LIMESTONE, Maine (AP) - A motorcycle racer trying to top 300 mph diedSunday after losing control and zooming off a runway at a former airbase in northern Maine.
Bill Warner, 44, of Wimauma, Florida, was clocked at285 mph before he lost control but it was unclear how fast themotorcycle was traveling when it veered off the paved runway andcrashed, said Tim Kelly, race director the Loring Timing Association,which hosted "The Maine Event" at Loring Air Force Base.
Warner was conscious and talking after the crashjust before 10 a.m., Kelly said, but he died about an hour and 15minutes later at a hospital in Caribou.
"No one will touch Bill's achievements or be thetype of racer he was. He was a personal friend and the land-racingcommunity is less for his loss," Kelly said.
Riding his modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa,Warner previously hit 311 mph on the same course in 2011, using 1.5miles of pavement. That's considered to be the world land speed recordfor a conventional motorcycle, Kelly said.
This time he was trying to hit 300 mph using just amile of pavement, and he'd made several passes before the one in whichhe crashed, Kelly said.
The Maine Event is an annual timed speed event thatutilizes the 14,200-foot-long runway at the former Strategic AirCommand base that closed in 1994. The Loring Timing Association uses 2.5miles of the runway for its events, and there's an additional buffer of2,000 feet, Kelly said.
On Sunday, about 400 spectators watched as Warnerbegan veering right after passing the 1-mile mark, traveling upright foranother 2,000 feet before exiting the runway and crashing, Kelly said.
The remainder of Sunday's event was canceled. TheLimestone Police Department and Maine State Police were investigatingthe crash.