It has emerged that John McGuinness will not be able to race his current factory Norton V4 at this year’s North West 200 – for now at least.

As revealed by Kyle White of the Belfast News Letter earlier this week, the machine that McGuinness has been recently testing at Cadwell Park runs Norton’s own 1200cc engine as opposed to the Aprilia-derived motor used by Josh Brookes at last year’s Isle of Man TT.

McGuinness had planned to race the updated Norton V4 at the North West 200 from the 12th to 18th May, as he prepares for the TT – but under current NW200 regulations, four-cylinder machines must be limited to a maximum of 1010cc, which means that the new Norton is ineligible for the Superbike class.


NW200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte said: “The organisers of the 2019 fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils received an entry from John McGuinness dated 7th February, 2019 to compete for the Norton team in the May 12-18 races.

“The entry specified the machine John was entered on for both Superbike races would have an engine capacity of 1000cc. The entry was accepted on that basis and a recent announcement was made to the press that John would make his comeback to the North West 200 after a two year absence because of a leg injury sustained in 2017. The organisers were delighted at this prospect

“The organisers were subsequently informed on 26 March, 2019 by Norton that the engine capacity of the SG8 superbike they intend to race at the North West will be 1200cc. It does not, therefore, meet the current Technical regulations for the NW200 superbike races and would not be eligible for competition at the event.


“John McGuinness and Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, have both been informed of that situation. It is hoped that a solution can still be found to resolve this issue before May and that both John McGuinness and Norton will take part in the 90th anniversary event.”

Speaking about the news, John McGuinness said: “I need the North West 200 organisers to let Norton race as well – how, when or what I don’t care, I’m not interested in the politics – the Norton will drag a few more thousand people to that North Coast in Ireland to watch that bike. I want to ride there, even if we don’t get any results, but I want to ride there and be sharp for the TT.”

For the full story on the News Letter, click HERE.

Tony Carter

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