Norton Rotary Special – 180bhp!!

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    Brian Crighton, one of the crack team of restoration experts based at the National Motorcycle Museum, has been working on a delicious looking JPS rotary Norton racer. Modern technology has been added to the mix to push engine output up into Gixxer thou and R1 country. Roy Richards, the museum owner (and my Dad’s boss for over twenty years), has commissioned the bike and it will be out on the track during 2007. Should be fun!


    From the Website

    The surprise unveiling of the ultimate Norton racer caused quite a stir at the 2006 Motorcycle and Scooter Show hosted by Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

    The stunning ultra-modern NRV 588 is the work of Brian Crighton, the man who originally persuaded Norton’s Shenstone factory to start racing its Rotary-engined machines in 1987. Their presence set British racetracks alight, drawing huge crowds and Crighton’s peak achievement was in 1994, when his Nortons sponsored by Duckhams Oils dominated the UK’s premier Superbike championship. The winner was Ian Simpson, with team mate Phil Borley only missing second place by one point. Financial difficulties halted production of road machines at Shenstone, making it impossible for Norton to meet Superbike racing homologation rules. The race team folded just as Crighton was pushing on with plans for a new-generation Rotary equipped with advanced technology. But he held onto the dream. In 2004, he was taken on by the National Motorcycle Museum to tend its collection of ex-factory Norton Rotary racers and undertake general motorcycle restoration. When Museum owner Roy Richards learned of the frustrated racer project, he offered to fund its completion.

    After many months of intensive work, the high-tech machine was completed in time to be displayed at Britain’s major annual show, where it was much admired by racing ‘insiders’ as well as the general public.The NRV has fuel injection with ‘fly by wire’ throttle operation and variable-length tracts to maintain optimum torque throughout the upper rpm range. The on-board computer that controls multifarious functions is inside the fairing nose. At the rear end of the twin spar aluminium Spondon frame, a braced rear swingarm is controlled by a single suspension unit. Front suspension is by an upside down telescopic fork, which carries radially-mounted calipers for the disc brakes. The entire braking system is by AP Racing and Dunlop supported the project by supplying tyres. Designed by Crighton with help from Formula One car experts, the fairing was made in carbon fibre by Harris Performance. “Now we start on static and track testing,” Brian Crighton says. “We aim to enter selected races and will show what could have been achieved if the Norton team had kept going in 1995, with technology that was then well ahead of the game.”

    Steve Spray, winner of the 1989 British Formula 1 and 750cc Supercup championships on Rotaries, has agreed to ride the NRV588. Museum owner Roy Richards, who already owns all the factory Rotary racers bar one, is justifiably pleased with the new machine.“It is a fantastic piece of work. I have been a Norton enthusiast all my life and I consider this to be the absolute pinnacle,” he said.

    Technical information
    ENGINE 588cc twin-rotorw**kel type. Fuel injected, direct spray into both bellmouths. Fully variable intake tract to peak maximum torque between 8000rpm –11,000rpm. Electric water pump. Ducted fan air cooling for rotors

    ‘Fly-by-wire’ throttle
    POWER Projected: 170 BHP @ 11,500 RPM. Maximum torque: 80Ib-ft at variable rpm

    CHASSIS Twin spar aluminium, by Spondon

    FRONT SUSPENSION Ohlins upside-down fork

    REAR SUSPENSION Ohlins long-stroke single-sided direct connection unit

    BRAKES AP Racing systems with radially mounted front calipers

    WHEELS Dymag 16.5in

    TYRES Dunlop

    BODYWORK Harris carbon fibre

    WEIGHT 130 kg (dry)


    The Japs will thrash it

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