Battle learns the ropes before competing


Last updated 3/13/2008 at Noon

Featured MX rider Caleb Battle advances his riding skills by enrolling in dirt bike coaching schools.

Caleb Battle, 7, a first-grader at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Fallbrook, is twisting throttle these days on a Kawasaki KX 65 at the Moto X Kidz racing series held every other Sunday at Lake Elsinore MX Park.

Battle also won his 50cc Beginners class on his first dirt bike, a Honda CRF 50, at the Hot Summer Nights series at Perris Raceway last year.

This young man has a keen appreciation for all educators who help him achieve his family goals for steady improvement.

He mentioned his teacher from St. Peter’s: “My teacher’s name is Mrs. Minare, but we call her ‘Mrs. M.’ That just works better.”

Battle’s parents didn’t just suddenly buy him a KX 65 and turn him loose. Parents Keith and Julie Battle started him on a smaller Honda CFR 50cc bike, then immediately enrolled the youngster in the well-known Coach2Ride Dirt Bike School when he was six.

Coach2Ride co-owners Andrea Beach and Bonnie Warch specialize in coaching beginning dirt bike riders age six and up.

They coach with the valuable instruction resources and guidelines approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or MSF (a similar organization is the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, or SVIA).

The MSF is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that promotes the safety of motorcyclists and rider training.

The SVIA is also nationally recognized with the same nonprofit status, “dedicated to the safe and appropriate use of all-terrain vehicles <ATVs>.”

Beach mentioned that Battle was a very good, quick learner.

“He did very well in the MSF Dirt Bike School,” she said, “but that’s probably because he and his family wanted to take the class we offer for dirt bikes. Many of the dirt bike students of all ages are more open-minded to the coaching than are the ATV students.”

So, what did Beach mean by “open minded?” She explained the differences she has seen between dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts. I’ll interpret her narrative.

By law, many of Coach2Ride’s ATV students are mandated to take the ATV Safety Institute “RiderCourse” to be educated and earn their ATV License mandated by the State of California defined by California Vehicle Code.

Most of the RiderCourse students have either been issued a ticket by a public land agency enforcer for not having a license or by local law enforcement for trespassing-related violations on top of having no license (they are court ordered to take the course).

Many behave like it’s a traffic school instead of embracing the course for what it is: a marvelous opportunity to learn the laws and safety and meet new riding friends.

Beach commented on a very positive note, “Well, the ATV riders like meeting new friends. Doesn’t anybody who just wants to have fun? Our ATV students eventually warm up to us…by the end of their coaching.”

Education preserves recreation

Battle and his family don’t have to worry about violating the law.

Thanks to Coach2Ride, they know how to determine the appropriate engine size for his age, should he ride an ATV in the future, and that he would need a license.

Moving on, moving up

Julie Battle explained her family’s reason for choosing Jim Gibson’s MX School: “We were looking for someone who coaches MX to kids, specifically someone who does not talk down to the kids. Caleb’s not ready to go tearing off into the sunset. He’s still a little guy.”

I asked Caleb what the difference was between basic coaching on flat terrain and Jim Gibson’s coaching when it came to negotiating the curves on a track.

“The difference is, at the track, Jim teaches me to put my leg out in the turns,” Caleb Battle said. “He teaches me [motocross] form – like when to stay in the middle of my bike or leaning back on the seat.”

For more information about how to qualify for free courses with the ATV Safety Institute, find this article online at http://www.myvalleynews (sister paper of the Village News) and see additional information included.


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