Remember Norton’s rotary-engined bike of the 1980s? Want to see it reborn? Well, it has been … sort of. The good guys over at Asphalt and Rubber spotted it, and we’d thought we’d share it with you.
Brian Crighton, the engineer who was responsible for a lot of that project, has returned to the racing scene with a new project from his own firm, Crighton Racing. Dubbed the CR700P, his latest machine uses an aluminum Spondon frame, just like the original, but the 700 cc twin-rotor Rotron RT700 motor puts out 200 hp at 11,000 rpm, and 100 ft-lbs of torque at 9,500 rpm. That’s a lot of get-up and go for a bike with a 136 kg dry weight …
Other fast facts: Suspension, front and rear, is from Bitubo, and braking comes from Brembo four-piston calipers on 320 mm discs up front, with a two-piston caliper and single disc in back. Fuel capacity is about 22 litres, and wheelbase is approximately 1445 mm. There’s a six-speed transmission. The cooling system works on pressurized gas, and the bike uses a Kevlar belt for final drive.
You can see the bike in action below. Visit their website here for more details on the machine, and you can also find them on Facebook here.
Their web page says “The vision of Crighton Racing is to produce a class-beating rotary-powered bike and deliver a riding experience that exceeds any other.” The problem with that, of course, is that they’d have to have homologation in MotoGP beat the world’s best prototypes, or World Superbike, if they wanted to go toe to toe with the manufacturers’ top superbikes. In a world where series organizer Dorna changes the rulebook as often as they change their underwear, that’s not likely. Even if they allow rotary engines, the regulations on fuel consumption and electronics are still in a constant state of flux.
“In a world where series organizer Dorna changes the rulebook as often as they change their underwear, that’s not likely.”
Actually, the MSMA, AKA the factories, are the primary drivers behind the rule changes. Pretty much any of the major changes; e.g., moving to 800cc, then to 1000cc, the 6-engine limit, the new 5-engine limit, 21- and the new 20-litre fuel limit; all those rules were 100% driven by the factories to create engineering challenges for themselves. Most of the MSMA changes fly in the face of Dorna’s mandate, which is to improve the show while lowering costs.
A little research very easily supports this. Dorna shouldn’t be a scapegoat for crimes they didn’t commit.
Doesn’t matter who asks for what – ultimately, Dorna makes the rules, not the participants. Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a series if they all left, but Dorna’s stamp of approval is on anything, even if it’s just as a puppet.
“ultimately, Dorna makes the rules, not the participants. Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a series if they all left”
Prior to Dorna buying up WSBK, that was exactly the threats that the factories levied on a fairly regular basis. ‘Give us what we want or we’ll take our toys elsewhere’ was a fairly convincing threat. Now that Dorna owns the WSBK property, such a threat rings hollow. I think we can expect to see Dorna wielding more power over how the rules get written in the coming years.
And a very, very good thing that is, too.