Rotary racing royalty reigns at the Bristol Classic Bike Show


Haslam, Nation, Crighton: names synonymous with the golden age of rotary Norton racing will take to the stage at the Bristol Classic Bike Show on February 25-26.

‘Rocket Ron’ Haslam is one of our most successful British racers. He’s won two world titles, four British championships and raced in more than 100 grands prix. Ron’s an Isle of Man TT race winner, claimed a record six Macau GP wins and has beaten the best in the world – names like Gardner, Sarron and Mamola. He’s also been a team-mate to Freddie Spencer and Kevin Schwantz, to name just two.

If you ever wanted a racing CV, this is one to have!

Trevor Nation will forever be associated with the stunning John Player Special RCW588 racing machines. Starting out in 1978, Nation was a hit, winning his first race the following year. A proper TT winner in the proddie class on both 750cc and 1000cc machines, he also guested at three grands prix. He certainly earned his seat on the factory Norton team with its first win at Cadwell Park in 1988 on the RC588 development bike, beating the likes of Whitham, Foggy, Spray and Morrison in the process.


‘Mr Rotary’, the legendary tuner, designer and uber engineer Brian Crighton, will be joining Haslam and Nation on stage to talk all things rotary and of course, the bikes and the men who rode them. Crighton, also a three-time British champ, was a service engineer at Norton in 1984 and a year later was promoted to R&D. It was there that he realised there was a real potential in the company’s 588cc air-cooled rotary. Determined to prove his point, he worked in his free time from the caretaker’s shed, defying the management’s belief that any gains were worthwhile. The rest, as they say, is history.


So that’s two legendary racers, one incredible engineer and four rotary machines live on stage and with you all weekend (where is the venue?). What’s the common theme? John Player Special racing Nortons of course.