May 26, 2018
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Speed racers flock to Limestone

By Tom Hale, Special to the BDN

LIMESTONE, Maine — Over 130 racers converged at the former Loring Air Force Base to attempt to set speed records in a host of classes, including motorcycles, cars and street luge.

Roland Morrison of Deerfield, N.J., set speed records in his street luge powered by a Harley Davidson motorcycle engine. Morrison set the two-pass record at 154 mph and set a single-run record of 165 mph. The previous record for luge was 150 mph, set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

In production cars, a Toyota Yaris driven by Adrian Tauer of Caribou went 125.7 mph. Typical Yarises have approximately 90 horsepower. Tauer’s produces over 200 horsepower with the aid of a turbocharger.

Involvement in the land speed races by Maine racers has noticeably increased over years past, as has the quality of the vehicles. Approximately 15 percent of entrants are from Maine.

Maine native Doug Gilbert, now residing in Winchester, Va., took the Gardiner-based Butler-McKinney 1957 Studebaker to 198 mph. With a 10-12 mph headwind, he was unable to break into the 200-mph range.

The fastest motorcyclist for Saturday’s event was Don Hass, who went 224.529 mph. The fastest automobile of the day was driven by Michael Coakley, who turned in a top speed of 204.129 miles per hour.

According to the admissions director, Julie Sotomayor of Easton, estimated paid admissions for Saturday were over 400 new spectators to go along with the 200-plus spectators who also attended Friday’s races.

Racers from all over the U.S. and Canada are represented at the Loring event.

Due to the headwinds, record holder Bill Wanner is holding off on record attempts until early Sunday morning. He will attempt to have the fastest nonstreamliner motorcycle in the mile. His goal is to reach 300 mph in that distance.

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