News: Semper Ride entertains Division, teaches safety
Story by Cpl. Ned Johnson
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Over 300 motorcycles line the asphalt and rough men in leather and helmets are everywhere, but “Hell’s Angels” is not on base.
Those warriors are the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division attending a safety seminar and exposé hosted by Semper Ride.
“The idea and objective today is to make them aware of the dangers that exist out there,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak, sergeant major of 1st Marine Division. “But more importantly to make them more conscious riders and observe the safety features of the machines they ride.”
Semper Ride is an hour-long film designed to teach Marines safety through entertaining footage and tips from professional riders.
“We wanted to get involved in safety,” said Ronnie Renner, a professional motocross rider who starred in the movie. “We love the Marines and it was the perfect time.”
The expo offered a large variety of learning opportunities for the motorcyclists to include places to buy new and used bikes, safety classes available to riders, and even California Highway Patrol officers.
“Traffic safety is one of the most important things for us, and educating riders on traffic safety and how to prevent future incidents like crashes,” said Officer Chris Parent, a public information officer with the CHP. “It’s events like this that help educate riders, especially in the Marine Corps, on safety on the road.”
The professional riders from Semper Ride also put on a professional stunt show involving dirt bikes and sport bikes. The pros popped wheelies, burned rubber, and flipped backwards to the cheers of the crowd.
“We are at the top of our game and I think giving those tips helps guys see what we really think about,” said Tommy Clowers, a professional motocross rider. “We don’t just go out there and go for it, we put in a lot of practice and this is our job.”
After the stunt shows and movie premiere, the riders left in small groups on a “poker run” across the base. The ride gave the Marines an opportunity to meet other motorcyclists, and prizes were awarded at the end of the day.
While the participants enjoyed the free lunch, movie and expert tips, the overall lesson for today and tomorrow is still safety.
“I like it. More and more riders these days are growing up in the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Jerry Allen, a Division Marine and seasoned motorcyclist. “We need to focus on safety and letting our young riders know that there are people out there who can help them.”