Most Norton fans as well as rotary engine enthusiasts quite love the Norton F1 RCW588 racebike (and the F1 Sport streetbike, which was based on the racebike), but not nearly as much as Tony Haywood does. While a lot of people talk about wanting to own a Norton rotary, Tony wanted one so bad he actually had one built!
Based in the UK, Tony was prepared to go to any length to get his hands on a Norton rotary. And when he couldn’t find a suitable bike (no surprise given the fact that the bike was only made in tiny numbers, back in the early-1990s...), he decided to have one built for himself. That wasn’t an easy task, of course, but he did get Spondon Engineering to build an exact replica of the original Norton racebike’s chassis for him. And he even got an original race-spec rotary engine from Norton, for his replica. Tony started with this project in 2005 and the bike was completed in 2009, at a cost of about £25,000.
Any which way you look at it, Tony’s bike is a phenomenal machine. It wears original Norton Racing Services (NRS) bodywork and its 1992-spec, liquid-cooled, factory-supplied 588cc twin-rotor rotary engine produces about 150-160 horsepower. The twin-spar aluminium alloy chassis, built by Spondon, is an exact replica of the original machine’s frame, and the 43mm USD fork and fully adjustable monoshock are from Öhlins. The bike rides on 17-inch Dymag alloy wheels, shod with 120- (front) and 190-section (rear) Dunlop rubber.
Acceleration and top speed figures for Tony’s bike are not available and we can barely imagine what this rotary-engined piece of exotica would be like to ride. The Norton rotary racer was pretty special in its day and a replica as faithful as this one – it’s pretty much the real thing itself – is just insane. All we can say is, we LOVE this bike!
Pics: Fast Bikes