Saturday 20 September 2014

Aussie ace Donald in TT reckoning as he signs up for powerful Norton

Published 01/04/2014 | 05:32

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Cameron Donald at the Gooseneck during the 2013 Supersport TT, where he finished 7th on the Wilson Craig Honda. Can he have success on the Norton? Picture: Jack Corry

NORTON Motorcycles has confirmed that Cameron Donald will contest the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, with the Australian ace lining up in the Superbike and Senior TT Races for the British manufacturer.

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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. The year 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 has an im-pressive tally of 10 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 ever to have lapped the 37 and ¾-mile course.

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.

Based at Donington Park, Norton have claimed they are getting 200bhp-plus from the RSV V4 Aprillia engine, but insist they are getting no help from the Italian factory.

Donald said: '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.'

Fingal Independent

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