Guy Martin nears another speed record on rotary-engined Crighton CR700W

Guy Martin eyes another motorcycle speed record with Crighton Motorcycles as he bids to crack the 200mph barrier on the rotary Crighton CR700W

Crighton CR700W, Guy Martin, Brian Crighton

Not content with attempting to break a world land speed record on two wheels, racer-turned-TV star daredevil Guy Martin is also now trying to set a new benchmark for rotary-engined motorcycles.

The former Isle of Man TT rider has hooked up with Crighton Motorcycles in an attempt to become the first person to take a rotary motorcycle past the 200mph mark.

His vessel for the record bid is the recently launched Crighton CR700W, a sportsbike that bears close resemblance to a Moto2 World Championship racer and packs 220bhp from a 129.5kg dry weight. It’s a combination that awards the Crighton CR700W the title of having the best power-to-weight ratio of any sportsbike in the world.

Considered the spiritual successor to the Norton RC588 (and RCW588), it is no coincidence the CR700W is the brainchild Brian Crighton, who was also responsible for the aforementioned Nortons.

While rotary engine technology - which uses rotational force instead of pistons - has significant benefits for motorcycles in that they packaged compactly, provide more instantaneous torque and emit less vibration, few manufacturers have attempted to go down this route.

However, while Suzuki and Yamaha briefly tried and failed to convince the public in the 70s, Norton’s attempt was rather more successful, to such an extent the made-for-racing NC588 was banned from competing in motorsport because the engine gave it too much of an advantage.

Nevertheless, some 30 years after the RC588 lives on in the CR700W, with Crighton charging Martin with his attempt to take a rotary-engined motorcycle past the 200mph barrier for the first time.

Taking to Elvington recently, Martin fell just short of the target at 188.347mph, though Crighton believes it will take only small adjustments to break the record when it makes a second attempt.

A post on Crighton Motorcycles’ Facebook page said: 

“Brian just wants to clarify that unfortunately they didn’t have the correct gearing for the bike for the Elvington run which was much too tall a gearing. 

“They actually hit 189.8 mph in 5th gear but when it was put into top gear the engine was not revving enough to give maximum power so the speed did actually drop slightly. 

“With more optimised gearing he reckons it would have been more like 195 mph, and also the screen was too small for Guy to tuck in properly.

“He thinks it was a brilliant first attempt and hopefully the next time they can look for more speed.”

Martin’s Crighton run comes as he continues preparations for a run at breaking the land speed record for motorcycles on the 1200hp turbine-powered 52 Express machine.