I never like waking up early in the morning and going to Sears Point (Infineon) Raceway means I’m up at 4:30am on Friday. Ugh. Eric and I climbed into the truck and headed out on the road and got to the track just before 7am. We had plenty of time to unload the truck, hit registration and riders meeting and get a new rear tire from Chris at CT Racing/Pirelli.
My first session out on track was like visiting an old friend and I was able to quickly put down some decent lap times even with a cold track and new rear tire. Being the Friday before a race weekend, there was no B- group so there were quite a few slow people in B+ and they tended to bunch up which was a little frustrating, but also allowed me to work on my passes and forced me to try different lines. Considering my off-track excursion last round, having some experience doing different lines can only be considered a good thing. :)
Unfortunately, my trackday was cut short due to a noise (the same sound you get from shaking a can of spray paint) coming from the engine… not the kind of sound you want to hear. At first we thought it was the cam chain tensioner, but after re-adjusting it the sound would always come back and it just got worse. The day was basically over by this point, so decided to button things up and hope we could get some help from K.C. from BRG on Saturday so I could race on Sunday.
The next morning I tracked down K.C. and he figured out that the noise wasn’t from the cam chain tensioners, but rather from inside the motor cases. We got the bike on it’s side and removed the stator cover and immediately found the problem: the generator coil bolts had loosened and allowed the coil to hit the stator hub repeatedly. The generator coil was destroyed and there was a ton of metal shavings floating in my oil and stuck to various metal bits.
Long story short, we weren’t able to properly clean out the engine to get all the metal out of the engine and there was a big question mark of how clogged the mesh filter was. If it was clogged the motor wouldn’t get enough oil and it could seize while I was riding it which is quite dangerous. Unfortunately, the only way to know how bad it was to split the engine cases- not realistic at the track.
Honestly, the motor was probably OK, but after weighing both sides I decided there really wasn’t much to be gained from racing with a questionable motor. Since I’m not in the running for a title nor can I qualify for my expert license this year, I decided to sit this round out and flush the motor the best I can before next round. There really is a big difference between paid-to-play and paying-to-play.
The good news is that I’m still in contention for overall top novice in the 650 Production class. I didn’t realize that until I got home, but I’m leading by only 2 points so next round is going to be absolutely critical. Hopefully I can get everything squared away in time and get a good result!