Bill Warner (motorcyclist)

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William Walter "Bill" Warner (February 11, 1969 – July 14, 2013) was an American motorcycle racer who set the land speed record on a conventional motorcycle in 2011.[1][2] He died while racing his motorcycle in 2013.[3]

Warner was born in Little Falls, New York. He studied marine biology and chemistry at the University of Tampa. Warner was a tropical fish farmer in Wimauma, Florida.[3][4] On July 17, 2011, riding a highly modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa, Warner set a new world motorcycle land speed record of 311.945 miles per hour (502.027 km/h) from a standing start to 1.5 miles at the Loring Timing Association's Land Speed Race, held at the Loring Commerce Centre (the former Loring Air Force Base) in Limestone, Maine.[3][5][6]

Bill Warner began land speed racing his unfaired normally-aspirated Yamaha V-max in 2007, on which he entered the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) 200 mph club that year.[7][8] He purchased an unfaired turbo Suzuki Hayabusa in 2008, and quickly set the fastest unfaired ("naked") motorcycle records in land speed racing, eventually reaching 255 mph in 2010 at the Texas Mile. Later in 2010, Warner built, with the consultation of accomplished Bonneville motorcycle racer Larry Forstall, a set of Modified-class fiberglass bodywork for his Hayabusa. With this bodywork, sponsor and managerial support from Walt Kudron, he set the track record on the standing mile at the ECTA sanction in Maxton, NC, going 272 mph.[9] He also holds track records at the Texas Mile at Goliad (278 mph), Loring (311 mph) and Mojave (274.8 mph) land speed sanctions.[10][11][8]

After going 278 mph in a mile on a Modified-class land speed motorcycle, Warner began building a new, Altered-class chassis, engine, and bodywork in order to attempt to break the 300 mph barrier on a conventional (rider-exposed) motorcycle. This undertaking was supported by many industry and personal sponsors, and absorbed all of Warner's time and energy. After breaking 300 on his first attempt in 2011 (with 11 mph to spare) on a 1,5 mile track, Warner sought to break 300 mph in a single mile, after which he planned to retire from ultimate land speed racing, auction his racing motorcycle, and manage his own standing-mile land speed event in Houston, Texas.

On July 14, 2013, while attempting to break 300 mph in a single mile at the Loring Timing Association land speed meet, Warner lost control of his motorcycle at 285 miles per hour (459 km/h).[12] His motorcycle veered off the course and struck a 6" concrete landing light pedestal and he was thrown a great distance. Warner was conscious after the crash, but was pronounced dead at Cary Medical Center in Caribou, Maine. He had achieved 296 mph in a mile at the event, in less than optimal conditions.[13] The cause of the accident is unclear, though investigators suspect mechanical or tire failure.[14] He was survived by his parents, brother, and sister.[3][4]


  1. ^ Vijayenthiran, Viknesh (2013) 'Motorcycle Land Speed Record Holder Bill Warner Suffers Fatal Crash'.
  2. ^ (2013) 'William Warner in Little Falls, NY | Free Public Records | PublicRecords360'. falls
  3. ^ a b c d Slotnik, Daniel E. (July 17, 2013). "Bill Warner, Who Set Speed Record on Motorcycle, Dies at 44". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Dupont, Kevin Paul (July 21, 2013). "Bill Warner's pursuit of speed ended in his death". Boston Sunday Globe. p. C2.
  5. ^ Bowman, Zach (July 20, 2011). "Watch Bill Warner's record-setting 311-mph motorcycle run". AOL. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Ford, Dexter (July 22, 2011). "Riding Alfresco, Motorcyclist Sets Record With 311.94 M.P.H. Run". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  7. ^ ECTA (2007) 'Maxton 200 MPH Club |'.
  8. ^ a b ECTA (2007) '2. Maxton Modified Motorcycle Records |'.
  9. ^ East Coast Timing Association Limited Liability Company (2011) 'Maxton Track Records |'.
  10. ^ "Mojave Mile". Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Whealon, D (2011) '311.94 MPH: World's Fastest Motorcycle Rolls on BST Carbon-Fiber Wheels | Sport Rider'.
  12. ^ Obits for Life (2016) 'William Warner Obituary - Little Falls, New York'. Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Swenson, K (2013) 'Bill Warner, King of Land Speed Racing, Was the Fastest Motorcycle Rider on Earth | Miami New Times'.
  14. ^ Wilcox, Lisa (September 20, 2013). "Motorcyclist's fatal accident at Loring time trials linked to rear tire trouble". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved April 2, 2015.