William Dunlop has joined the newly formed Team National Motorcycle Museum Racing for the 2015 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts. The museum, based in the West Midlands, is home to the largest collection of British Motorcycles in the world with over 100 marques including BSA, Ariel and of course Norton.
Dunlop will ride one of the museum’s original and iconic Rotary Norton bikes from the 1992 British Championship season in the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Classic TT Race on Monday 31st August 2015.
Dunlop has three podium finishes in the TT Races Supersport class in the last three years and also finished runner up in the inaugural Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race in 2013.
The Rotary Norton really came to the fore in Steve Spray’s 1989 British Championship winning campaign and the 1990 TT campaign that saw Trevor Nation and William’s father Robert achieving podium positions in the Formula 1 TT Race with Robert also winning the North West 200 in the same year. However the bike is most famous for Steve Hislop’s 1992 Senior TT win when he rode it to victory against the might of the work’s Yamaha of Carl Fogarty.
Brian Crighton, the original Rotary Norton engineer, who will be joining Team National Motorcycle Museum for the Isle of Man project commented:
“This bike was originally designed and conceived for short circuit racing so we have a lot of work to do to adapt it for the challenges of the TT Mountain Course which is a unique and hard place to race. The challenge that we are facing is very similar to the challenge that the Norton faced in 1992 adapting Steve Hislop’s bike.”
James Hewing, Director of the National Motorcycle Museum, commented:
“The founder of the museum Roy Richards had a huge passion for British bikes, particularly Nortons, and he always liked to see the bikes actually running rather than just being displayed. I’m sure that he would have approved of this campaign and his two sons are right behind us.”
This is a great project and I’m particularly pleased that we have got Brian Crighton on board as we couldn’t even begin to try and do what we are doing without him as part of the team.”
As well as the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Race, the museum will also be supporting the ‘Norton the Rotary Years’ parade lap presented by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’. Scheduled for Monday 31st August, it will see fifteen Rotary Nortons appearing on the Mountain Course ridden by some of the original riders associated with the brand including Trevor Nation and Steve Spray as well as riders who will represent some of the other great names who rode the bikes including John McGuinness representing Hislop on the 588 NRS Norton. All of the bikes will also be on display throughout the four days of the Classic TT festival.
Commenting at the team launch at the MCN London Motorcycle show yesterday William said:
“With my father’s history on the bike this was too good an opportunity to turn down. It was his favourite bike as it was a real challenge to ride and the Isle of Man will be a great place to race it. The Classic TT is now my favourite meeting of the year so I’m particularly excited to be on the Rotary Norton.”