MCAS Beaufort sport bike riders rev up their skills

24 Oct 2008 | Cpl. Jenn Eagelman

Thirty four of the 37 motorcycle fatalities for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during fiscal year 2007 were on sport bikes, according to the Naval Safety Center, a number which nearly doubled during FY08.

As of Sept. 3a0, 49 of FY08’s 56 motorcycle fatalities took place on sport bikes, according to Naval Safety Center Web site. This is one of the primary reasons why the NSC has teamed up with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to create the Military Sport Bike Course specifically for sport bike riders.

A sport bike is defined as a race-derived motorcycle. Their quick acceleration, high speed and nimble handling have made the bikes popular amongst adrenaline junkies.

“Sport bikes are high performance machines that have a higher horsepower to weight ratio than most bikes,” said Sgt. Barry Hodges, an Air Station motorcycle safety instructor. “These bikes are built for speed and they can be dangerous without proper training.”

The course will teach riders how to comfortably handle these high-performance machines. Riders taking the course can expect practice in proper body placement for cornering, braking and swerving, and other things necessary to get the most out of their sport bikes, according to Hodges. This course will also give riders a chance to have a trained eye give them pointers on their habits and flaws that they may only have gotten while attending a racing course at a track.

 “After riders have attended a formal racing school, they can attend track days where they can enjoy riding in a safe and controlled environment,” explained Hodges.

The Air Station offers basic, experienced and now sport bike courses and there are several advanced courses available in the area. Plus the Keith Code California Superbike School has already visited Fightertown riders this year.

“Most Marines are being responsible by starting off with a 600 (cubic centimeter) sport bike, learning how to ride it and then moving up to a higher CC if they decide they want more power,” Hodges said. “The more training they get, the safer they can ride.”