Sunday, September 22, 2013

The 2013 Civilian Top Gun Riding Competition

Yesterday, Saturday, T3RG Motorcycle Schools, whom I learned to ride with, hosted their annual Civilian Top Gun Riding Competition.  Similar to the annual event held for Law Enforcement Motor Officers, but for civilians only, this event showcases the riding skills of two classes of riders:  First are the Cruiser/Baggers riders, basically large Harley Davidson and other marques.  Second would be smaller and faster sport motorcycles.

The riders were competing for not only bragging rights but a $1000 purse, with second place being a $400 gift certificate from Fay Myers Motorcycle, on whose parking lot the event was set up.

The competition course or range was designed by Kevin (Sarge) Ratzell, a 30+ year veteran of the Colorado Highway Patrol and currently one of the riders who support the Ironman Triathlons.  Today's course closely mimic'ed the course on which the Law Enforcement Top Guns competition is run..

I met and talked to some of the riders who were competing, such as Marc Ward, 2010's Top Gun winner:
Marc Ward and his '09 HD Road King

Mark came all the way from Georgia, partly to compete and defend his title for this competition.  The last time I talked to Mark was back in 2009, he'd been part of a demo team for T3RG Motorcycle Schools:  LINK.

I also met a couple of T3RG's motorcycle instructors:  Bob Ucman who teaches their civilian Top Gun Rider Training Course, and in real life sells fastener hardware to the defense and space industry; and Tony, active Air Force/Space Operations, who teaches both the Basic Rider Course and what used to be called the Experienced Rider Course but is now known as BRC-2.  Both instructors showed great skills negotiating the course, with Bob competing and Tony just riding it for fun afterwards.

Turns out, Tony's motorcycle, a BMW R1200 GS Adventure, wasn't allowed to compete as it was deemed to have unfair advantage over the cruisers.  Kind of a back-handed compliment, in a way.

Tony, one of T3RG's BRC instructors on his BMW R1200 GSA

Video shot with iphone camera, the battery on my Lumix was completely drained by this time of day

I also met, in the sportbike class, a rider who in my mind exceeded the requirements to be called a tough rider!  Samuel Meigs, on his way to work this past Friday had himself a motorcycle accident resulting in a lowside fall.  His motorcycle preceded him in a slide across three lanes of active traffic before both came to a stop.  Samuel suffered a bruise on his right leg/hip area (right where his wallet was) and though wearing a riding jacket, got a bit of road rash on his right forearm.

So what does Samuel do?  He goes to work after being treated on scene by an ambulance, then at noon shows up at Fay Meyers for the practice runs in preparation to today's competition!  His motivation to compete, according to Samuel, to get the experience of riding a Top Gun Motorcycle Rider Course, for the small cost of the entrance fee!  He had wanted to train, to become a better rider; heck he had even missed the small detail of the $1000 prize for first place!

Samuel Meigs, hard core rider

Though injured, Samuel competed today, was doing pretty good till he missed one of the patterns and pretty much was disqualified.  He was riding with an ice pack on his hip, and a bandaged forearm; he truly is a tough rider!  Not only that, the motorcycle he rode was the one in the accident, a motorcycle he'd personally assembled from parts resulting from an incomplete "customization job" by someone else; an '82 Yamaha XJ750.

I didn't have much luck with action shots of the riders, relying instead of videos shot using my regular Panasonic Lumix Point and Shoot and my GoPro Camera.  The GoPro stuff came out OK but I found the Point and Shoot's video much more usable.  I hope you enjoy the videos.

Quite an enjoyable day under the fierce Colorado sunshine, it was quite warm with temperatures in the 80s but everyone seemed to have a good time and T3RG is donating the proceeds of the event to The Mission Continues…

 Here's the Cruiser/Bagger Class Top Gun winner: Craig Brooks, to his
right is Colleen, who owns T3RG Motorcycle schools.  Flanking them are reps from the event
sponsors, Fay Myers and Ralph Schomp Automotive

The competitors for the Cruiser/Bagger Class

 Bryan Penney, the winning rider for the Sports Bike Class

Bryan Penney, winner of the Sportsbike Class
flanked by reps from Fay Myers and Ralph Schomp Automotive
with Colleen on the right.

And no, I didn't ask to run through the course while riding Valencia.....the gates were too narrow for her "girth"!  .

As the course was taken down, I chatted with Craig Brooks, who won the Cruiser/Bagger class and who competed and finished in the top 5 in the sportbike class.  We were joined by his lovely wife Tara who asked that Herman, their stuffed "hog", be allowed to pose on Valencia.  How could I say no?

Iphone photo, it wasn't doing well getting the right exposure
settings under the bright sun!


Steve Williams said...

The riders pictured in the videos are really good. Even on my little Vespa I can't imagine doing that kind of work.

The sportbikes were impressive but to see the cruisers do the same was pretty amazing.

I assume you tore up the course with the URAL...

SonjaM said...

I find it quite impressive to compete on a cruiser or other big motorcycle in this course. Kudos to those who made it through.

redlegsrides said...

Sadly Steve, the "gates" in the course were too narrow for sidecar rigs ....

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, every single rider who competed was impressive in their skills ... The winners basically incurred the least penalties.....

Todd said...

Great video! And thank you for coming out and getting to know the competitors! See you next year!!