Interim drag racing boss says sport will continue to move forward

Acting President of the Antigua and Barbuda Drag Racing Association (ABDRA), Denelle Richards (second from right), during a meeting with then president of the association, Lisa Abraham (second from left), sports minister EP Chet Greene (left), and former president Yousef Michael (right) in 2015
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By Neto Baptiste

Acting President of the Antigua and Barbuda Drag Racing Association (ABDRA), Denelle Richards, said the sport will continue to move forward in spite of the recent and sudden resignation of former head Gene Mason.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo sports show just days after Mason’s departure, Richards outlined both short and long-term plans the body’s executive continues to pursue as they seek to improve the experiences of both spectators and participants at the North Sound Raceway.

“Some of the things we were looking to do was basically construct our own bathroom facilities rather than keep renting the ‘porta potties’ and so forth which would be more of our low-hanging fruit.

“We are also looking to erect some stands and, as you may know, most of ABDRA projects have been in-house financing in terms of raising funds through our different revenue streams so those were basically some of our low-hanging fruits basically to champion this year. However, Covid struck so we had to readjust and look at how we do things going forward,” he said.

“One of our biggest undertakings was to eventually put some barricades down the racetrack but that we will be doing in collaboration with government. We’ve gotten the minister’s support on that project,” he added.

Elected as a vice president during the association’s last election over a year ago, Richards is confident the team is still a motivated one and equipped to get the job done.

“At the end of the day you are not going to be able to please everyone but I think the general membership knows where we are trying to go. I think one of the issues is that everybody is eager to get back to testing their cars but Covid has changed that.

“We have now been granted the permission to use the facility once again so I think the membership is all excited to get back out there,” he said.

“We are going to be having an executive meeting to basically revamp our basic guidelines and also our plans for the rest of the year in terms of how many days we are going to be opened for testing and how we are basically having the facility run within the different protocols set in place through the Ministry of Health and the police,” he added. 

Richards, who said he was thrust into the role following Gene’s “surprise” resignation, has however embraced the role, reminding he is no stooge when it comes to auto sports. 

“I have actually been on the association since the inception of the North Sound Raceway when I was the treasurer for Lisa Abraham [former president] and I also served with Yousef Michael [former president].

“I took a break for some academics and then came back to be the VP for Gene Mason and I am from Antigua Streetz [online automotive group], I am part owner of Antigua Streetz also Little Tokyo [car show] so in regards to the industry, I am pretty familiar with it,” he said. Mason tendered his resignation last week, citing personal reasons. 

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