Racing in Australia with an ES2

ES234

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I would not normally share one of my riders reports, but after a little deliberation I have decided to provide an edited version as a bit of an insight for others who may never have the opportunity to race a single cylinder Norton. This is bike is essentially a short stroked ES2 in a Manx rolling chassis. (Original photo credit - colinrosenwane.com)

"Report on Norton ES4 at Winton (Victoria Australia) 2+4 Classic May 2021.
Engine.
• As usual, this engine displays a wide, linear power band. It was the class leader in terms of acceleration and speed. At no point did this bike feel lacking in speed or the ability to pick up an early throttle, even when on the edge of the tyre. Between T5 and T6 it was consistently picking up the front wheel, controllably.
• We could have gone up another tooth on the rear, but that would possibly have sacrificed drive onto the back straight and the short straight between T1 and T2. I did not change up there and took the engine to 8,200. Possibly would have made a shift there. Otherwise, the gearing was very good.
• There were some laps when I dispensed with top gear on the back straight and used the RPM headroom. Maximum revs for the weekend were 8,500. I was trying to save a gear shift (up and back.
• Carburetion was perfect, other than the sticking slide. (Dellorto non standard aluminum slide guide pin galling – to be replaced G.C.). No flat spots or hesitation. I could open the throttle as fast as I liked around corner apex and had the edge grip and drive to be able to hold off any comers.
• In the “esse” I could let the engine go down to 3,500-4,000 RPM and still have the grunt to keep the competition behind me from T5 to T6 and T6 to T7, and still out gun them along the back straight.
• There were no missed gear shifts. The gearbox was perfect. (TTI 5 speed ‘box – G.C.)
Brakes.
• The front rake feel was perfect, for me. Once a little warmth was induced on the warm up lap it performed perfectly. We were not out-braked once.
• In the early morning sessions, it was a touch "grabby" and could have been helped with covering some of the cooling ducts. Those linings have a reputation for cold gabbiness.
• The rear brake is excellent in feel and power. Basically, not too powerful. Whatever linings your use, stay with them.
Frame.
• The handling was as user-friendly as I remember from my last rides on this bike. Very neutral and predictable. When it starts to break away it gives sufficient of warning.
• Front suspension felt absolutely fine. Good dive into corners, without any bottoming, even when hard on brakes. Damping in both directions felt excellent.
• Rear suspension felt fine too, but could have possibly come up another ½ turn of preload to stop getting on the bump stops through T3. There is also a depression between T6 and T7 that is hard to miss. Having said that, not once did it bother me or knock the bike off-line on the bumps at the end of the sweeper, T3. Rebound damping felt right spot on.
• There was some front patter at the end of T3. Not every lap, and not bothersome. Without going to a new pair of tyres ($600) there is no way of tracing this down. We found at Phillip Island that the patter over Lukey Heights was cured with new tyres. It didn’t bother me and we were at the pointy end of the field, so I was happy to save the money.
In summary, riding the ES4 at my limit was just delightful. Such a well-engineered racing motorcycle. My lap times were a second faster than on my Matchless G50, or on this same circuit with a new Manx Norton."
Racing in Australia with an ES2
 
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ntst8

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Sounds like your ES2 is somewhat more developed than mine, nice write up.
For photos you need to sign up as a VIP member to post directly, otherwise an external hosting site is needed.
 

ES234

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That would be the Geoff Clatworthy bike then?
Yes it is. The fourth in a series over forty years. Here is ES3 and 4 just unloaded at the track late afternoon a fortnight ago. :)
 

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johnm

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Have the Geoff Clatworthy ES2 from Oz and the Lodge ES2 from NZ run against each other?

They must be the two best ES2 race bikes in the world.
 

ES234

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Have the Geoff Clatworthy ES2 from Oz and the Lodge ES2 from NZ run against each other?

They must be the two best ES2 race bikes in the world.
Yes but unfortunately on the day one or the other had some minor issues, so never really contested over a whole race meeting. Peter Lodge's bike has lapped Eastern Creek in a better time than mine, but that as we know depends a little on the conditions and circumstances on the day. We have assisted each other over the years, and of course Lodgey's ES2 has won at Daytona.
 

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I can't afford the brakes on one of those. ;)

Beautiful bikes. Great racer report. Thanks for taking the time to share the riders perspective.
 

storm42

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Excellent, I have been looking at converting my ES2 for racing. Are you willing to share the engine mods or is that a secret.

I for one would enjoy reading more race reports.
 
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Excellent, I have been looking at converting my ES2 for racing. Are you willing to share the engine mods or is that a secret.

I for one would enjoy reading more race reports.
two tricks from 'back inthe day' cam wheels from 16H or model 50 . But these ES2 seem something else .. wow
 

ES234

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two tricks from 'back inthe day' cam wheels from 16H or model 50 . But these ES2 seem something else .. wow
Not a problem. It all depends on how serious you intend to be about extracting reliable performance. :)
 

ES234

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Have the Geoff Clatworthy ES2 from Oz and the Lodge ES2 from NZ run against each other?

They must be the two best ES2 race bikes in the world.
Yes they have at Eastern Creek, but either one or the other had a minor problem on the day. Lodgey's ES2 has put in a faster lap than mine, but maybe that depends on a lot of factors including the rider and conditions on the day.
(Photo of Kane Burns Classic 500 winner Phillip Island 2020).
 

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ES234

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two tricks from 'back inthe day' cam wheels from 16H or model 50 . But these ES2 seem something else .. wow
Yes the use of S.V. cam profiles and close attention to cam timing can provide a noticeable improvement in performance. A basic understanding of dialing in the lobe centres is required, and with a little patience you will be rewarded.
I have built four of these - hence "ES1", "ES2", "ES3" and "ES4". The engine development has progressed with each bike as has suspension, gearboxes and brakes. What specifically due you wish to know?
 

ES234

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Very nicely put together bikes!

What is the suspension you're using?
Ceriani GP35mm forks, and either K-Tech or Ohlins rear shocks at present.
Ceriani 35mm "GP" forks were first introduced during 1961 and in this form and adopted by some private racing motorcycle builders 1962. Under our rules all the major components i.e. engine, frame, forks, and gearbox must appear externally as produced in the era (in our case pre December 30 1962). There has been a change in the brake rules over the past 40 years, and we are now allowed any drum brake to a maximum of 9" in diameter. The two ES2's I still own of the four I have built, run 210mm Fontana front brakes.
 

storm42

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Yes the use of S.V. cam profiles and close attention to cam timing can provide a noticeable improvement in performance. A basic understanding of dialing in the lobe centres is required, and with a little patience you will be rewarded.
I have built four of these - hence "ES1", "ES2", "ES3" and "ES4". The engine development has progressed with each bike as has suspension, gearboxes and brakes. What specifically due you wish to know?
I have an engine and I have sourced an aluminium head for it with a view to tuning it but that is as far as I got, mainly due to racing a twin.

I would be interested in what you have done to make it rev to 8500 and not lunch the motor. What crank, rod and piston do you use and what work has been done to the head, pretty much all your trade secrets so I do understand if you decide not to divulge this info.

The running gear would closely follow what I have on my Seeley.

Ralph.
 
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I just long for.... basket, assembled, running... No holes in crankcase, un cracked head, etc. You know how it is. Stock.... I think they're beautiful machines which inspire road lust.
 
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