SAN DIEGO—Marines with Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., took part in a Superbike Advance Rider Track Day at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, June 28.
“The reason we’re doing this is because we saw a gap in the motorcycle training that is offered on base,” said Capt. Donald Williams, the motorcycle club president with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38 -38 and a Roswell, N.M., native. “In the Marine Corps we try to do a ‘crawl, walk, run’ kind of training, but there was that gap, there was no walk. So we brought in California Superbike to teach us how to walk.”
During training, the Marines learned basic concepts like turning, braking and proper entry speeds into a turn while transitioning from one corner to another.
“What I’ve noticed is that these Marines have a very basic knowledge of what they’re doing,” said Williams. “They understand how to shift gears, make the bike move forward, how to get it to stop, but they don’t know how to transition between corners, proper throttle control entering a corner and things of that nature. That is the point of this course.”
Before starting their laps, Marines spent time in front of a white board where instructors taught proper techniques.
While conducting practice laps, Marines had the chance to speak to the instructors for pointers on body positioning on the motorcycle, the angles they were turning at and how to get the safest turn possible.
“I would suggest this course to everyone,” said Staff Sgt. William Patnode, the event coordinator and a motorcycle rider instructor with Marine Air Control Group 38 and a Peru, N.Y., native. “Our target audience is the younger generation of Marines and younger riders who are at more risk, but we have [Marines] who have been riding for years here. Everyone can learn something with this course.”
According to Patnode, who began working with California Superbike in 2009, no Marine who has taken this course has been involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.
As a motorcycle instructor who can teach on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Patnode thinks very highly of this course—he is not alone.
“This class is really good training, I’m really glad I came out,” said Cpl. Kyle Lackey, a wireman with MWCS-38 and a Jefferson, Texas, native. “They taught us techniques that a rider needs to know to stay safe. Getting the classroom time to learn what we needed to, then the time on the track to actually do it really helped.”
As the class drew to an end, the Marines who attended the course now have the techniques to keep them safe on their motorcycle while riding for business or pleasure.