Guy's 200mph rotary bid: Martin takes Crighton CR700W to over 180mph

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Road racing and TV star Guy Martin has big plans to take the limited-run, rotary-powered Crighton CR700W superbike to 200mph.

The Lincolnshire rider took to Elvington runway last week and hit a recorded 188mph on the British built machine, as well as posting over 260mph on his turbo Suzuki Hayabusa – the highest speed of a clutch of riders all bidding to break the 300mph barrier.

The high speed runs took place at a Straightliners Top Speed event near York, with Martin carrying out a number of shakedown speed runs on the Crighton in preparation for attempting to top 200mph.

Guy Martin on his Suzuki Hayabusa speed record bike Photo: Steve McDonald Photography

The CR700W is the latest incarnation of the twin rotor racer developed by Brian Crighton with Norton in the late 1980s. After dominating British racing in JPS livery in the early 1990s, it famously won the 1992 Senior TT with Steve Hislop then the British championship in revised ‘Roton’ guise and Duckhams colours in 1994.

After being banned from British racing in 1995, the bike continued to be developed by Crighton, first with Stuart Garner’s Norton and now new partner Rotron.

The result is the trackday-only 690cc CR700W, which produces a claimed 220bhp with a dry weight under 130kg – giving it a better power-to-weight ratio than a MotoGP bike.

Guy Martin and Brian Crighton at Elvington Photo: Steve McDonald Photography

With a Spondon-derived frame, Öhlins or Biturbo suspension, Brembo brakes, Dymag wheels and carbon bodywork, it’s priced £95,000 and just 25 are being built by Rotron in Wiltshire.

“We want to ensure it can do over 200mph so we’re doing tests now to work out what we need to do,” Rotron Executive Chairman, Gilo Cardozo, told MCN. “The first thing was to break the speed record for large rotary engine bikes which was 172mph and actually done by Stuart Garner at Bonneville.”

“We’ve just done 188mph. The goal now is to get well past 200,” he continued. “It was just the first step but we think we’re going to get past it quite easily. It’s all to do with gear ratios, fairings and things like that. We’re going back in the next three or four weeks.”

Guy Martin gives feedback on the Crighton CR700W Photo: Steve McDonald Photography

Despite the straightline shakedown runs, it wasn’t the first time Martin had ridden the bike. Cardozo explains: “Guy had ridden it before, up at Cadwell Park, and he absolutely loves it. He calls it ‘an absolute weapon’.

“We’re building the first 25 as we speak but are reserving the last five for UK customers. We’ve sold a lot abroad and we want to keep a few here for events and things.”

Bike specification

690cc twin rotor fuel injected four-stroke rotary
220hp @ 10,500rpm
105ftlb @ 9500rpm
810mm seat height
129.5kg (dry)

Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.