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Trio of area racers set to compete in MotoAmerica Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta
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Buford’s Daniel Paine races during an event at Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale. (Photo courtesy of Raul Jerez) - photo by For The Times

WHERE: Road Atlanta in Braselton

WHEN: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., April 13-15


Friday-Sunday $80 (excluding fees)

Saturday-Sunday $70 (excluding fees)

Friday $20 (excluding fees)

Saturday $50 (excluding fees)

Sunday $50 (excluding fees)

For more information visit Road Atlanta’s website

For Robert Murillo, racing on a sportsbike comes with immeasurable excitement while also being extremely dangerous. 

It’s a balance of risks and rewards the Gainesville native is willing to wager as he finds complete solace and joy in racing in excess of 200 miles per hour in the appropriate venue of a controlled course. 

Starting today, Murillo will make his professional debut in the Supersport 600cc classification of the MotoAmerica Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta — one of the world’s best road courses — in Braseltion. Murillo will be competing with Buford’s Daniel Paine, his Hyper Nine Racing teammate.

“I’m really excited,” Murillo said. “A lot of hard work goes into this. I have family and friends coming out to support me.”

This marks the first time the MotoAmerica Series has opened its season at Road Atlanta, according to the circuit’s website. The 10-race season schedule also includes races in Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and twice in California, before wrapping up the season Sept. 21-23 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Also racing will be Chris Calvert, a WERA Triple Crown Series challenger, from Oakwood.

For Murillo, a thrill-seeker on two wheels for five years, he said there’s no place he’d rather compete than at Road Atlanta. 

“I get to race with some of the best,” Murillo said.

Murillo wants to crack the top 20 this weekend.

“It would be an accomplishment to finish and to compete with some of the best in the nation,” Murillo said.

All three drivers have put in the hours of learning to drive safely and successfully to get to where they are individually. 

Injuries come with the territory of racing at high speeds, often with tight turns as part of the course. But battle scars that would deter most people from taking on the challenge in the first place have not kept any of them away from the sport.

“I guess the adrenaline. I don’t know,” Calvert said. “In October, I broke my left shoulder and still cannot even lift it up past my head, but (I) still get on that motorcycle every chance I get.”

Calvert, a 51-year-old grandfather, started to take part of the sport after his son decided to quit.

“Once he had a child, he said the risk of it was too great, with the responsibility of a wife and a child and all that,” Calvert said. “He did not want to take the risk of getting hurt.”

Calvert started using his son’s motorcycles and began his career two years ago. His passion eventually led him to land a second-place finish in an event at Daytona International Speedway.

“It’s amazing for someone my age running against young kids, I felt like I was on top of the world,” Calvert said.

For Paine, it all started on an open track day at Jennings GP in Jennings, Florida. Paine always wanted to get on a road course and go 280 mph. 

“I was lucky enough to go to a race track and do a track day, and after that I was hooked,” Paine said. “I loved it the first time I got on. It felt natural, I felt comfortable. I felt like I belonged and I knew that this is what I wanted to do.”

Paine’s love for the sport led him to win a 600 Superstock National Championship in 2017 at the WERA Grand National Finals at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama.

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