The ride to Weymouth (on the south coast of Dorset) was interesting. Patchy fog and a chill in the air meant that visibility wasn't the best, but lower traffic levels made it a little less hectic.
With the meeting done and journalist happy, I took a scenic route across the county to Christchurch, near the Hampshire border on the very east of Dorset. After stopping off for a little lunch I popped into Smart Riders, a local store and part of the Infinity chain to look at winter gloves. My Rukka R-Star gloves are starting to give it up, with a seem coming through on the right index finger, clearly being worn down when I wipe my visor.
So with the second meeting in the bag by 1630, I headed back home. At a set of lights I pulled up next to a yellow Suzuki GSX-F 600. A quick nod to say hi, we waited a few minutes and when the lights changed, we left. They took the lead and I followed. About a mile later and after a series of bends, I lost drive. It felt like I'd hit a neutral, but then couldn't seem to get it back in gear. Through my earplugs, I heard a bit of a clunking/grinding noise and thought that my gearbox had gone. With a bit of momentum on my side, I found a safe place to stop and called the AA (which is totally not ironic following my post earlier this week). Looking at the bike I could see the problem. My chain had made a break for freedom and I can only imagine how bad that could have been if the Suzuki rider was following me instead of the other way around.
With the bike all strapped in, we took the short drive home and found traffic levels surprisingly low, which for us, was a good thing. Could my luck hold?
With the bike in the garage and some decent lighting, I was finally able to look at the extent of the damage. When the chain went, its whipped itself up and out when passing the front sprocket, striking and shattering part of the engine case, the spacer and cracking the mounting joint on the sprocket cover. There was still no oil seeping out so the case was still intact, and although pretty bad, it could have written off the engine.
Ironically, the FireBlade is due to have some engine work done in about three weeks, usually service stuff, valves, filters etc. so I'll have a think. One thing I know for sure; I need a new chain and sprocket set as my last chain is probably in a hedge somewhere, or buried in the grill of a silver BMW.