Royce hopes to make lawnmower racing big here

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Richard Royce is no stranger to cars and motors. In one way or another he has been involved with racing cars, go-carts and stock cars. His latest adventure into the world of racing is the newest entry for lovers of the racetrack.

“I have always been into the world of racing,” Royce said. “My dad was always messing with motors and fixing up old cars and I would hang around with him in the shop. It just was a part of my life.”

Lawnmower racing is not new and if Royce has his way, it will become a new sport in Brewton. He is trying to get others who are interested in the sport to band together to make a new race track in this area.

“There are a lot of people who are interested in racing, but it can get to be very expensive,” Royce said. “That’s the reason you see all those advertisements on stock cars. There are lots of people who would do it if they could afford it. Racing with specially made cars using lawnmower motors is the least expensive way to get involved with race cars. For an investment of around $800, a person can get started.”

With this in mind, Royce was approached by some people in Andalusia to see if there was enough interest to bring it to Escambia County. Some of his fellow drivers will meet on April 20, at David’s Catfish House in Brewton at 11:30 a.m. Different classes of cars will be discussed in the hopes of getting the sport going in Escambia County.

If there is enough interest, there is a site already being discussed, but they need participants.

For those who are interested, contact Richard Royce at 236-3889.

Royce was born at Craig Air Force Base in Selma while his father was stationed there. Being the son of a military man, he traveled a lot, spending a lot of time in Europe, but he said he has always considered East Brewton as home.

He graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1969 and still has his 1964 Volkswagen dune buggy he drove at the time, and it still works.

“When I graduated from high school, I needed a job,” he said. “I couldn’t find one so I joined the CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act) to work in the forestry department making $2 an hour to fight fire and man the fire towers. Manpower was low and we had to take up the slack by doing all sorts of jobs. I had a close call when fire exploded over my head leaving me surrounded. I had to bend real low on my tractor and make a run for it. Today forestry has more to do with large lumber companies and back when I started, there were a lot more smaller landowners.”

When he retired from working in forestry, he soon found himself ready to go back to work. Around 2009 he was hired at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department. Ten years later he is still there as a Sergeant, and supervisor of the work release program.

Royce and his wife, Judy, live in Alco and have two children, Robin and Holly. They also have four grandchildren.

“Out of the four, we have one who is interested in getting involved with the lawnmower,” Royce said. “She follows me around the shop and asks a lot of questions. Who knows?”