Cam Donald secures Norton berth for TT 2015
Norton Motorcycles has confirmed that Cam Donald has renewed his contract for the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races with the Australian ace lining up in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races for Norton.
Cameron, hailing from Warrandyte, near Melbourne, won the TT Newcomers Trophy in 2005 and really made his mark a year later when he took a stunning second place in the Senior TT. 2008 saw him claim a Superbike-Superstock double victory and then setting the first ever 131mph+ lap in practice for the 2009 meeting.
He now has an impressive tally of ten podiums with his most recent coming in the 2013 Superbike Race when he took second place behind Michael Dunlop. With a fastest lap of 130.729mph, Cameron is also the eighth fastest rider ever to have lapped the 37 and ž-mile.
Norton have also renewed the services of both Mick Grant and Steve Plater to aid further development and progress of the SG3 Norton throughout 2015.
Cameron has got the Norton factory approval to ride another class at the 2015 TT in order to keep bike fit and get maximum track time. An announcement is expected shortly on Cameron’s chosen ride.
Cameron Donald commented: “After a solid but frustrating 2014 where we made great progress with the bike but didn’t show it’s full potential we all agreed to keep the team together for 2015. Norton have pushed hard within the factory over winter, their engineering department have made many changes to SG3. With the enthusiasm and experience of the Norton team behind me and ex TT winners such as Mick Grant and Steve Plater involved again, we’re all looking forward to a great TT. Norton is synonymous with the Isle of Man TT and I can’t wait to ride the newly developed SG3 round the Mountain Course.”
Stuart Garner, CEO, Norton Motorcycles commented: “Cameron did a great job for us last year, both in riding talent and development work with the factory. The continuity a further year with the identical team cannot be under estimated. It’s a huge ask to build a bike from scratch to compete against the world’s best road racers, the world’s best bikes at the world’s toughest race! To do this we need world-class talent and in Cameron we have this. We also get a great brand ambassador for Norton, his support, feedback and presence within the team are hugely important to us, both as a company and a race team.”
Lee Johnston 2015 IOM TT campaign firms up with East Coast Construction
East Coast Construction Racing returns to the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy again in 2015 with rising star Lee Johnston leading the team’s assault.
However, unlike previous years where he’s been Honda mounted, 26-year old Johnston becomes the latest leading rider to make the switch to BMW machinery for the 1000cc classes and he’ll line up on the Bavarian giant’s flagship S1000RR machine in the RST Superbike, RL360º Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT Races.
Johnston joins the likes of Guy Martin and William Dunlop at BMW – with more expected to follow suit – and, having been the dominant marque at TT2014 in the hands of Michael Dunlop, it confirms that the manufacturer is now one of the favoured mounts for the challenges posed by the Mountain Course. East Coast Construction Racing and Lee Johnston will benefit from the BMW Motorrad UK International Customer Racing Programme, which will provide the team with technical and product support.
Having won the 2013 TT Privateer’s Trophy, Ulsterman Johnston, who now bases himself in Hull, made further strides forward at the TT in 2014, culminating in a best finish of fifth in the RL360º Superstock Race, also lapping in excess of 127mph.
He also took a top ten finish, his third to date, in the opening Monster Energy Supersport Race while his best lap so far around the 37 and ¾-mile course was recorded in last year’s opening Superbike Race with an impressive speed of 127.391mph.
Johnston will also be amongst the favourites in the two Supersport Races where, like the 1000cc races, he’s switched manufacturer this time lining up on a 675cc Triumph Daytona.
As well as competing in the Isle of Man TT, East Coast Construction Racing and Lee Johnston will also contest the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix, Macau Grand Prix and selected British Superbike Championship events and will be backed during the 2015 season by Leamington Spa based company Burdens.
Speaking about his plans for 2015 Lee Johnston commented:
“I think we showed our potential in 2014 in all the classes at the events we contested and as a team we are looking to build on that for 2015 with the aim of being a regular feature on the podium at the International Road Races.”
He continued by saying: “The TT remains the priority for me and East Coast Construction Racing and we know how hard it is to make the breakthrough into the podium positions around the Mountain Course. But we took some solid results there last year despite carrying an injury from the North West 200, and with the increased support from BMW Motorrad UK, Burdens and all our other team sponsors we will be as ready as anyone come June.”
Kneen left without a ride for 2015
Talented Manxman Dan Kneen faces a battle to be on the grid in 2015 after the Braddan rider was informed by the Millsport Racing team that he’d signed to ride with were pulling out. The 27-year old was only informed of their decision last week and now finds himself searching for a competitive team whilst many other riders are already embarking on testing programmes.
Kneen has been a permanent fixture in the top ten of the International road races since 2009 – a year after he became the first man to take a hat-trick at the Manx Grand Prix – but 2014 saw him soar to new heights as he performed brilliantly on the Burrows Engineering machines, winning numerous races on the Irish roads. Those victories saw him comfortably clinch the Irish Superbike Road Race Championship but his finest moment came at the Ulster Grand Prix when he won the Superstock race for his first ever International race victory.
He also enjoyed a superb week at the Isle of Man TT Races, his home event, winning a silver replica in all five of his races and taking no less than three top-ten finishes, the best being an excellent seventh in the Superstock race. His eighth place in the Senior also saw him record his best ever lap of the Mountain Course, 129.360mph, to become the 17th fastest rider of all time. Numerous podium finishes were also taken at the Southern 100.
The results during 2014 saw him in demand for the season ahead and he appeared to have secured a dream ride with a fleet of Suzuki’s being provided by the Ballymoney-based Millsport Racing but that has now disappeared and, with many of the leading rides having already been taken, he’s desperate to ensure he’s on the grid – and competitive – at all of the International races.
Speaking about the recent turn of events, Dan said; “I’m absolutely gutted to find myself without a ride for 2015 and from what appeared to be superb opportunity has now turned into a nightmare. Having secured the deal with Millsport Racing so early in the off season was a real boost and although things had gone a bit quiet these last couple of months, the team assured me in January everything was still very much in place. However, that suddently changed last week when I got a message from them telling me it was all off due to a lack of finance.”
“Having had my best ever season in 2014 makes it even harder to take and it’s left me high and dry and with not a lot of time left to get something new sorted. I’ve been speaking to as many people as I can ever since I got the news but obviously there aren’t as many options as there were before. I’m back to the drawing board but, after such a strong 2014, I really want to continue that form and improve my results further still so if there’s anyone that can help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”