How many times have you launched off the line in a race, then gotten to the first turn and had the bike die? As you watch the pack disappear in the distance and your face reddens, you reach down, turn the gas on, and start kicking.
Yeah, we know this sounds like one of those, ‘Well, duh’ tips, but we know an AMA Pro who was recently hurt after his bike died due to fuel starvation on the face of a triple. His gas had been turned off while his mechanic worked on the bike, and the rider didn’t think to check it when he went back out on the track. The result was a pair of broken feet after he stepped off in mid-air…as his mechanic was sprinting toward the track to have him double-check it. That’s one reason why some race teams modify the fuel valve so that it can’t be turned off.
Of course, that’s one extreme, while the other is riders who have the nervous habit of checking the valve repeatedly as they sit on the gate, waiting for the sign to go up.
Somewhere between the two will probably work. Just make sure you can check it by feel when you’re on the bike, or do a visual check before you climb aboard. Oh…and don’t forget to check the fuel level.