Rotary Racing Development- early Years 1988-1990
After a long semi-slumber under the reign of Manganeze Bronce Holdings PLC
and its boss Dennis Poore, Norton Motors was given a new kiss off life by
investment banker Philippe Le Roux, who aquired the Name and Company in
order to have a high-profile front for new investment deals. When he was
approached by Brian Crighton, a factory mechanic who had a racing history,
in 1988 about tuning a rotary Norton for speed, applying some two-stroke
tuning lore in connection to the "exhaust-ejector" cooling
technique used in the rotary Norton aero engines, he saw a chance for even
higher profile for the company and jumped at it.
||The very first bike was
"Walzing Walter", a P41 Interpol in derelict condition,
that was converted in performance but not in chassis. Test rider Bob
Rowley confessed to some interesting moments on it!
||The bike was fast, but
with the sort of power it gave somewhat dangerous to ride, so a Mk2
version was built for 1988, with a Spondon racing chassis now
replacing the original Police bike frame. Spondon at first seem to
have seen the whole exercise as a bit of a joke, and the chassis was
basically the same they were selling for any Japanese engine, not
taking the completely different characteristics of the rotary engine
into account- about which, to be fair, little was known at the time.
With a rider who was really clubman level, the first sucessses came
||A new rider, Trevor
Nation, was brought into the team. He was to have a spectacular run
of successes in 1990 under the John Player Norton banner.
||The second rider in the
Team of 1989 was Steve Spray, who was to be more successful in 1989
than Trevor Nation. Both pictures show the 1989 version of the John
Player Norton- the "Mk1" version, if you like.