A motorcycle racer died from his injuries on Sunday after crashing during The Maine Event in northern Maine, where he was trying to top speeds of 300 miles per hour on just a mile of track at Loring Air Force Base.
44-year old Bill Warner of Florida reportedly lost control of his bike once he hit 285 mph and veered off the track after making it 4,000 feet; witnesses say the motorcycle was in pieces afterward. Surprisingly, Warner was conscious and responsive after the wreck, but he later succumbed to his injuries.
“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 witness Cole Theriault. “The bike, from what I heard, was demolished, just in pieces. After a minute, all you could hear was the sirens.”
Warner was a world-record holder for being the first conventional motorcyclist in history to top speeds of 300 mph, which he achieved in 2011 when he got up to 311 mph on just 1.5 miles of track, also at Loring. That same year, he survived a crash in Texas that left him with a broken scapula, four broken ribs, a punctured lung, and severe tissue damage, among other things.
Warner reportedly slid about 1,000 feet when his bike left the race track on Sunday and has said before that the hardest part of reaching such high speeds is to get the bike to stop safely.
“The big part of it, after the speed happens, is trying to stop the bike,” he said after his 2011 race. “Here at Loring Air Force Base, there is a mile shutdown to slow the vehicles down and I used every bit of it. The bike was bouncing, hopping, skipping and sliding. Needless to say, I got it stopped safely. It was a little scary.”