Wimauma, FL -- The land-racing community suffered a big loss this weekend. 44-year-old Bill Warner died while he was trying to top 300 miles per hour on his turbocharged motorcycle, a Suzuki Hayabusa.
Warner was racing his motorcycle at Loring Airforce Base, a former air base in northern Maine at an event called "The Maine Event." Last time he was there he clocked in at 311 miles per hour, a world record according to the race event coordinator.
Our sister station WCSH talked with Warner just before his final race about traveling 290 miles per hour.
"In a wheelie it is really scary, hitting 290. If everything is planted, it is very fun," said Warner.
He also explained why he has to slow down after speeding up in order to speed up again while he is racing.
"The bike that I have has a tremendous amount of power, so by getting to 300 we cannot just turn up the power. We actually have to turn it down to try and get the bike to settle down," said Warner. "After we turn it down enough that I can handle it, I just turn it up a little bit at a time, and we have gotten 296. So we got just a little bit to go, but hopefully we can keep it on the ground."
WCSH said in his fateful race he clocked in at the mile marker at 287 miles per hour. His bike then darted to the right, crashing. Onlookers said he launched 40 feet into the air and landed about 100 yards away.
The event coordinator said Warner was alert and talking about the crash, but then died an hour later at a nearby hospital from his fatal injuries.
Warner also crashed about a year ago in Texas. A YouTube video has a camera recording from his perspective riding on the motorcycle. You can see the bike speed up and slow down, then crash to the right and skid.
Warner's neighbors were heartbroken to hear about his death. They recalled him talking about his racing hobby.
"He was passionate about racing," said Roger Feitshans. "He loved his motorcycles and he worked on them out here at his home. He also loved his other job, working on his fish farm."
Warner owned a fish hatchery next to his home off a private drive near the 100 block of 9th Street. Another farmer told 10 News he would take care of Warner's fish farm and his young dog Mavis.
"He also had several cows that would damage my fence and the other neighbors' fences and he told me before he left for this trip to Maine he would fix my fence when he got back, but that is ok," said Feitshans. "I am really going to miss him he was a great guy. On a scale of one to ten he was a ten."
Warner's family lives in New York.