Norton was the dominant identify in bike racing within the first half of the primary century of the internal-combustion engine: dozens of Isle of Man TT victories, plus world championship successes within the 350cc and MotoGP classes. (Sure, the category was referred to as 500cc again then.)
All these successes had been achieved with the Birmingham manufacturing facility’s single-cylinder engines, notably the corporate’s first overhead-cam unit designed by Walter Moore within the Twenties. Moore was so eager to know what was required from engines on the TT – the world’s most essential bike race at the moment – that he grew to become a sidecar passenger, so he might research Norton’s present engine from the closest quarters.
Moore gained the sidecar 1924 TT and used what he discovered throughout that race to assist him design his overhead-cam engine – tagged the CS1 (Camshaft Senior Mannequin 1) – which gained its debut race, the 1927 Senior TT, with Alec Bennett on board. Bennett was an Irishman whose had household emigrated to Canada within the early 1900s. He returned to Europe to combat within the First World Struggle, first as a despatch rider and later as a fighter pilot. He later settled in Britain and have become a manufacturing facility Norton rider.
Kuźmicki walked a lot of the way in which from Uzbekistan to Bombay, then boarded a ship to Blackpool.
Anyway, Norton’s successes in grand prix racing – seven riders’ and constructors’ world championships between 1950 and 1952 – had been so spectacular that it didn’t take a genius to understand that 4 Norton 500cc high ends may be gathered collectively to create a two-litre System 1 engine.
This was the intense concept of Tony Vandervell, a British industrialist who had raced bikes and vehicles in his youth. Vandervell’s enterprise was Skinny-Wall engine bearings, so his System 1 group was christened Vanwall.
Vandervell, “a tricky nut, spoiling for a combat”, needed to construct a British F1 automotive, painted in British racing inexperienced, which might beat Italy’s blood-red Ferraris.
He employed Polish Norton engineer Leo Kuźmicki to design his engine. Kuźmicki, like TT winner Bennett earlier than him, had had his life reworked by struggle.
Kuźmicki was a mechanical engineer and an officer within the Polish Air Pressure. In August 1939 he was captured throughout the Russian invasion of Poland and despatched to a labour camp in Uzbekistan, run by the NKVD, Russia’s vicious secret service.
He remained there for nearly two years, overwhelmed and brutalised all through, till Germany invaded Russia and Stalin switched sides to hitch the Allies, so Poland was now an ally and a whole bunch of 1000’s of Polish prisoners of struggle had been launched. Kuźmicki travelled from Uzbekistan to Bombay in India, strolling a lot of the way in which, the place he boarded a ship to Blackpool.