PRODUCTION of an engine, which will kick-start the rebirth of a legendary name in motorcycling history, has started at a West Oxfordshire factory.

Menard Competition Technologies (MCT) has signed an agreement to produce the engine for the relaunched Norton motorcycle at its Leafield plant.

It is expected that up to 500 units a year will be built at the factory for Norton, which has been re-established at Donington Park, near Derby, by entrepreneur Stuart Garner, who bought it back from American ownership.

Charlie Bamber, commercial director of MCT, said: “It’s a great privilege to be playing a role in the rebirth of a brand as important as Norton.

“We share in the passion and ambition of Norton and know that Stuart and his team are well-placed to build on the legacy of a truly iconic name.”

The deal, signed for an undisclosed sum, follows a period of research and development of the power plant by MCT, and will focus on the new motorcycle, a 961/SS Commando.

There are plans to race the machine at the Isle of Man TT, where Norton has historically enjoyed considerable success.