1991 – NORTON NRS 588 – 600
This bike, with the official colours of the JPS-NORTON Team, took part in the English “Formula 1” championship with pilots Ron Haslam and Robert Dunlop in 1991/92. In the same period even Terry Rymer and Jim Moodie used it in many international competitions. A Norton NRS 588, which was piloted by Ron Haslam, took part in the English race of the MotoGP/1991 500 class world championship at Donnington Park, finishing in 12th place (thanks to a special dispensation from the “ACU”, the British Motorcycling Federation). The most successful racing model the #NRS 0005, piloted by Steve Hislop, won the Senior TT/1992 on the Isle of Man (it was a memorable race and a true motorcycling legend: it was the last ever victory by a Norton at the TT, and was obtained by beating Carl Fogarty’s Yamaha Factory by 4.4 seconds, after 360 nail-biting kilometres with the bikes neck and neck!). Of the five NRS 588 produced by Norton’s sports department, three are exhibited at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, one was destroyed (# NRS 0001), and this is the only model that exists outside of England (frame #NRS 0002). The main peculiarity of the NORTON NRS 588 (as with the previous RCW 588 version) is the engine: it is a twin-rotor 588 cc Wankel, entirely constructed and developed by Norton, with 150 bhp, for a motorcycle with a combined dry weight of 145Kg. A “racer” with an excellent weight/power ratio, that enabled Norton to dominate the “Formula 1” championship and the main international meetings held in the UK for half a decade (between the ’80s and ’90s).
In order to beat them the rules had to be changed, which shifted equivalence ratio of the “Wankel” rotor engine in favour of the traditional piston-operated 4-stroke.
It can be concluded therefore that the NORTON NSR 588 was beaten only by…bureaucracy.
Design: Norton Racing Team
Provenience: CMM Collezione Motociclistica Milanese