Bill Warner, a motorcycle racer, died Sunday while trying to break his previous record of 311 mph. At his fastest, he was clocked at 285 mph, but he then lost control and crashed while speeding on the runway of a former air base in Maine.
Bill Warner, the 44-year-old speed racer from Wimauma, Fla., already held the world speed record for conventional motorcycles- 311 mph- but was trying his best to break it in a more difficult fashion. When he originally set the record, he used a mile-and-a-half of track, but this time, he had only a mile.
Warner had hit high speeds during the attempt, but lost control and veered off towards the right side of the track and crashed. Afterwards, he was still conscious and talking, but died about an hour and 15 minutes later.
"No one will touch Bill's achievements or be the type of racer he was. He was a personal friend and the land-racing community is less for his loss," Tim Kelly, race director of the Loring Timing Association said in a statement.
Officials have been investigating the crash, and it's possible something was wrong with Warner's bike, which was a modified Suzuki Hayabusa. The motorcyclist was certainly used to the bike, as he used it to make his last record.
"Mr. Warner, a well known speed racer, appeared to be attempting to hit 300 mph (482 kph) within a one mile (1.6 km) distance on the runway when something happened and the motorcycle came to rest on the east side of the runway," Limestone Police Chief Stacey J. Mahan told the Portland Press Herald.
The name of the race was "The Maine Event," and Warner, who is well known in racing circles as the first person to go 300 mph on a bike, was missed.
"The news (of his death) spread very quickly around the world. Literally, everyone's eyes were on Bill this weekend," representative of the East Coast Timing Association said.
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