CW Garage: Bill Anderson's Norton - First Look

Friends since 1967.

CW Garage: Bill Anderson

My Norton and I have been friends since June of 1967. I bought it in Ireland. It started life as a standard Model 50 350cc. I was caught up in the Triton craze of the '60s and it got a 650 Triumph motor (1969) followed by a 500 Manx (1972), a 500T (1977), and a couple of Weslake speedway motors (1990 to present), one of which resides there now. The Weslake incarnation happened about 15 years ago after a conversation with a friend as to the viability of a speedway motor for short-circuit racing. The current motor is a mid-'70s long-rod Weslake, exact age unknown.

Brief specs on the bike are as follows: The front brake is from a Suzuki 750 Triple. I machined it to fit the Norton fork. The frame, swingarm and rear wheel are stock Norton. The engine sits in the frame on home-made engine plates; since I don't have a ton of money, a lot of parts are home-brewed. The seat is a home-made copy of a Manx. The oil tank, primary cover and numerous brackets are also home-brewed.

It was short-circuit raced for a spell but as I am not in the spring of my life I decided to call it a day. Looking for something to do with it, I joined the Road Runners and took up land-speed racing with the SCTA. For the past 10 years, I have been flogging it up El Mirage dry lake. Last year was my first trip to Bonneville. Running in the 500cc APS/PG (partial streamlining pushrod gas class) I managed to set a class record at 111.059 mph (101.854 down run, 120.264 return). Not exactly earth-shattering, but a record none the less. The September El Mirage meet proved to be a surprise. With the Bonneville gearing and jetting, it cranked off a run of 129.817 for a class record.

Here are a few photos. I should have taken more photos in its earlier days but I really had no idea at the time that almost 41 years later we would still be together and having more fun than ever.