The Norton Empire Rally

Norton Empire Rally posterThis year the International Norton Owners Association and the UK’s Norton Owners Club are joining forces to host the Norton Empire Rally in Catskill, NY. And today I booked tickets for Amira and myself to Boston so we can shoot video of the event. We’ll be arriving on Tuesday and getting to Catskill on Wednesday night.

We’re really looking forward to meeting such a huge group of Norton enthusiasts and getting impressions from both sides of the Atlantic about the Dreer Norton. I hope everyone’s ready to talk to the camera and tell us why each of them thinks Norton is special.

If you’re going to be at the rally, give a shout in the comments and let us know. And please track us down so we can talk to you about your Norton and why you love the marque.


“If we build this new Norton, ‘they will come.'”

The interview chairThe first two interviews with Kenny Dreer are done. In the can, as they say.

Both days were long and tiring. We shot Kenny against the backdrop of his workshop. The hum of the heater was picked up by our audio equipment so we could only turn it on during breaks. As soon as we starting recording the temperature would drop fast. Kenny’s breath didn’t fog as he spoke (luckily!) but I think we were getting awfully close.

Kenny was great throughout the ordeal. I’m really happy with how our shot looked but the shop layout forced us to have our key light more in front of him than normal. From his perspective I’m sure it felt very much like being in an interrogation room. He put up with it all and waited patiently while we dealt with camera issues or off-loaded video to our computer.

By the end we were all pretty tired and some of the interview started to feel rushed at the end. We’ll have to come back to Kenny and revisit some of the things we talked about, but we’re going to hold off until we’ve interviewed other participants in the Norton Motorsports saga.

Kenny chats with director Tom Parker

Despite the challenges, we got great stuff, including the title quote for this post from Kenny’s description of the moment he knew that he had to move beyond the VR 880 and create a completely new motorcycle to carry on the Norton name. If you’ve met Kenny you know that he has a lot of energy and that he’s a very good storyteller. I think he’s going to translate well to the big screen.

Our two days with Kenny, as well as our earlier interview with Joe Seifert of Norton Motors GmbH, started to answer a lot of questions I had about the Dreer Norton story. I still have a lot more, though. What about you? What questions do you want to see answered in the film? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can cover them.

So it begins

Today we put up the American Norton website and launched the Facebook fan page. It’s taken a long time to get to this point. I’ll post about all that history in the near future.

But the ball’s rolling and that’s what matters. Dave, who teased the Access Norton forum with hints about this project back in September (where he took some heat for the long subsequent delay), has finally been able to make his big announcement to his fellow Norton enthusiasts.

For my part, I’m a bit overwhelmed with a combination of excitement and trepidation. I’ve got some pretty big knots in my stomach as I write this and start telling random strangers that I’m going to make a feature film.

This will be the place to keep up with the production. Our notes here will provide some early peeks for the motorcycle fans and the trials and tribulations of production for all my filmmaking friends. Please check in often. It’s going to be a great ride.