Tragedy struck yesterday at the 2013 Maine Event when world speed record holder Bill Warner crashed at high speeds and later died from his injuries. Warner, the world record holder who previously topped 311 mph on a conventional motorcycle, lost control of his turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa at an estimated 285 mph, veered to the right and went off the runway. Warner was conscious and talking when he went to the hospital but was pronounced dead at Cary Medical Center a little over an hour after the accident.
Warner was participating in the 2013 Maine Event, an annual event held at Loring Air Force Base, on the same track he set his world record on in 2011. The Strategic Air Command base closed in 1994 but its airstrips have been used for years by land speed racers. This year, Warner was attempting to break his record using only a mile of the 14,200 foot long airstrip opposed to the 1.5 miles used for his record-breaking run in 2011. In a video posted by WCSH/WXIA, Warner reportedly was “worried about increasing winds before his last run” but the cause of the accident is unknown. The crash is said to be under investigation by the Limestone Police Department and Maine State Police.
Warner, 44, of Wimauma, Fla., had previously suffered a high speed crash at the Texas Mile on October 21, 2011, where he suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries. Warner was one of the most respected racers in the motorcycle racing community and his loss is immeasurable to those involved in the world of land speed records.
"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," said Tim Kelly, race director of the Loring Timing Association, according to the Associated Press.