Senior Press Pass Correspondent
University of the West Indies
The image of sharp edges, the rumble of the engine and the amazing hair whip you do after you have parked your motorcycle is embedded in the mind of most young thrill seekers. Many young men have dreamt of it, but very few made it a reality. Motorcycle riding is beginning to boom in Trinidad and Tobago and as such, gieMAGAZINE decided to interview Anthony Noriega, also known as 'Horsey D Entertainer', a veteran in the field of motorcycle riding. "Many ride for different reasons, whether it be for stunts, motocross, circuit racing or simply for casual riding," explained Noriega. "Motorbike riding is becoming quite popular among the youth in Trinidad and Tobago, with men in their 20s sharing a deep interest in the sport." This daring man has been in the field of motorcycle racing for 26 years and continues to guide younger students. Many youngsters look to Noriega for his tremendous skills despite his age and he is known nationally as an entertaining rider among many of the clubs, including 'Hood Riders', 'Rock Star Nation' and 'Chaotic Whompers'.
Bikers are accustomed to practicing at the Larry Gomes stadium in Arima, however, as Noriega admitted that there is a need for more professional facilities. "In order for this sport to grow, we really need some proper racing facilities. If provided, we could use the arena to practice all forms of motorcycle riding." You would be surprised to know that stunt riding takes only a few months to perfect with constant practice. On the other hand, circuit and motocross training can take up to a year to master the necessary techniques. It is not very difficult to start your career as a biker in Trinidad and Tobago. If you have already passed your regulations, the only test you would have to undergo in order to get your motorcycle license would be the driving test. Once that has been passed, a license is granted. While a license does state that you are certified to 'drive' a motorcycle there are extreme dangers involved in motorcycle racing. All precautions must be taken and if they are ignored they can result in serious injury or possibly a very gruesome death.
"There are dangers in everything, but once all safety precautions are observed you can become a safe and skilled biker," Noriega said. Steve Woods, Noriega's partner, offers motorcycle riding lessons. Apart from teaching the basics, he also gives defensive tips for drivers on the roads of Trinidad and Tobago. Like with any sport, motorcycling comes with a high cost. A motorcycle can run up to $55,000 to $65,000. With respect to brands, Noriega prefers Honda because it is more balanced and is lightweight. When it comes to selecting a motorcycle for yourself, it all depends on your preference. As Noreiga pointed out, "Some go for the look, the power or the handling. It is really based on what you want in your motorcycle."And ladies, there is no need to feel left out. Noriega assured gieMAGAZINE that there are a lot of women who ride motorcycles. While he did admit the ladies ride casually, he can easily account for a dozen of them on Trinidad and Tobago's roads. They may be hard to spot in their protective gear, but they are out there. Noriega continues to mentor young students about the joys, dangers and safety measures with respect to motorcycle riding. It is not a sport for the weak of heart, but for people who are determined, skilled and meticulous when it comes to protection measures. So while we may see it as a "mad" sport, it is one that requires discipline and hard work... do you think you can handle the thrill?
PHOTOS BY BRIAN AMOW