Today was the first race of the season, so we packed up RalphVee last night, and hit thr rode around 7:30 this morning. I had a 9:20am practice and a 10:40am qualifying. The track was fairly slick early, and it was very windy, so I had lots of helmet buffeting and a couple hundred extra RPM down the front straight.
Qualifying went well, and I was right in a group of cars running in the 2:09-10 range, about where I normally run.
So I gridded up for the 12:30 race. A Spec Miata got me into turn 2 on the first lap, but I had enough patience to follow him around and ducked inside on turn 14 under braking. I then pulled a nice gap over the next 9 laps. I got lapped by the leader (Formula Mazda) on the last lap, so I only had to run 9 laps, not 10. As it happens, that was all RalphVee had in him, 9 laps.
He literally blew up as I crossed the finish line, taking a checker flag and the class win in GT4.
I felt him tighten up a little, then heard a little noise. He was still pulling strong, had great oil pressure, and oil and cylinder head temps were "normal." Right as I crossed the finish, the noise got worse and I could feel it get even tighter, so I pushed in the clutch and killed the ignition. I then heard a noise, saw a tick of smoke, then just coasted around to the outside of turn 3. I came in on the hook.
The air cleaner was no longer attached to the carb, so that was a strange thing. There was some oil on the upper end of the engine, but nothing dripping underneath. Then I found some metal. I found what appears to be about half of a piston ring and some small chunks of block. Then I found the hole in the block. It was on the top of the block, next to the oil pump.
How in the hell did a piston ring manage to escape that hole is beyond me.
End result? The motor is shit. Well, the block/case is obviously shit. I assume a piston, rod, cylinder, maybe a cylinder head, and who knows what else is also shit. After a bit of time to digest, I will take out the motor and rip it apart.
Long term, I'm not sure what my plans are. I love running Ralphvee, but have had a lot of problems trying to hot rod him. Maybe I should send the 1200cc motor off to a pro FV builder for a rebuild, and learn to love 55whp.
And now the photos:
getting strapped in:
Our hero, about to blow a motor:
random bits that escaped the confines of the engine block:
Nice Hole! (that's what she said)
That might be a rod sticking up, sorta looks like it.