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TOOELE COUNTY — People who live near the Miller Motor Sports Park in Tooele County are used to hearing fast cars zooming on the track. This week they heard the screech of motorcycles as law officers gathered for training.
Trooper Josh Workman has been with the Utah Highway Patrol for four years, just not on one of its motorcycles.
"This is my first time on a Harley," he said Thursday at Miller Sports Park.
It was the same for most of the other officers participating in the first week of UHP's motorcycle training class for 2012.
Sgt. Rudy Taylor of the UHP Motor Squad said, "We put them in a controlled, confined area. This is the place to learn and tip them over because once you're out on the road, you have a lot less control."
There is plenty of tipping. "We prefer they not be tipped over, but then again that's an unrealistic expectation for beginners," Taylor said.
Trooper Workman was hoping to keep his bike upright at all times. His father was on the UHP Motorcycle Squad. But something like this takes practice.
"The first day, I was definitely worried about dropping it," Workman said. "Then after the 10th or 15th times, you just get used to it." A camera on Workman's motorcycle shows that swerving, and circling through cones can be challenging.
"(The motorcycles) are close to a thousand pounds, so you're dropping it several times a day and you've got to pick it back up. You get sore after a couple of days," Workman said.
Every new police motorcycle driver goes through the training, which is intended to keep them safe.
"When you're out there on the highways at those speeds, one mistake can be fatal," Workman said.
The training class continues for two weeks.