He produced his first motorcycle, the Energette in 1902 and took part in various competitive events to prove its worth. All the early machines had very primitive braking systems, but in any case they were of little use. The roads to quote one observer were “smeared with a terrible green paste of pulverised horse dung, rainwater and the assorted filth of an imperfectly scavenged city.” No wonder the locals called it “the ‘oss road.” (oss meaning horse!) Despite suffering a recurring heart problem, which prematurely aged him, he competed in 3 TT races in the Isle of Man. At the 1911 TT race, one commentator noted- “Norton is a tough old sport and has the old age pension!” He was actually 43. His white beard combined with his fatherly nature earned him the title ‘Pa’ Norton.
|James Lansdowne Norton|
‘Pa’ Norton was promoted to Glory in April 1925 at the age of 56. All the DHQ staff at the time were present at his funeral. He left a wife and five children. As a mark of respect in which he was held ‘The Motor Cycle’ magazine promoted a shilling subscription fund which raised £1203.00 for a memorial scholarship in motor cycle engineering at Birmingham University.