The Duke of Cambridge got to grips with a silver dream machine during a visit to the Isle of Man TT – and could not stop grinning.
William jumped at the chance to sit on the handbuilt Norton SG7, which has a top speed of 208mph, but the bike-mad royal confessed: “I’m a father of three, I have to tone it down now.”
The duke confessed he used to have a Ducati 1209 but had downsized to a less powerful bike from the same manufacturer and revealed he used to ride scramblers with his brother the Duke of Sussex and they would “basically try and hit each other”.
Speaking in the TT bike paddock with the Norton race team around him, William said: “I miss the big trips, for me biking was always about being with everybody else.”
He had earlier indulged his passion for bikes by watching the final stages of the TT Supersport Race 2 where the 600cc bikes, which can reach 180mph, roared past at incredible speeds through the finish line.
It features riders competing in a number of races, from a superbike category to sidecar events, in time trials around the circuit, which is almost 38 miles long and renowned for its difficulty and danger.
The Norton boss’ race machine is derived from his firm’s V4 RR road bike and was entered in the superbike and senior events at the TT.
Speaking about William Mr Garner added: “He’s a bike guy, he understands motorbikes so it’s good to be able to chat bikes – he genuinely gets it.
“He was just saying being on a dirt bike as a kid, just having a real-world experience growing up, all of us here have done that and he’s done the same.”
Along with Harry, the duke has been a keen biker from a young age and in 2003, as he celebrated his 21st birthday, he said he was “passionate” about motorcycles and preferred two wheels to his car.
The Enduro Africa 08 event raised money for a variety of charities including Harry’s Sentebale.
When William first arrived at the world-famous bike event he confessed Kate may have been a little sceptical of the intentions of his visit when Laurence Skelly, the Isle of Man government’s minister for enterprise, quizzed him about the duchess’ views.
The duke replied: “When I said I was going to the Isle of Man for an official visit she said ‘really?’.”
During his visit William started the TT Zero for electric bikes and watched as the near silent machines sped off into the distance.
The one-lap race was won by favourite Michael Rutter riding the Mugen bike and the duke gave him his winning trophy before the top three riders sprayed champagne everywhere.
William was clearly enjoying himself at the event and he wandered around the starting grid chatting to competitors in their leathers and carrying helmets before they took part in the Lightweight race.
Before leaving the Isle of Man the duke visited the Joey Dunlop Foundation. Established in 2001 and named after the legendary TT racer, it creates specialist accommodation for visitors to the Isle of Man with a disability.