Charlie Williams, one of the greatest TT competitors of all time, is set to make a sensational racing comeback to the TT Mountain Course at the 2014 Classic TT presented by Bennetts, 30 years on from his last TT Race. The nine-time TT winner will contest the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT in a three-man team that will also include Classic racing legend Bill Swallow and John Leigh Pemberton.
The trio will be riding 500cc Manx Norton’s for Works Racing Motorcycles, owned and run by Patrick Walker and Miles Robinson. Both are lifelong Manx Norton enthusiasts and have been involved at the top level in classic bike racing for many years, providing bikes for riders of the quality of Wayne Gardner, Glen English, Swallow and Chris Palmer. They have Senior Manx Grand Prix, Goodwood Revival and Lansdowne Championship wins among their achievements.
Works Racing Motorcycles will also team up with Stuart Garner and the Norton Factory for the Classic TT to build an eye catching Norton display in the paddock, featuring Norton machines from past to present.
Charlie Williams came to the fore at the Manx Grand Prix, winning the 1971 Lightweight event and the Cheshire rider went on to enjoy a phenomenal TT career, particularly in the 250cc and 350cc classes, in the 1970s and 80s taking no less than nine wins and 21 podiums.
His last TT race came in 1984, finishing second to Graeme McGregor in the Junior 250cc event and fifth in the 250cc Production Race, but he has continued to ride regularly in Mountain Course parade laps and UK circuits as well as contesting races in the UK including the Lansdowne Classic Championship, Goodwood Revival and the Triumph Past Masters.
Swallow also has a formidable record around the 37 and ¾ mile circuit and still has the fastest ever recorded lap by a single cylinder machine, an impressive 108.03mph which he set in the 1999 Singles TT when he finished in second place. The Huddersfield rider’s record in the Classic races at the Manx Grand Prix is second to none having won nine races between 1986 and 2003, the fourth highest number of wins ever achieved in the meeting, and has taken 19 podiums in total. He last competed on the island in 2011, when he finished fourth in the Classic 350cc Manx GP.
The third team member, Pemberton, is also an experienced campaigner around the Mountain Course having contested the Manx Grand Prix between 1996 and 2000. He returned in 2012 to finish 12th in the Supertwins Race and also rode at the TT in 2003 and 2004, winning two bronze replicas.
Speaking about his return to competition around the Mountain Course, Charlie Williams commented: “I really wanted to be involved in the Classic TT, but didn’t envisage ever racing in it! I’ve been riding for Works Racing Motorcycles in the Lansdowne Series for Patrick Walker and Miles Robinson and they really wanted me to do it and have worn me down eventually! Now that I have committed to do it though, I am really excited about the chance to race on the Mountain Course again, without any of the pressure I had during my career. I know the bike and the team well and both are second to none.”
Miles Robinson, Works Racing Motorcycles added: “We attended the first Classic TT earlier this year and were very impressed by what we saw. We decided immediately that we wanted to be a part of the event going forward and we are delighted with the three riders we have confirmed to ride our bikes. We are equally pleased to be working with Stuart Garner and the Norton Factory to ensure that our presence in the paddock is as professional and high profile as it is on the track.”