News: BMW factory rider explains motorcycle safety, techniques to service members
Story by Spc. Paul Holston
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Whether you’re a motorcycle rider or not, there is no limit to learning more about a two-wheeled vehicle, improvement on riding skills and keeping yourself safer on the road.
Service members on Fort Bragg were given the unique opportunity to receive expert advice from professional motorcycle and BMW factory rider Nate Kern, who held a two-session motorcycle workshop seminar for riders Jan. 17 at York Theater.
“Once those training wheels come off and you go out of the parking lot into the road, reality sets in,” said Kern. “Winning to me is keeping all riders safe.”
Throughout the seminar, Kern emphasized on the importance of safety, the fundamentals of body positioning as well as mental strengthening while riding. He also gave members of the audience an opportunity to demonstrate their body positioning on motorcycle displays provided by Capital BMW from Raleigh, N.C., in which he gave them critiques and recommendations on how to position themselves better.
“I wanted to give them a genuine understanding of my personal experience and slow them down mentally to get them to understand and comprehend the fundamentals,” he said. “These are people who have served our country valiantly, and I want them to drive these machines not only safe, but smart.”
Kern has been professionally racing motorcycles since 2002 and serves as the BMW S1000RR Superbike technical ambassador. He was key in BMW’s historic eight hours of Daytona endurance race win in October 2006, which was the first time BMW won a significant superbike race in 30 years. Prior to the win, Kern has earned many trophies from the American Sportbike Racing Association’s Championship Cup Series that has brought him a huge following in the USA.
Staff Sgt. Jason Smith, a clinic noncommissioned officer in charge from B Co., MEDDAC in Fort Benning, GA, also came alongside Kern to help service members learn about motorcycle safety. Smith voluntarily took his own personal leave days and drove to Fort Bragg to help assist in the seminar.
“The training addresses the knowledge gap for beginners and fills in blanks for experienced riders as well,” said Smith.
Smith said he and Kern wanted to do it in a classroom environment because it’s not only safer, but riders are able to practice on a static motorcycle and understand the advice given, then execute the difference in body positions and fundamentals.
As a safety manager and a rider, Abdo Zacheau, 44th Medical Brigade’s Safety Manager, sees the consequences of inexperienced riders and accidents here and throughout the Army. The common thing among all accidents is inexperience, overconfidence, and equipment, he said.
“I’m all about getting our soldiers and airmen to become better riders,” said Zacheau, who was able to bring Kern to Fort Bragg. “I felt that this was a great opportunity for service members to receive not only free, open to the public training, but a chance to talk to a professional.”
“This was a great event,” said Pfc. Sean McGee, a health care specialist from 550th Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 44th Med. Bde. ““Even though I’m not experienced and have only been on a motorcycle once, I learned a lot. Safety is really important when it comes to riding any vehicle, but especially a motorcycle because you are more exposed.”
Kern will continue to train service members throughout the year at other military installations on his experience with motorcycle safety and techniques. He is set to head to Fort Lee, VA in May next.
“Anytime that I am able to share my knowledge to help other riders become more efficient in riding is great to me,” said Kern. “Whether novice or expert, you can always learn more.”