Meet Your Military: Soldier Pursues Passion for Motocross
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2014 – Crowds cheering, dirt and rocks flying as tires spin and sharp, high-speed turns can make a huge impact on a 7 year old. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera For Army Sgt. Jeremy Hazard, an 84th Engineer Support Company (Airborne) wheeled vehicle mechanic, it ignited a passion that nothing else ever did. Thirteen years after witnessing dirt bike racing for the first time, he finally got his chance. “I watched my first supercross during the Alaska State Fair in 2012,” Hazard said, “so I decided to join the Anchorage Racing Lions.” Seeing the off-road terrain and aerial jumps, Hazard said, he wanted to experience what the bikers were experiencing.
Desire to experience motocross But a few obstacles prevented Hazard from taking to the track in 2012. His commitment to the military and preparing for an upcoming deployment halted his dream to try out in the motocross race. “I wanted to participate in the summer series when I first heard about it, but was always in training,” he said. “I was deployed from February to October of last year.” But in the back of his mind, Hazard said, he was on the lookout for the next opportunity to join the summer series. After six months of waiting, he finally was able to join the club this year. Hazard started in the "big bike novice" class, and out of the 25 participants, he ended up taking first place in the overall category in the summer series.
High intensity competition “The high intensity and adrenaline are some of the factors why I wanted to join,” Hazard said. “It’s fun to show your competitive side.” His family is supportive of his extreme hobby and only asks him to be careful, he said. “My wife supports me and all the crazy things I attempt to do, while my family thinks it’s pretty neat that I am doing this,” he added. Hazard’s wife and 2-year-old son watched him compete in the 3rd Annual Amateur and Youth Supercross Challenge during this year’s Alaska State Fair.
Preparing for a race Hazard said that before a race starts, he analyzes the track. “I try to get a mental feel of how I will do at the race,” the Jonesboro, Georgia, native said. “At the start of the race, I try to visualize getting in front.” Initially, starting at fourth place allowed some of the faster riders to get in front of Hazard and caused him to flip on the first lap. “The bike has a lot of power, so you have to work your clutch and brakes, and have good throttle control so you don’t fall,” he said. With seven of eight laps to go, Hazard tried to recover. Focusing on his strong areas and taking one competitor at a time, he finished in 10th place.
Encourages others to try motocross Despite his finish, Hazard said he had a good time and that he advises others who are interested in joining the sport to try it out. “Even if you do not have a bike, just go out and watch people ride their bikes,” the eight-year Army veteran said. “Talk to other riders and ask about their experiences.” Although he is relocating to his next duty station early next year, Hazard said, he hopes to come back to participate in the summer series and state fair in the future.
Written Sept. 15, 2014 By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
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