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Remember the Norton Nemesis? Well the outlandish V8 hyperbike could be poised to make a comeback, thanks to the National Motorcycle Museum – custodian of what promised to be the world’s fastest Norton – and The Motorbike Show.

If you don’t remember the Nemesis, it was the wildcard centrepiece of the one of the many attempts to relaunch Norton, this one in 1998 by Al Melling. The bike certainly promised a lot, with a 1.5-litre V8 claiming 280bhp and a top speed of 225mph. The liquid-cooled motor revved to 14,000rpm (so the spec sheet claimed) and had three spark plugs per cylinder. Housed in a lightweight thinwall cast magnesium frame and mated to a six-speed gearbox with pushbutton change, it looked like setting new standards for performance. A whole range of Nortons – singles, twins and fours – would be launched alongside it.

Alas, it all fell apart. At the press launch in April 1998 Mr Melling declined to confirm whether the V8 had even run on a dyno yet, despite which production was promised for the autumn. That never happened, and the NMM took over the sole prototype. But now it could be back in action, with Henry Cole fronting the TV appearances and Allan Millyard recommissioning the bike. Apparently a speed record attempt is planned…

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said: “I remember this one, the Nemesis name, in retrospect, looks a bit double edged. It was certainly the Nemesis of that version of Norton. I’ll believe any speed records when I see them! The numbers are impressive, but it’s easy to think of a number, isn’t it? I can’t remember why it had 3 plugs a pot either.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Norton