The ex-Barry Sheene, Steve Tomes, John Cronshaw, Glen English, Manx Grand Prix-winning
1998 Norton 500cc Molnar Manx Racing Motorcycle 'FW01'
The well-known machine offered here was built in February 1998 by Fred Walmsley Developments. It incorporates a '95 bore' engine developed by Molnar Precision Ltd in conjunction with Fred Walmsley, which has powered winners of the Classic Senior Manx Grand Prix, InCA European Championship and FIM World Classic Series. The frame jig used was original Norton, as were all the patterns used to cast the engine components. The short-stroke (70.46mm) motor drives via a belt primary transmission and an aluminium alloy clutch to a Summerfield six-speed gearbox. It produces a claimed 56bhp at the rear wheel at 8,400 revs, which would be an excellent crankshaft figures for a standard 86x86mm 500 Manx motor, though the latter would have grenaded well before then! Other specification highlights include Falcon shock absorbers, stainless steel exhaust, Fontana 210mm double-sided TLS front brake, Manx conical rear hub/brake, carbon fibre front mudguard and Roadholder front forks incorporating original Norton sliders. The Manx weighs 110kg (242lb) dry.
'FW01' possesses a truly outstanding competition record, Steve Tomes racking up nine wins and setting seven lap records in its debut season of 1999, which he followed up with eight wins and four lap records in 2000. Two-times 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene had his first ride on 'FW01' that year, winning all four races at Australia's Phillip Island circuit and setting a new lap record. At Donington Park for the British Grand Prix he finished 2nd in the InCA support race and then Glen English took over the Norton for the Manx Grand Prix, winning the Senior event. John Cronshaw took Steve Tomes's place for 2001, winning six races and setting seven lap records. Barry Sheene then returned for the British GP InCA round, winning one race and finishing 4th in the other, following it up with wins in both Lennox Cup races at that year's Goodwood Revival meeting. Towards the end of 2001 the Manx was purchased from Fred Walmsley by the current owner, a prominent private collector.
In 2003 Tomes was back aboard 'FW01', finishing 3rd in the FIM World Classic Series, while other riders to have swung a leg over the Manx include Jason Griffiths, Damon Hill, Bob Heath, Nick Jefferies and TV commentator James Allen. In recent years the machine has been kept on display as the centrepiece of the owner's museum. This outstanding modern classic racer, signed by Barry Sheene on the tank, is offered with a comprehensive history file containing correspondence, race results, sundry invoices and various photographs.