I had my first race as a rookie last month on the 20th at Buttonwillow #13CW. I must say that is the most fun on 4 wheels I've ever had. Way more fun than any auto x, or track day. I got my first taste of the fun, but only a small taste, because I dropped a valve on my 2nd lap of my first race on Sunday. I have video, but haven't had the time to trim and upload.
Basically what happened is I was heading out of the off ramp section heading towards cotton corners and when trying to shift from 2-3, I was having trouble finding 3rd gear. I know I am a complete hack when it comes to shifting, and I wasn't being very gently or using correct hand position. I would always slide it into 5th. Here is the strange part, even though the gear lever would be in 5th, there was no gear engaged. It would be like neutral. But if I went back to 3rd then back to 5th, the gear was fine. It was like the gears missed or something. This happened again for the 4th time in the same section, and after I got it into 3rd gear i realized I had a blown engine and got the meatball flag immediately. I'll post a video when I can. However through my searching on the archives and miata.net, I have found that this is an issue that happens often? Does "neither gear" ring a bell? I didn't over-rev it too bad, maybe just to 7200 rpm, it didn't even hit the rev-limiter, and I could tell the valve broke after I got it back into 3rd. I distinctly went into 5th gear. Car has year old mazdaspeed race motor mounts, but the diff mounts are probably older, although they don't look damaged at all.
We found a used 1.6 engine from a front runner for fairly cheap and I would like to know if it is necessary to open the transmission up and have a look at the shafts and gears, (forks?) before mating it to the engine and slapping it in. I checked the shiftier bushings, and their all good. We have the updated aluminum bushing from Mazda speed. Its still snug in there. The transmission was supposedly rebuilt right before we bought it. The cylinder head was a new Drago unit. I imagine we might have been running slightly lean due to our fuel consumption figures. (10-12 mins/gal, is that normal for a 1.6?) Our innovate gauge just had a new sensor installed, but it might not have been calibrated correctly like our last sensor. There was always a valve tick, even when warm, but only at idol and low RPM. Could a prolonged valve tick cause a failure like this after two laps of high RPM racing? I was in the draft but the coolant temp never got above 175 and the oil temp stayed below 200 even in the draft.
I know i'm throwing a lot at you guys at once, but any help appreciated. Mainly want to know if I have damaged the transmission.