Each year, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosts a motor officer training challenge. This year marked the 13th anniversary of the event, designed to bring motorcycle officers together for friendly competition, training exercises, and community connection. The venue, Mills Park, proved to be a fantastic site to be able to see all of the action brought by motor officers in Nevada and California.
The marquis event of the Motor Officer Training Challenge is the timed course. Friday is a practice day for the timed course while Saturday was the competition itself.
For a motorcyclist, watching both days is a treat. The practice day is almost a free-for-all with multiple riders on the course at the same time. Watching them ride together in tight maneuvers is astonishing and exhilarating. And with each trial round, you can see them run the course faster and faster, creating quite a lot of anticipation for how fast they’ll run in the competition.
As for competition day itself, the bustle is a bit slower with only one rider on the course at a time. But with that you get to focus on the whole of the course as they navigate the cones, fighting for a fast time.
What makes the vibe of the competition so compelling is the camaraderie of the riders, all pushing themselves to do their best, but also supporting each other in their triumphs and foibles. Because in the end, this event is about training and improvement to stay safe on the road.
Seeing them in action, you realize you’re watching some of the most skilled riders in the world. The maneuvers they accomplish on huge bikes at low speeds are phenomenal. It’s a reminder of what the bikes are capable of doing with a subtext of knowing the riders’ lives depend on top-notch skills.
For more news from the event, head on over to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit Facebook page. They’ve got great photos and videos of additional Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge events like tether and Last Man Standing.
On a more somber note, much of the sentiment of the event was for the loss of San Jose motor officer, Michael Katherman, on June 14th. He was killed while on duty when a car turned left in front of him. As you know, I have all-too-familiar experience with that myself. Fortunately I survived, if barely, and now quite a bit worse for wear.
Here’s the thing: when the most skilled riders in the world are being killed in these scenarios, I have to remind drivers again, that being aware of all road users is your responsibility.
For those who continue to dismiss motorcycling as dangerous instead of acknowledging the bigger problem, I’ll say it yet again. No. When responsible, defensive, highly-trained riders are being killed, you are what’s dangerous. Most motorcycle vs. auto crashes are attributed to driver error. That means driver training, education, and awareness is the weakest link.
Please do your part. Learn. Look twice. And then again. Make sure you’re actually seeing, not just paying lip service to attentiveness with a quick, disengaged glance.
For more information on how you can do your part on the road, check out my series of what motorcyclists want you to know about road hazards we face, negative perceptions we encounter, how to share the road with us, and why we do some of the things we do on the road.
For your enjoyment
Obviously this is an emotional subject for me. So on a lighter note and stepping back off my soap box, here’s a video of the event. I hope you find these officers’ skills as inspiring as I do.
Adventure on, friends!