Antonie Richards turned what is a popular form of transportation in his home country of Bermuda into a dream job of being a motorcycle racer.
During Daytona 200 Week, the 22-year-old Richards will make his AMA Pro Racing debut at the "World Center of Racing" in the AMA Pro SuperSport doubleheader next Thursday and Friday.
This weekend, the native of Devonshire, Bermuda is using the Championship Cup Series and American SportBike Racing Association events to get more track time on Daytona’s storied road course.
"It just takes laps really," said Richards, who is riding a Suzuki for Celtic Racing. "It’s so unique and so fast. You really have to get out there and just get used to the speed and the draft because drafting here is bigger than it is anywhere else that I’ve been to.
"Just the prestige of the track makes it very exciting to be here and get out there on the legendary Daytona International Speedway. People point that out back home in Bermuda. They’re like ‘Wow you’re going to be on the NASCAR track.’ They don’t believe that we actually ride motorcycles here. They didn’t know that until I tell people I’m going to be here."
After catching the itch to race motorcycles in 2007, Richards first started turning laps on a small quarter-mile track in Bermuda. For the past two years, he has been racing the CCS and WERA circuits in Florida as he continued to learn the ins and outs of motorcycle racing with the ultimate goal of reaching the AMA level.
"When we turn 16, we don’t get cars, we get a scooter or motorcycle," Richards said. "That’s where I started — riding in the street. I decided I loved racing as a sport. I always watched it on TV. I used to watch all the AMA races, Moto GP, World Superbike and all that stuff. I was a huge fan.
"I decided that I’m pretty good at riding on the street, I’m going to buy myself a 600. I bought myself a Yamaha."
When Richards climbs aboard his motorcycle for next week’s SuperSport events, he’ll have plenty of family and friends watching from afar back in Bermuda.
"I’m going to have a lot of people support this and watch me back home, family and friends of course," Richards said. "I’ll be the first Bermudian to race in the AMA class at Daytona so there will be people back home tuned in to SPEED to watch the race."
The American Sportbike Racing Association and Championship Cup Series activities wrapped up on Sunday. Next up on the road racing schedule at DIS will be AHRMA, which will stage vintage motorcycle racing on Monday and Tuesday.
For tickets to all the Daytona 200 Week events, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Sunday’s CCS/ASRA results
Expert Middleweight Grand Prix: 1. Fernando Amantini, Kawasaki 600; Amateur Middleweight Grand Prix: 1. Justin Drake, Kawasaki 600; Extra Ultra Light Superbike: 1. Joe Cotterino, Suzuki 600; Amateur Ultra Light Superbike: 1. Steve Grujic, Suzuki 650; 125 Grand Prix: 1. Scott Coccoli, Honda 125; Expert Heavyweight SuperSport: 1. Geoff May, Suzuki 600; Amateur Heavyweight SuperSport: 1. Eric Stump, Honda 600; Expert Lightweight SuperSport: Eric Helmbach, Suzuki 650; Pirelli Diablo Challenge: 1. Nate Kern, BMW 1200; Michelin Pro SuperStock: Shane Marbonne, Suzuki 1000; Michelin Pro SuperBike: 1. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki 600; Michelin Pro ThunderBike: Joel Spalding, Ducati 749; Michelin Pro Sportbike: 1. Russell Wikle, Suzuki 600; Expert Unlimited GP: 1. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki 1000; Amateur Unlimited GP: 1. Eric Stump, Honda 600; Expert Lightweight Grand Prix: 1. Robert Buroker Jr., Ducati 1000; Amateur Lightweight Grand Prix: 1. Katharin Zimpel, BIM 1000; Expert Heavyweight Superbike: Danny Eslick, Suzuki 600; Amateur Heavyweight Superbike: Eric Stump; Expert Lightweight Superbike: 1. Robert Buroker Jr., Ducati 1000; Amateur Lightweight Superbike: 1. Chris Dodd, Ducati 1000; Expert Middleweight Superbike: 1. JD Reach, Yamaha 600; Amateur Middleweight Superbike: 1. Sean Cassell, Honda 600; Expert Unlimited Superbike: 1. Christopher Clark, Yamaha 1000; Amateur Unlimited Superbike: 1. Matt Brown, Kawasaki 1000; Expert SuperTwins: 1. Eric Wood, Ducati 1000; Amateur SuperTwins: 1. Waldis Veras, Ducati 749; Expert Lightweight F40: 1. Jon Glaefke, PIE 1100; Amateur Lightweight F40: 1. Steve Johnston, Ducati 1000; Expert Formula 40: 1. Anthony Fania, Suzuki 750; Amateur Formula 40: 1. Chuck Morris, Suzuki 750