Bill Warner shatters five-year-old record for non-streamliner bikes at the Monster Mile
Warner almost overshot the kink halfway through Maxton's shutdown zone on his record run, hitting a traffic cone marker at 160-plus mph that tore off his front fender and damaged his custom bodywork.
Tampa, Florida's Bill Warner put his name in the record books with an astounding 272 mph run at Maxton.
Bill Warner's day job is being a marine biologist raising tropical fish in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area-not the type of person you'd expect to set a land speed record. But Warner has been land speed racing since '06 and is best known among that crowd for removing the fairing from his Hayabusa at a Texas Mile land speed meet and setting the "naked" bike speed record at 255 mph.
This year Bill assembled a team of experts and fellow land speed racers in an attempt to go after perhaps the most coveted title in standing-mile land speed racing: the 260.288 mph ECTA (East Coast Timing Association) outright Maxton speed record that has been held by Lee Shierts since '05. Walter Kudron (a fellow ECTA 200 mph club member who has been over 244 mph himself) handles the day-to-day stuff for the Warner's Wild Bill Racing team, and he turned to Steve Knecum-yet another ECTA 200 mph club member-to build the engines.
Warner's bike sports a RCC Super Ultra turbo kit with a huge GT-40R Garrett turbo providing the boost necessary to generate well over 600 horsepower. MTC turbo pistons, Crower connecting rods and a Falicon crank finish out the bottom end. Custom-ground Web Cam camshafts and a Rick Ward-ported head ensure maximum breathing. Worldwide ceramic bearings are used through the engine and wheels to lower mechanical resistance. The clutch basket is a full locker by MTC, and the transmission is cryogenically treated and undercut by R&D; Motorsports.
One of the major differences between Warner's bike and his competitors is his use of an ultra-wide rear tire/wheel combo. Traction is obviously a major issue when pushing this much horsepower, and Warner worked closely with Brock's Performance to develop the 8.5-inch-wide BST carbon rear wheel. A Pirelli Diablo 240 section tire helps keep the bike hooked up and moving forward and is housed inside a McIntosh swingarm. Suspension at both ends is handled by Öhlins. For brakes, Warner uses stock Suzuki Calipers with Spiegler brake lines and ABM full floating rotors with Carbone Lorraine pads.
Another important part of this team's success is the use of non-OEM farings for the record setting pass. Bill worked with Larry Forstall (who has been involved with land speed racing for over four decades) as his chief aerodynamic consultant to design the hand-laid fiberglass front and rear farings. Bill estimates he has over 300 hours invested in the bodywork alone.
It all came down to the April ECTA (East Coast Timing Association) event held at the former Maxton Air Force base in North Carolina. The ECTA has been racing at Maxton since 1996 (it has been the most popular land speed event on the east coast despite the runway age approaching 70 years old), but in the last few years significant improvements have been made to the facility due to increased military usage. Some track resurfacing has been completed, as well as the removal of all trees and scrubs that formerly stood alongside the 10,000 x 150-foot former WWII runway.
Actually, earlier in the day Shane Stubbs aboard a Scott Guthrie-owned Hayabusa was the first to break the record with a 264.375 mph pass. Prior to this, Warner and Stubbs had been battling back and forth on the previous day with neither of them getting over the 260 mph barrier. But once Stubbs laid down his record-breaking run, Warner knew he had to try every trick left; so he dropped in a new engine map, bumped up the boost by two psi, and installed the prototype bodywork and gave it another try. It all paid off when he posted a run of 272.340 mph in the standing mile-although his determination to stay in the throttle almost cost him, as his speed caused him to nearly overshoot the kink halfway through the shutdown zone. He ended up hitting a traffic cone marker at 160-plus mph, ripping off his front fender and damaging the custom bodywork. But it didn't matter; Warner is now the fastest man at the Maxton Monster Mile. -Don Smith