First of all the Coronavirus is my fault. This season is the first in 30 years that I was actually ready for. My body, my mind, my bike. All were ready by January, instead of Saturday morning in March, 2hrs before Round 1. Then the virus hit, and 2020 Round 1 was cancelled. Round 2 was cancelled. Round 3 was… you know the drill, we’re all still living it. 2020 went pear-shaped.
With racing on Corona-hold, I signed up for one of the first trackdays in California. But after just three laps a rock went through my radiator, ending the day before it really started. I replaced the radiator for my second trackday, which I left after five laps because either I ride too fast, or they rode too slow. During trackday attempt #3, my new radiator failed, spraying coolant directly onto the ABS brake computer, which killed it. We fixed the radiator, we fixed the ABS computer, and finally we headed out for AFM’s super delayed but finally here, Round 1 (which was really Round 4).
But our bike simply refused to run. It started, it ran, it went out for practice 1. But it couldn’t get out of its own way out there. Wouldn’t accelerate past half throttle, no matter what we changed, no matter what we checked. Not only did we fail to finish Round 1, but we failed to even start it.
At this point I kind of felt like giving up. 2020 has been rough on all of us, for every reason in the book. Maybe I’m thinking this just isn’t meant to be. But I gave our bike to Alex at CalMoto the morning after Round 1 anyway. It took him a while to chase down every theory I begged him to consider, all of which lead nowhere near a solution. And then it happened, with just one week until Round 2, Alex discovered our cam-chain tensioner had failed – which let our intake valves go out of sync with the rest of the motor. Thankfully nothing was damaged, and Alex could straighten it all out in time for us to make it to Today, AFM Round 2.
Practice #1 felt strange. I am riding again. Fast. And our bike runs like a bull. Finally, it seems, we defeated the daemons of 2020. And then our exhaust system failed catastrophically. The weld around our Oxygen Sensor broke clear off. I don’t have a spare exhaust, and nobody in Bakersfield is available to Tig Weld this back to raceable. We are effectively done, again, and facing the grim reality of quitting this ill-infected year of bad luck.
Or are we…