By Dave Sherwood
BOWDOINHAM, Maine (Reuters) - A Florida motorcyclist known as the "fastest man on two wheels," died Sunday after crashing at just under 300 miles per hour while trying to break his own record for the fastest speed on a conventional motorcycle in a time trial in Limestone, Maine.
Trial officials at The Maine Event, an annual speed trial held by the Loring Timing Association, said emergency responders were already on their way before racer Bill Warner came to a stop, nearly 1,000 feet from where his bike, a modified, turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa, crashed suddenly.
Warner was conscious immediately after the crash but died later at the Cary Medical Center in Caribou, Maine, officials said.
The crash happened during the first leg of the timed speed event, which is held along a 2.5 mile asphalt track at the site of the former Loring Air Force Base.
Warner was trying to reach 300 miles per hour in less than a mile but crashed at around the 4,000 foot line, officials said.
Race director Tim Kelly said local authorities were investigating the incident. "Something occurred and he lost control of the vehicle. That's all we know right now," he said.
Kelly said it was the second racing accident in eight events held at the former base, and the first involving a fatality. In a previous event, a female rider had fallen from her bike at 211 mph, but survived with only minor injuries.
Racers wear armored leather racing suits, armored boots and crash helmets during time trials, Kelly said. "Even when accidents do happen, people often walk away from them but unfortunately, that's not what happened this time," he said.
(Editing by Nick Carey)