Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Cyber engineer prepping for Heroes of Speed

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:16 AM

To win a Jamaica Race Driver Club Championship Title is not something that is likely to be on many persons’ bucket list; however, 26-year-old Davrice Richards, is determined to fulfil his dream and to establish his name among the ‘who’s who’ on the local racing circuit.

“It would be my ultimate bragging right,” he reasoned, “and it would make me feel more accomplished as a driver.”

Richards, who competed in drag racing at Vernamfield in Clarendon once and in circuit racing with Team Apex Racing at Dover Raceway in St Ann twice, is prepping the engine of his 1990 Turbo Starlet, a gift he received at age 19 from his parents.

His goal is to improve his second placement and two third-place finishes as well as his overall best time of 1:45:7 on the 1.4 mile racetrack in the Super Street category of the Heroes of Speed Meet at Dover, held last October.

Although facing sponsorship challenges, he remains resolute to compete in the upcoming Heroes of Speed at Dover, set for October. This is probably the last time he will compete in the Super Street category.

“I will be moving on to the Improve Production 1 and Modified Production 2 categories next year,” the former student of St Mary High School disclosed.

Driven to make this dream a reality, Richards recently acquired a race-prepped 1993 Toyota Starlet to compete in that race category. Furthermore, he spends an average of three hours on some days watching car-racing videos on YouTube. He also does research on new techniques in racing and explores updates in the automobile industry on improving efficiency, reliability, and the performance of cars.

“Sometimes I get up as early as 4 a.m. to watch videos, and when I get home after work, I watch more videos,” he related.

With an early passion for mechanics, and a cyber security engineer for The Jamaica National Group, Richards affinity for fast cars and race car driving started when he was a mere 10-year-old, attending the Highgate Primary and Junior High School in St Mary. He clearly recalls how it all started.

“I was visiting my uncle,who was watching Formula One racing along with another uncle and cousin. I joined them and became interested after that,” he shared.

From all indications, Richards was not quite like typical boys his age, who were then preoccupied with playing video games and getting to the next level in ‘Super Mario’ or ‘Dragon Ball Z’. He was totally absorbed in how things worked and often pulled things apart to understand their make-up, and he would then fix them back. His fascination with mechanics took on a new dimension with car engines as he tried to understand what it took to make them go faster.

His dad, Maurice Richards, has vivid recollections of how Davrice was engrossed in the engine of his Toyota Starlet motor car.

“He was always fascinated with cars. He would search the internet to learn how to change a car part. He is gifted, good with his hands, and at fixing things.”

Similarly, Richards’ mom, Flavia Richards, said that she was impressed with how talented he was in fixing things around the house while still in primary school.

“When he was 10 years old, he fixed the blender, and it worked after that. He would also fix flashlights, radios, and clocks. He loved cars and would watch car racing for hours on TV. When he was in grade seven, as a school project, he made a medicine chest which had a light and a fan to keep the contents cool. His teachers were amazed,” she revealed.

Richards credits his close friends, Kemar March and Nakia Reid, former race car drivers and certified auto mechanics, for their unwavering support in helping him keep his dream alive.

“They are God-sent. They stand by me through ‘thick and thin.’ They are always with me at race meets, and they share techniques as well as assist with any repairs to the car,” he related.

Optimistic about upcoming meets

Kemar, who is Richards’ team lead, is optimistic about a favourable outcome in the upcoming race meets.

“He has a very good chance to win. He is an excellent driver. He takes advice well, is always researching how to improve his driving and the performance of his car.”

Although he enjoys the adrenalin rush, while speeding and manoeuvring the 13 corners of the tracks, when it comes to the roadway, it is a different business.

“Road racing can be dangerous. It can put your life and that of others at risk. The road is an unpredictable arena. A dog, or someone, could rush out into the roadway, causing you to swerve and hit another vehicle or a bystander. Racing should only be pursued in a controlled environment in which you can enjoy doing so while being safe,” he stressed.

Racing is not Richards’ only passion. He has a healthy appetite for reading, particularly James Patterson’s mystery novels. A Christian, he is the youth president for the Quaker Hill Church in St Mary.

“Everyone has something that is his or her passion. Some persons go to parties, some persons go to the stadium to watch football. My passion is racing,” he declared.