It didn't take long for either the factory or the dealers to realise that the Commando had the potential to be a race winner. The works was not particularly flush with cash, but the Commando had proved an invaluable lifeline, after Norton Villiers had risen from the ashes of AMC, and sales were good.
With backing from Imperial Tobacco, Norton primarily under the influence of Peter Williams -went racing. Of the dealers who joined them, Gus Kuhn was arguably the most successful, their team being the equal and on occasions the better of the factor)' effort. Riders such as Mick
John Player Commando: The first factory built race replica? Photograph by Chris Langton.
Andrew, Charlie Sanby and Dave Potter all became household names in the early 70s on the stunning metallic dark green Kuhn Nortons.
The Norton works story has been told recently in CBG by Peter Williams, but the company was ahead of its time when it launched what could be said to be the first factory built road-going, race replica, in the JPN. Twin headlamp fairing with a semi-integral over tank unit and huge seat hump, finished in stark white with the red and blue stripes of the John Player No 10 cigarette brand, were the neares: anyone would get to a works Norton on the road.
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