“We’ve now done four laps gremlin-free mechanically, and we’ve put the disbelievers to shame,” Ed Wilson of the Wiz Norton Rotary team said after star Classic TT signing Josh Brookes purred back into the Glencrutchery Road paddock on his 588cc machine.
Brookes raised eyebrows earlier this year when he decided that his bike for the Superbike Classic TT would be a machine known as much for engine meltdowns as for Steve Hislop’s 1992 Senior TT win and 123.5mph lap.
Now the one-time disbelievers are converts, as Brookes and the Wiz Norton have become one of the talking points of Classic TT practice week. Not only has the bike held together, but the 34-year-old Australian has lapped at 118.586mph on only his second night out on the machine.
“That’s more than seven mph up on yesterday,” Wilson said. “Josh is very hands-on and really mechanically-minded. When he comes in he’s tense, but only because he’s thinking about so much. I can’t believe the jump in speed that he’s made.”
The Wiz Norton crew actually have eight Rotary laps on the Mountain Circuit under their wheels by now, because Ed’s brother Richard is riding a second machine that is also problem-free. Richard is 22nd fastest at this stage, with a lap at 113.965mph.”
They’re also proud of other facets of their racing approach. The link between the star rider and amateur racing team was forged when the Wilsons themselves got in touch with Brookes a year ago: normally such arrangements are made by Classic TT chief Paul Phillips via his mobile and his huge contacts book.
And while the Wiz Norton blokes have fitted a new Nitron suspension system, Dymag wheels and PFM brakes, they’re keeping the engine architecture pretty much as it was 25 years ago in 1992. But with 124bhp instead of 150bhp, to avoid the meltdowns.