John McGuinness pictured on the Norton at the Isle of Man TT. Picture: Pacemaker Belfast
John McGuinness and Norton look likely to miss the 90th anniversary celebrations of the North West 200 in May.
News emerged recently that Norton's new machine runs a 1200cc engine which is outside the guidelines for the Superbike class at the North West 200 and unless Norton are able to adapt their engine to suit the guidelines, May's North West will be a non runner.
In a statement, North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte said: "The organisers of the 2019 fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils received an entry from John McGuinness dated 7th February, 2019 to compete for the Norton team in the May 12-18 races.
"The entry specified the machine John was entered on for both Superbike races would have an engine capacity of 1000cc.
"The entry was accepted on that basis and a recent announcement was made to the press that John would make his comeback to the North West 200 after a two year absence because of a leg injury sustained in 2017. The organisers were delighted at this prospect.
"The organisers were subsequently informed on 26 March, 2019 by Norton that the engine capacity of the SG8 superbike they intend to race at the North West will be 1200cc. It does not, therefore, meet the current Technical regulations for the NW200 superbike races and would not be eligible for competition at the event.
"John McGuinness and Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, have both been informed of that situation. It is hoped that a solution can still be found to resolve this issue before May and that both John McGuinness and Norton will take part in the 90th anniversary event."