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Volunteers key to smooth motorcycle challenge
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Ripon Police Motor Officer Steve Meece cuts through the course early in Saturday’s competition hoping to set a good time. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin
It was a team effort that made the weekend’s first Manteca Police motorcycle safety challenge such a terrific success, according to Lt. Nick Obligacion.

The Friday and Saturday event was held in the southwest corner of the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley shopping center at the corner of Union Road and Atherton Drive with 46 motorcycle officers attending on the first day for training and 32 the second day.

In a competitive spirit the hosting Manteca officers declined to accept any awards in the competition leaving the honors to riders coming from police agencies out of area.  Four Manteca officers participated however and demonstrated their skills in the process.

“This event could not have been a success without the help of all the volunteers including Explorers, (Community Emergency Response Team volunteers, off-duty police officers, police record clerks, dispatchers, community service officers, wives, kids, police chaplains as well as the support of the public that attended,” Obligacion said.

He also thanked the numerous businesses and the non-profit organizations that sponsored trophies set up their booths and donated to the raffle.  The teens that make up the Police Explorer Unit ran the snack booth offering hot dogs, soft drinks, candy and water to the participants and to members of the public.

Officers familiarized themselves with the rigors of the course on Friday and entered into the stiff competition trials on Saturday.  Riders put themselves through timed runs navigating their motorcycles through tight turns without touching a boot to the ground.

A slow course measured the ability of an officer to keep his motorcycle upright at the slowest possible speed in a test of balancing the 1,000 pound bikes.

Saturday afternoon the pair rides set officers side by side  inches apart with their motorcycles tethered together as they rode as fast as possible through the cones trying not to pull the connecting straps apart or without  from crashing in the process.

The Manteca Police Traffic Unit is looking forward to hosting another motorcycle challenge next year.   There was no cost to the city of Manteca as the event was funded through the funding of its sponsors including the Manteca Police Officers Association and the Ripon Police Officers Association in addition to numerous corporate sponsors whose contributions made the challenge possible.

When Manteca officers attend competitions throughout the state they do it at their own expense and make use of a scheduled training day to save the city any added costs for their participation.  Of the five Manteca police motorcycles, only two are on the street monitoring traffic due to the economic downturn in the city budget.  All the officers train together on a monthly basis to keep up with their skills.

The awards ceremony Saturday evening cited the following officers for their placement in the competition.

• Harley Davidson Electra Glide: 1st Place Mark Hernandez San Jose PD, 2nd Place Mike Taylor San Jose PD. 3rd Place Jacob Heaton Visalia PD

• Harley Davidson Road King: 1st Place Steve Blair Tracy PD, 2nd Place Nick Corte San Leandro PD, 3rd Place Ed Gilmore Tracy Police Department

• BMW: 1st Place C. Howard Fresno PD, 2nd Place Rick O’Dell Fresno PD, 3rd Place Mike Troehler Fresno PD

• Honda: 1st Place Roger Intorf Modesto PD, 2nd Place Ed Chan San Jose PD, 3rd Place Rod Garcia Modesto PD

• Slow Ride: 1st Place Paul Rice Folsom PD, 2nd Place Mike Troehler Fresno PD, 3rd Place C. Howard Fresno PD

• Team Competition: 1st Place C Howard / Rick O’Dell Fresno PD, 2nd Place Ed Chan / Roger Intorf San Jose PD-Modesto PD, 3rd Place  Bradshaw / Rice Folsom PD