LIMESTONE, Maine — Detroit motorcycle owner Henry Paga’s search for a fast track was successful over the weekend when his driver, Scott Davis of Astle, New Brunswick, directed Paga’s Kawasaki to record speeds during the Loring Timing Association’s Harvest Event at the Loring Commerce Center.
“We want to go fast. This is where I heard you could do it so we are here today,” said Paga, explaining what attracted him and his daughter to the former Loring Air Force Base and its 2.5-mile runways.
“We came here with our eye on being the fastest naturally aspirated Kawasaki in the mile and the mile and a half. The records were 212.8 in the mile and 222 in the mile and a half. We had clutch issues, tire issues, and gear issues. We sorted all those things out and went real fast,” Paga added
Davis set the records in his last run of the event Sunday midafternoon. The 25-year-old went 220 in the mile and 226 in 1.5 miles, making his team the fastest overall and setting records in their class.
A moment of silence for record holder Bill Warner of Wimauma, Fla., was observed at 9:58 a.m. on opening day and a roadside sign with Warner’s 300 mph hat resting on it was placed at the starting line for this event and future events to commemorate the fastest man ever to run the Loring venue.
William, 44, a speed racer and tropical fish grower from Wimauma, Fla., died on July 14 while taking part in The Maine Event, an annual speed trial race sanctioned by the Loring Timing Association. He was attempting to hit 300 mph within 1 mile when he lost control of his modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle at 9:58 a.m. and reportedly slid 1,000 feet.
No accidents occurred during the LTA’s event over the weekend.
“We had 56 racers and everyone got to run as often as they wanted. We averaged 40 runs per hour,” Joe Daly, LTA’s motorcycle technical inspector from Long Island, N.Y., said.
The fastest of the four-wheel vehicles was the belly tank lakester of Jim Cosgrove of Sudbury, Mass. A lakester is any car which has four exposed wheels. Any fenders will make it a streamliner. Cosgrove’s lakester ran 212 miles per hour in the 1.5 mile.
“The body of this (lakester) is the auxiliary fuel tank from an A-10 Wart Hog airplane that was bought out of a salvage yard in Ogden, Utah,” Cosgrove said. “We built a custom frame and suspension within the 30-foot belly tank and all suspension coming outside of the tank.”
Cosgrove restores antique Mercedes-Benz cars.
“When we first built this lakester we put a 1959 Mercedes three-liter six-cylinder in the car running on gasoline,” Cosgrove said. “That motor would put out a little over 400 horsepower. We set a record at Bonneville at 218 mph and at the Maxton Mile in North Carolina at 189 mph.
“The problem with that motor was it was done after a week at Bonneville,” Cosgrove added. “It would need all new internals in the engine every time we used it. The motor we are now using started its life as a 1.8 liter Audi engine that we bored and stroked to just over two liters. Turbocharged, its lowest tune is 576 horsepower. With a twist of a knob we can go to 680 or 790 horsepower at our highest tune.”
At Bonneville last year the lakester ran 246 mph and 258 mph in his best run but was unable to back it up, which means in order for a record to be established a second run must be completed at or near that speed.
Gary Gustafson of Clinton was unable to bring his Corvette up to his goal of 200 mph, a mark which has eluded him since coming to the Loring event. A broken ring and pinion slowed him down but it was a broken connecting rod and a four-inch hole in the vehicle’s oil pan that ended the racing.
“I will be back next year to get that 200 mph mark,” said Gustafson.
“You never own a land speed record. It’s only in your custody for a short period of time,” Daly said. “You should be happy when somebody else breaks it.”