Highly regarded land speed motorcycle racer Sam Wheeler has died from injuries he received in a crash at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
He was testing his streamliner motorcycle in preparation for this year’s Bonneville Speed Week. He was 72.
Event organiser Mike Cook said Mr Wheeler was traveling at about 200 mph (320km/h) when the motorcycle began to fishtail, launched into the air and crashed down on the caged section surrounding the rider.
Mr Wheeler was alive when the rescue team pulled him from the wreckage, but he died about four hours later in hospital.
The engineer from Arcadia in California had about 50 years experience in land speed racing, and was known amongst his peers as a perfectionist who knew aerodynamics well.
He has reportedly been hand-building a motorcycle that would travel at 400 mph.
Land speed racers are at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah preparing for this year’s event in August.
What is normally an annual event has been cancelled for the last two years because of the condition of the salt flat.