It was a back fire, that's all. It came up though the air box, blew the airbox lid off, broke the fairing, and punched his hand.
the piston, had it actually come out of the engine, would have gone though the radiator... after it went through the head. if it were even possible, it would have been a spectacular explosion. fact is, it doesn't happen. the piston usually fractures and shatters inside the sleeve.
I didn't try to view the video in question but the old Harley Top Fuelers in the seventies DID blow the jugs off now and then. They'd pull the studs at the cylinder base flange and the whole cylinder assembly, head attached, would lift, jam on the piston, crash into the top frame rail, bending it and as a result would bash the rider in the chest. I witnessed one of these and it happened right on the start-up rollers. An ugly scene of destruction. The rider was hurting and badly bruised. I don't know if it proved to be any worse later.
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