Record-holding motorcycle racer crashes bike while attempting 300 mph at Loring

Posted July 14, 2013, at 1 p.m.
Last modified July 14, 2013, at 4:24 p.m.

A Florida man who set the world record for fastest speed on a conventional motorcycle was injured Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle and reportedly slid 1,000 feet during a speed trial at the former Loring Air Force Base.

Bill Warner, a speed racer and tropical fish seller from Wimauma, Fla., was attempting to hit 300 miles per hour within one mile on Sunday just before 10 a.m. during The Maine Event, an annual speed trial race sanctioned by the Loring Timing Association.

Warner made it about 4,000 feet before suddenly losing control of his modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa. The extent of his injuries are currently unknown, but he was immediately transported to Cary Medical Center in Caribou, according to race officials.

Race officials say that when emergency responders arrived, Warner was “awake and talking” when he was taken to Cary Medical Center. The remainder of time trials for the day have been cancelled, according to race officials.

Though there are few known details, one witness who watched the race from the starting line said he could tell immediately that things had gone wrong.

“He got maybe 4,000 feet or so, and where I was standing at the starting line, you could see a big dust cloud and then it got silent,” said Cole Theriault, a spectator from Connor Township. “The bike, from what I heard, was demolished, just in pieces. After a minute, all you could hear was the sirens.”

Warner set a world record at the time trial in 2011, when he became the first conventional motorcyclist in history to top 300 miles per hour, according to LTA. On a 1.5 mile course, he maxed out at 311.945 mph. Yesterday, he broke the 1 mile record at Loring when he hit 296 mph.

According to the LTA’s website, the track at Loring is the longest land speed record track in the world, with a total length of 2 ⅝ miles, including a long stretch for cooldown.

Watch for updates.

Tom Hale contributed to this report.