return to the TT in 2009 with Michael Dunlop, Norton bounced back in 2012 with Ian Mackman on board their all-new machine although the Senior Race cancellation put paid to their hopes of a competitive finish. However, with further development, they came back stronger in 2013 with a two-man team comprising Mackman and Daniel Hegarty and the duo lapped at 122.277mph and 122.290mph respectively with Mackman claiming the best result of the fortnight with 18th in the Superbike Race.
Over the winter, Norton have secured the services of both Mick Grant and Steve Plater to aid further development and progress and by signing a proven TT winner in Donald, in a three year deal, their intentions for the 2014 TT have clearly been set.
Cameron Donald commented: "When Norton began talking to me about their plans for TT 2014 I knew it was an opportunity I didn't want to miss. With the enthusiasm and experience of the Norton team behind me and ex TT winners such as Mick Grant and Steve Plater now involved, this is sure to be an exciting year. Norton is synonymous with the Isle of Man TT and I can't wait to ride the new SG3 round the Mountain Course and add to their Isle of Man history."
Stuart Garner, CEO, Norton Motorcycles commente d:"Cameron is a really great rider to have on board, not only as a racer but also as a brand ambassador for Norton. His support, feedback and endorsement will all be really important to us both as a company and a race team as we look to and we are all relishing the challenge of developing a strong bike and team around him for the long-term. We will also be working with Cameron within our road bike business, primarily to help develop our Australasian markets where Norton, Cameron and the TT all have a great following."
More, from a press release issued by Steve Plater's publicist:
STEVE PLATER TO DEVELOP NEW NORTON
Lincolnshire race ace Steve Plater has signed a deal with the British Norton factory to develop their bike in a pre-TT test programme and he was at Cadwell Park this week putting the new Aprilia powered V4 machine through its paces in a shakedown test.
Plater, From Woodhall Spa near Lincoln retired from racing shortly after a bad crash at the North West 200 and has spent much of his time since running track days throughout the UK and Europe as well as television commentary duties at the annual Isle of Man TT festival.
He said: "We have two bikes here at Cadwell today, last year's TT bike and the new 2014 machine that has another 30-35bhp. The new bike has different geometry but the main chassis is the same apart from the swing arm being around 40mm shorter. We have a lot of work to do before the bike is ready for the TT which starts in less than 10 weeks and I am to help develop the bike and do as much testing as possible around the guys who are working hard in the factory. Our main aim is to improve the bike so it can cope with the extra horsepower and become a podium contender which is something we all want to see.”
Although Norton approached Steve to ride the bike at this year's TT he has declined the offer and said: "Norton did dangle the carrot at me and yes, it would be nice but in all honesty I really enjoy being involved in the development side of things and feel I can do a decent job by giving feedback. For me and the rest of the guys in the team the priority is to develop the bike and get it into the position for the rider to stick it on the podium at the TT - but its not going to be me and my wife will verify that answer!"
Since the Cadwell test Norton Motorcycles has confirmed that Cameron Donald will contest the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, with the Australian ace lining up in the Dainese Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races for the British manufacturer. Cameron will start both races from the number 19 position, made famous by the late Steve Hislop who took Norton’s last TT victory in the 1992 Senior Race.