Saturday, February 09, 2008


This photo comes from Mike Jackson, who at the time masterminded some interesting advertising and racing support, drumming up quite a bit of business in the US especially. That's why the Norton club here is so Commando-heavy... they sold a lot of them in California during the 70's, and they seem thick as fleas in the Bay Area.

I love this photo, the angle of the barrier striping perfectly accenting the racing crouch of the speeding dirt-tracker, who is probably flat out at 120mph, with no brakes! The Norton logo has a massive 'green globe' beside it (logo of NVT)- too bad the pic isn't in color. That number plate might just about nail the year of the photo.

Mike Jackson comments,
"RE: that wonderful picture of racer Frank Gillespie on the #76 Norton,
in the daytime at Ascot, underneath our little Norton billboard. I was actually the latterday owner [from about 1979 onwards] of Andover Norton Ltd, the worldwide Norton parts supplier, which I purchased from NVT Ltd, and which still operates happily today under the proprietorship of Joe Seifert, former Norton importer for Germany...the same man who sold the Norton intellectual rights [that he held for a clutch of European countries] to Kenny Dreer, a few years ago.

I worked for Norton Villiers Corporation in Long Beach [as General Mangler] between June 1970 and June 1972, at which time we were selling Commandos and AJS Stormers; thereafter I was sales director of Norton Villiers Triumph through the difficult mid-1970s period, right up until the time the plug was pulled.

Back to the Ascot photo. The photo-call was arranged by Roger Stange, who went on to manage Norton Triumph for the whole of USA, and oversaw the rundown of the British company's affairs long after all the trading had ceased. Roger then went to work for Yamaha, and rose thru their ranks to Vice Prez; a truly excellent fellow all round. I had returned to UK by time that Ascot daytime pic was taken, but from what
I know the snapper was either Dan or Walt Mahoney. Jared featured the pic in the 08 Legends Program.
I hope this will clarify what -- for historians -- is a very complex situation. "

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