At the Loring Timing Association’s land speed record event at Loring AFB in Maine on Sunday, pavement LSR motorcycle racer Bill Warner was attempting to set a record in the standing mile when he lost control at reportedly more than 285 mph and crashed. Although medical personnel said that the 44-year-old Wimauma, FL, native was conscious and talking when they transported him to Cary Medical Center in nearby Caribou, Warner succumbed to his injuries later that day.
Warner is best known for his astounding 311-mph top speed run—believed to be the outright record for a conventional, non-streamliner motorcycle—set at the same facility back in 2011 (although he had also set the record of 255 mph for naked bikes—no bodywork—by removing the fairing pieces on his Hayabusa at the annual Texas Mile meet the year before). Utilizing a Suzuki Hayabusa with extensive engine, chassis, and bodywork modifications, Warner set his record 311-mph record speed at the LTA’s “The Maine Event” using 1.5 miles of the vacant air force base runway. On Sunday he was reportedly attempting to breach the 300-mph barrier in just one mile.
The Maine Event is an annual timed speed event that utilizes the 14,200-foot-long runway at the former Strategic Air Command base that closed in 1994. The Loring Timing Association uses 2.5 miles of the runway for its events, and there's an additional buffer of 2,000 feet, according to LTA race director Tim Kelly. According to eyewitness accounts, it was readily apparent that Warner encountered a major problem that he couldn’t pull out of, as he veered off to the right when he crashed; the LTA instructs racers to pull off the track to the left if they suffer a mechanical problem, or pull off to the right if their machine is on fire or they are injured.