The motorcycle industry is mourning the loss of Bill Warner today, as the 44-year-old land speed record holder died while attempting to break the 300 mph barrier over the course of a single mile. Racing in the “The Maine Event” at the Loring Air Force Base, Warner’s partially streamlined and turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa veered to the right after clearing the one-mile marker, and went off the runway course roughly 2,000 feet later, before ultimately crashing.
According to reports, Warner was conscious and communicative after the crash, but he succumbed to his injuries about an hour and fifteen minutes later at a hospital near Caribou, Maine. It is not clear how fast he was going when he left the course’s runway, but he had been clocked at 285 mph while on the course.
It was only a couple years ago that we reported Warner’s 300 mph run (311.945 mph to be precise), at the same Maine Event speed meet. Warner set that record over a 1.5 mile distance, and is the only motorcyclist to break the 300 mph barrier on a “sit-on” motorcycle.
“No one will touch Bill’s achievements or be the type of racer he was,” said Tim Kelly, Race Director the Loring Timing Association, which hosts The Maine Event at Loring Air Force Base. “He was a personal friend and the land-racing community is less for his loss.”
Asphalt & Rubber extends our best thoughts to Bill’s family and friends at this tragic time. Below is the video of Bill’s 311.945 mph run at Loring AFB in 2011. It seemed like the best way to pay tribute to this special person in the motorcycling community.