The focus of this year’s display was ‘Racing Nortons’, in honor of the significant history of these machines in the Isle of Man’s centenary year. Top pic shows yours truly atop Paul Adam’s ’37 Norton Manx GP (they didn’t call them ‘Manx’ until after WW2), which he had just finished restoring, and which was the finest machine present in my opinion. Paul’s attention to detail is impressive, and I love the satin chrome finish on all the nuts and bolts – a difficult process to source these days, with environmental regulations on plating by-products (like hydrogen cyanide). Perhaps in the Sierra foothills where he lives, the EPA isn’t paying as much attention.

Paul d’Orléans aboard Paul Adams’ 1937 Norton Manx Grand Prix racer, a very rare machine. [Pete Young]

You might note that the engine has black crankcases, indicating that they’re magnesium; these ‘Manx GP’ models were the first Nortons sold to the public with this ultra-light material. Previously, only factory racers used magnesium. I think Paul’s bike is one of a handful of survivors of this particular model; I’ve only ever seen pix of two others. Note also straight exhaust pipe, not a megaphone.

The Manx Grand Prix, another beautiful Norton restoration by Paul Adams. The ’37 models could be ordered with a rigid frame as here, but most were built with the ‘garden gate’ plunger rear frame and telescopic forks. [Paul d’Orléans]

Pete Young and I were the judges of pre-war machines at the show, and awarded the Norton Best in this category. An impressive machine; even my suit is turning green in the photo! The display of Nortons was perhaps the best ‘featured marque’ display ever seen at the Clubman’s Show, with over 20 compelling racing Nortons, ranging from my 1925 Model 18 racer to 70s Commando production racers. Kudos to the show organizers for bringing such a diverse lot together. Bottom pic shows a couple of attendees in their Rocker finest, admiring a speedway machine with Triumph Tiger Cub engine. There was a great crowd at the show, quite a few Rockers in fact, and I managed to pick up a whole load of Velocette spares for my projects.

Two proper Rockers observe a speedway racer for sale in the swap meet area. [Paul d’Orléans]


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.