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Marines spend a day at the track

Normally the 4,000-foot airstrip is used for helicopter training exercises; instead, it was used for a different type of training.

More than a 100 service members were given the opportunity to improve their riding skills during the annual Motorcycle Track Day, held at the 62 Area Helicopter Outlying Landing Field, Camp Pendleton, Jan. 30.

Motorcyclists from different experience levels were put to the test as they rode through tight corners that were laid out on the course. The structure of the course was to help riders practice correct turning techniques along side other motorcyclists, under the supervision of safety personnel.

The supervision of motorcyclist instructors and coaches provided an opportunity for service members to learn, understand and stop bad habits.

If they were not using proper techniques and it could harm others or themselves, we would stop them and correct the issue, said Kevin Frantum, traffic safety manager, base safety office.

Service members were given pointers on the basics of riding, handling, cornering and proper positioning of the body.

“I highly recommend this to every rider,” said Master Sgt. Marson Griffith, rider coach, 1st Marine Division. It provides tools for even the most experienced riders, he added.

Motorcyclists from all ranks and experiences were able to use events like this as a stepping stone in becoming a more confident and safer rider.

“I have been to every single (track day) that has been held here,” said CWO4 Michael Lavoie, maintenance officer, School of Infantry, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “It is a great opportunity for military motorcyclists to better their skills because it is located on base and it is free,” he explained.

Because it is cost effective, it gives the younger riders an opportunity to learn from experienced riders who can help them become safer motorcyclists, said Lavoie, a motorcyclist with more than 28-years of experience. They can test their skills and fall down and not be in as much danger, he added.

The purpose of the track day is to allow service members the opportunity to test their limits in a safe atmosphere, instead of driving up and down local roads, which may cause them to get in an accident.

These events are not a substitute for the basic and advanced rider courses.

This year we are planning to have a track day, at minimum of once a quarter, Frantum said.

Service members who want more information, can log on to or call the base safety office at (760) 725-2897 or (760) 725-5328.

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