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Seizure by Mikuni and Me


It was the fall of 2014, and I had been at a Flat Track event, somewhere outside of Mound House, NV when coming back I spotted her.

Off the side of the road was a 1989 YZ490 for sale. Worn out by a life of Nevada desert offroad treachery and zero maintenance, I drug the disaster home.

I spent a year tinkering on it to get it in a semi-restored state so I could use it at the dunes. Her and I, we went through a lot of whiskey together, maybe too much.

Among the restoration, there was the matter of the Mikuni carburetor. The bowl leaked because of a busted off screw, and the floats and float valve need anew. Parts ordered, no issue. Sudco delivered, I myself, did not. I finished up my drink, put my glass down and the Mikuni back on board the 490.

My issues became apparent upon the 3rd kick, when the bike I now have named  “Ping” came to life…she was idling happily for a moment, and then, it happened.

My finger-tight float bowl nut had been loosening a tiny bit with every detonating stroke of the engine. Then, unknowingly as I sat aboard her, the float bowl nut hit the ground beside my foot, and the engine uncontrollably screamed to the moon at 10,000 rpm.

It was dieseling; the kill button wouldnt work, and I was on asphalt in a parking lot full of cars. A clutch drop was not an option. She screamed and ping’d and screamed until it all came to a very quick and quiet ending.

Siezed. So much for a fresh rebuild. It was time to pour another drink, and do an illustration for a Print. Here’s to Ping, the detonation king.



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