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SHOCK SWITCH: John McGuinness will ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT

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Sensational coup for British manufacturer Norton as the King of the Mountain, John McGuinness is announced as a rider for the Isle of Man TT.

The sound and fury of the silver SG-prefixed Norton V4s have become a welcome fixture of the Isle of Man TT since Stuart Garner and his team reintroduced the brand to the Island with the SG1 back in 2012.

With a noise that Asphalt & Rubber referred to at the time as being “somewhere between “Four Horseman (sic) of the Apocalypse” and “Queen of the Harpies” — as heard from several miles out”, the presence of the machines across the mountain course has been beloved by the crowds and even recognised officially by the Isle of Man race organisers from a technical perspective.

Now those excitement and achievement levels are expected to increase tenfold as the legend that is John McGuinness has been confirmed as an official rider of the Norton V4 race-bike for this year’s Isle of Man TT races in May & June 2018.

We thought we’d seen the road racing worlds’ collective brains explode after the announcement of McGuinness riding with Guy Martin for Honda last year, but with the near-mythical alignment of the brands McGuinness and Norton for this year’s event, we’re certain that the level of anticipation will be off the charts when the King of the Mountain first swings his leg over the shiny, chrome Norton V4 during practice week!

Speaking about the announcement, McGuinness seems at his normal, self-effacing best with his tweet of the announcement finished with the hashtag #bitofunfinishedbusiness.

And naturally, CEO of Norton Motorcycles, Stuart Garner is optimistically upbeat.

But the best part of it all? We called it weeks ago!*

*But then even a stopped clock is right twice a day!

And if you were in any doubt as to how happy the McGuinness family are with the switch, the latest tweet by John’s wife Becky should set your mind at rest…

How McGuinness and Honda parted ways.

There’s no doubting that all was not well within the Honda road racing camp last year, but it wasn’t always that way. With the new CBR1000RR being introduced and with John McGuinness and Guy Martin being announced as the new ‘dream team’ for the Honda team, the start of the 2017 road racing season was met with excitement and rampant expectation. But then the accidents started to happen.

With the horrendous crash of McGuinness at the NW200LATEST: John McGuinness has leg operation but in good spirits and subsequent issues with the new Fireblade causing problems and a crisis of confidence for Guy Martin, the dream of 2017 dominance quickly transformed into something closer to a nightmare.

And then, weeks later and buried beneath problematical news about a prospective Guy Martin retirement that he quickly debunked came the admittance and confirmation from Honda that it was an issue with the bike that had caused the 23 time Isle of Man TT winner to fall and break his leg. Issues that had plagued other riders during the remainder of the season and issues that McGuinness had surely fed back to the team after his accident.

Weeks later, and as the rest of the world led with the news of Ian Hutchinson joining the 2018 Honda road racing team, the lack of a future for John McGuinness at Honda seemed certain to even the most casual of observer; despite the headlines of the press seemingly ignoring the obvious.

This was a narrative helped along with a few timely tweets from the TT legend himself over the holiday period.

https://twitter.com/jm130tt/status/940262163771310080

Couple all of that with the now infamous snap of him on a Norton TT bike from race organiser Paul Phillips, and you can see what set the tongues at Motofire HQ wagging. Sometimes a lot of speculation and a modicum of thought can go a long way!

With John McGuinness getting himself into shape for his visit to the Island and Norton genuinely attacking podium places at this year’s TT, we can’t think about anything else now, other than seeing – and hearing – McGuinness on that glorious, chromed-out V4, tearing down Bray Hill.

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Is the Manx Missile Cavendish about to trade cycling lycra for motorcycle racing leathers?

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Could the Manx Missile hang up his lycra and pedals for something a little more petrol propelled?

Mark Cavendish has been the fastest thing on two (pedal-powered) wheels for a while now, but in recent interviews, the Isle of Man native and good friend of Cal Crutchlow has expressed an interest in two-wheeled vehicles of a motorcycling kind.

Speaking in an interview with Esquire Magazine from when he was in Abu Dhabi for the Formula One last year, Cavendish shared his love of fast cars and bikes, telling the interviewer that he’d ‘always loved anything to do with motors, or machines… Vehicles really. Just love them’. Before being asked if he’d ever considered being an F1 driver?

‘Nah. I don’t think I’m good enough. Everybody thinks that it’s like driving a car down the promenade, it’s totally not the same. To be honest, I prefer motorbikes more; I would like to race them instead.’

Ok, so it’s not a huge admission or a massive surprise – it’s something we’ve all probably dreamed of and one time or another, but when pressed on the issue he does seem to have considered the possibilities more than just in passing.

When asked if motorcycling racing might actually be next for him he replied with an emphatic, ‘In all seriousness, I think so’.

Adding fuel to the fire have been comments from him earlier this month made during press conferences in support of the Dubai Tour.

When asked explicitly if he’d consider hanging up his cycling blocks for motorcycle leathers, he certainly didn’t dismiss the idea, ‘Anything is possible, you know… I will just look at my options for the short term and the long term and see what I do with my future’.

So that’s definitely not a no.

For cycling fans fearful that he might be closer than expected to making the jump, there’s probably not any immediate cause for panic. In the very same Esquire feature he also explicitly stated that he had a ‘fair few years‘ left in his professional career.

Could a cycling pro move over to motorcycles with any expectation of success? Multi-discipline racers aren’t unheard of. Rossi loves his car racing and Lewis Hamilton has always expressed an interest in a taking turn in MotoGP.

But that’s from a motor vehicle on short track racing onto another motor vehicle on a similar track. We’d imagine that the speeds and skills involved from pedal cycle to internal combustion engine are a little less transferable for any moral human.

But then Mark Cavendish isn’t your average human being and reports suggest that the times that he has spent on track have been pretty impressive.

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Indian electric Emflux claims 120mph, over 100 miles range for under £8,000

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Photo: Emflux

Startup company put its first electric sportsbike concept on display, alongside some impressive claims.

The Emflux can hit 62 mph in 3 seconds and charges to over 80 percent in half an hour. Couple that with a range of around 115 miles and a top speed of 120 mph and you have an electric motorcycle to pique anyone’s interest. Throw in a claimed price of under £8000 and you get the room to take notice.

That’s what the Indian startup Emflux did this week at the 2018 Auto Expo in New Delhi.

The 25-strong company has completely developed the machinemachine i and the team have designed everything except for the brakes, suspension and tyres.

Featuring a steel-trellis frame and single-sided swingarm, the chassis of the machine certainly looks the part, and along with the 60kW motor and 9.7 kWh lithium-ion cell battery the entire package only weights 169 kgs.

Alongside the mechanics, the technology on-board features a built-in GPS system, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity – all alongside an NVIDIA Jetson TK1 core processor. That’s a mighty big brain to go alongside some mighty big claims from the startup firm.

The company say that they are planning to build 199 of the bikes for the local, Indian market, with another 300 for export.

Oh and if you want Ohlins suspension, forged alloy wheels and carbon-fibre bodywork, then the price will go up by another £10,000 or so.

With new companies coming out with interesting designs and ideas for new electrically powered motorcycles almost weekly now, surely it’s time for one of the major manufacturers to step in? Isn’t it?

Source: Emflux

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