The Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrates all things fast, both old and new. While the event receives an important car contingent, a number of riders take advantage of this opportunity to show off their motorcycles. During the Festival’s 2019 edition, a number of motorcycles tackled the hill climb, including a Brough Superior SS100, originally built in the mid-1920s, as well as Harley-Davidson’s new electric Livewire. The most striking ride on the track, however, is a speed record setter, an appropriate guest of the event. What’s so special about it? Listening to the sound of its engine will likely give you a hint.
The MADMAX C20B isn’t like any other motorcycle. It might look like a simple customized streetfighter on the outside, but as soon as you start the engine, you understand that this beast is in a league of its own. Instead of the inline four or even the flat six you’d expect this high-performance bike to use, the C20B relies instead on the power of a Rolls Royce 250-C20B helicopter turbine that produces 542 horsepower. I’ll let that sink in.
The C20B is the successor of the Y2K, a turbine bike built in the 1990s-early 2000s by Louisiana-based MTT. The early version of the bike used a slightly smaller engine Rolls Royce 250-18C engine grafted from a Jet Ranger Bell 206. I mean, it might have been smaller, but it was still a turbine, right? The owner of the C20B and of the MADMAX racing team it belongs to, Zef Eisenberg, was actually involved in the development of the early iterations of Y2K.
From 2005 onward, Eisenberg’s team pulled the turbine bike apart and reassembled it with new parts and, of course, the new C20B turbine. That’s how the MTT Y2K gradually evolved into the MADMAX C20B. The bike has since set a number of speed records and became the fastest turbine motorcycle and streetfighter by reaching a speed of 233 mph. The craziest thing about this Frankenstein creation? It’s actually road legal.
It was only appropriate for speed record-holder Zef Eisenberg to pay a visit to 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed with his turbine bike. This wasn’t his first visit at the event and likely won’t be his last. I don’t know for you, but no matter how many visits it’s been, we can’t get enough of this Speedman on his jet bike.