Dustin Richards, who grew up in Guntersville, has done a lot of interesting things in his young life. Now he can add “motorcycle racing champion” to that list.
Dustin races in the amateur division on the CCS circuit based in Florida.
He went into their final race day behind in the points championship by 138 points. But he entered 12 races on that final day and “got a podium” or a top 3 finish in all 12. It was enough to give him the title.
“They were calling me ‘the iron man,’” he said. “I thought I was going to have a heat stroke because I was racing back-to-back-to-back.”
He won the Amateur GTU, Middleweight Supersport and Middleweight Superbike classes. He finished second in GT Lights,m Unlimited Supersport, Heavyweight Supersport, Unlimited Superbike Middleweight Superbike, Lightweight Superbike and Middleweight Grand Prix and third in the Lightweight Grandprix and Moto 3 races.
He credits his team, Hurricane Racing, for making it happen.
He works for a company, TBR Rentals, that provides sportbikes for racers. TBR stands for "Track Bike Rental."
“You can rent a bike from us, show up at the speedway with your gear and race,” he said. TBR will even take care of tuning the bike between races, fueling, tire pressure, etc.
"We build and ship bikes all over the East Coast," Dustin said.
Dustin brought home the overall championship. The CCS races at Miami-Homestead, Palm Beach, Daytona, Barber Motorsports in Birmingham, Road Atlanta and other tracks up and down the East Coast. He has raced as far away as New Jersey.
“I was always told, ‘You can’t do it,’” Dustin said. “But if you want it bad enough, you can do it.”
The motorcycle racing season is over now, but will resume Feb. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami. Dustin will be coming home over the Christmas holidays. His mom, Joanna Kirkland, now lives in Gadsden with his grandmother Joann Stapleton. Dustin will visit some in Guntersville while he's up.
Dustin is 38 now and he’s always been something of a daredevil.
The first time he appeared in The Advertiser-Gleam was when he was in high school and worked as a lifeguard at the Guntersville Rec Center.
He swam the length of the Warrenton Causeway, some 2-miles, just to show his fellow lifeguards he could do it. For safety's sake, he had his lifeguard float attached with a rope if he needed it, but he never checked up on the swim.
Several years later, he worked with a company that flew helicopters and filmed and photographed boat races. He brought helicopters to Guntersville several times for stopovers while traveling with that company. Dustin was training to be a helicopter pilot himself.
In 2015, Dustin befriended Sergey Ananov, a Russian pilot trying to become the first man to circle the globe in a 2-seater helicopter. Dustin got Sergey to stop in Guntersville, where he made a bunch of new friends in the local aviation community.
Sergey ended up crashing his chopper on an ice floe in the Arctic, leading many here to fear the worst. But he survived and was rescued. He would never have stopped in Guntersville if Dustin had not invited him.