Sherco’s presence in the 2022 national off-road racing scene has been given a massive boost with the prized signature of Victorian hotshot and desert racing specialist Callum Norton.
The 21-year-old’s fresh challenge will see him ride French machinery under the Motul Pirelli Sherco Race Team banner alongside incumbents Jonte Reynders and Tim Coleman.
Norton and Reynders will compete in the 12-round Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) and Hattah Desert Race, while trials gun-turned extreme enduro star Coleman will be a fixture in the Australian Hard Enduro Championship.
Norton, who hails from Benwerrin, near the popular Victorian coastal town of Lorne, will also attempt to win the iconic Finke Desert Race on the booming Sherco 500 SEF Factory four-stroke.
The carpenter and gifted golfer – a handicap of one testament to his fairway flair! – joins the distributor-backed Sherco outfit on the back of a stellar 2021 season, where he finished fifth outright at Finke and then grabbed the final podium spot at Hattah just weeks later.
He’s now ready to take the next step with Sherco and enhance his credentials as one of the nation’s finest off-road exponents.
“I’m really excited to make the switch to Sherco in 2022,” said Norton. “I’ve kept a close eye on the Sherco riders over the last few years, and I’ve been impressed. The bikes have been fast and solid, and they’ve always got to the finish line.
“That gives me great confidence in races like Finke, where I’m ready to take the next step and push for a step on the podium.
“The challenge of the AORC is one that I’m also relishing as well. I’ve lived near the bush all my life but as a junior I was more into motocross than enduro.
“That’s changed now, and I’m looking forward to making the most of this immense opportunity."
Norton will also ride the 500 SEF Factory in the 2022 Hattah Desert Race, and then dial it back a horsepower notch in the AORC by campaigning the 450 SEF Factory in the E2 class.
Callum began his motorcycle racing career in motocross, and his junior CV is impressive: a national championship, six state titles and a sixth-place finish in the coveted Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Championship in America. His earliest junior forays into desert racing were also profitable, including four Hattah victories.
Meanwhile, Reynders will continue aboard the 300 SE Factory in 2022, where he will defend his open two-stroke crown at Hattah and set his sights on E3 class honours in the AORC. Reynders will also continue to compete in his home state of Tasmania on the back of a peerless 2021 season.
Coleman continues to recover physically a torrid 2021, but he’ll still be in the hard enduro paddock – whether riding or taking on an ambassadorial role.
Motul Pirelli Sherco Race Team manager, Derek Grundy, is excited about what awaits in 2022.
“After yet another truncated season in 2021, we can’t wait to go racing in 2022,” said Grundy. “And, of course, to welcome a rider of Callum’s calibre is a real fillip for the team and a nod to the rapid growth curve of Sherco in Australia.
“We are particularly looking forward to causing some massive disruption to the status quo at the sharp end of the Finke pack and showcasing just how potent our big 500 is.
“Jonte’s also ridden brilliantly in 2021 with exceptional speed, strategy and race smarts, and I can’t wait to see him deliver the goods, particularly in the AORC.
“And Tim’s a phenomenon: such a tough and likeable character and a man who represents the Sherco brand with aplomb. We’ll ease him into 2022 and see where it takes us.”
The Motul Pirelli Sherco Race Team will begin its 2022 season on March 12-13 with the opening two rounds of the AORC in Qld, followed by the Australian Hard Enduro kick-off on April 2-3.
The full AORC calendar is here
, with Finke to be held from June 10-13 and Hattah on July 2-3.Images courtesy of Russell Colvin