Norton rotary gets North West 200 go ahead

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Michael Dunlop will be granted his dream ride following news that the Norton NRV588 rotary has been granted dispensation to race in the North West 200 alongside the superbike machines.

Dunlop had already agreed to race the Brian Crighton-inspired rotary in this year’s Senior TT (a ‘formula libre’ style race that allows a mix of open class machinery) ,  but was keen to follow in his late father Robert’s footsteps and race the Norton at the North West 200.

The rules though were strictly for superbike-spec machines, with no provision for the rotary.

But after successfully lobbying the organisers, the Norton has been accepted into the two superbike races – a coup for Dunlop, as well as a massive publicity boost for the event.

North West 200 Clerk of the Course Mervyn Whyte told MCN: “Last Saturday's Inter Centre Conference in Dublin between the north and south governing bodies agreed to reinstate the rules for rotary engine machines to allow a max capacity of 1200cc - for road races and short circuits - using an equivalency factor of 1.7 instead of the FIM equivalency factor of 2.0.

“This means the 588cc Norton rotary will be rated as a 999.6 machine for all events including the North West 200.”

It also means that the twin-chamber Norton could run a theoretical capacity of 705.88cc which, under the new equivalency ruling, rates it as 1199.9cc, still within the new top limit of 1200cc.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin