My first introduction to a 2-stroke engine was back in 1971 at the age of 8 years old. Back then, there was a popular company named “Cox” who made little nitro powered cars, planes, and this cool “Cox Trike”. The cars and Trike were not very fast, and that was good because you had to run after them as they had no control, (just start them, and let them go).
By 1974 our family moved to a rural area, and just in time. A new sport had kicked off in the USA back in 1963, and all the kids in the rural area’s had little dirt bikes to get around on. So of course, I fell in love with dirt bikes and riding/racing. Not making much money ($1.00/hr. at my Dad’s store from 74 to 1980), I could not afford the shop fees to work on my bikes, so I had to learn how to fix them for myself.
Later starting in 1984, I started racing Motocross a bit, and started modifying the engines. This is when my Dad started telling me, “You are wasting all your money of Motorcycles and racing.”, and I found it hard to argue with that fact. A friend of mine was into modifying the engines, and had all the old information to do so, and that is how I started doing it. It was fun. I built mine and a few friends engines, but never thought of it as a business with the likes of Mitch Payton (Pro Circuit), and Donny Emler, (FMF) out there.
At that time, I had graduated HS a couple of years back, and decided I better learn how to do something. I liked metal shop in HS, (now gone, which is bad), and I was very impressed by how the manufacturers of dirt bikes were making a better bike every year in those earlier years. I loved that development, and was amazed how perfect the parts were, so I got into manufacturing.
I flipped burgers through my first degree at a local college, and got my first machine shop job making $4.00/hr in 1987. The outsourcing to communist China was picking up steam, and I was not making the money I thought I would be, so I packed up and moved to a city. There I worked for at least 20 different machine shops, (gaining skill at each one), and earned 2 more degrees in manufacturing, (Bachelors of Science for manufacturing engineering and quality engineering), but I was still not making the money I thought I would, or that I could ever find a entry level job in manufacturing engineering.
Then one day, which I was working at a die shop around 2001, a fellow employee showed up with a scooter with a 2-stroke engine on it, and I bought it to tinker with the 2-stroke engine again. It was a cute little thing, a “Meyer Boxer” with a 40cc environmental engine and full suspension. I could not believe somebody was making an exhaust pipe for it, and I bought one. The pipe was terrible, and the manifold was it’s number 1 problem, (next to being poorly tuned). So I made my own manifold for it, and an extra one. It worked. The engine ran night and day better.
I then found out that kids raced these scooters, (Go-Peds mostly), and there were quite a few aftermarket guys selling stuff for them. I e-mailed 5 of them, (all in Southern CA), about my new manifold, and only Mark Hull, from Team Gonads, answered my e-mail. He told me a new engine just came out (the Zenoah G230/260 RC engines), about a year or so earlier, and were much more popular engine than the environmental 40cc engine I had built the manifold for. So he gave me dimensions over the phone, and I redesigned the manifold (twice), and started selling them through Mark.
I then wanted to come out with a carbon fiber silencer for the loud pipes, and needed some money to do so. I told kids on line (“Go-Ped Nation“ site, now gone) that I wanted to port 10 engines for a Christmas special. The work came trickling in over 2 or 3 months, and I ended up spending the money on bills. But the kids loved the engines and expressed so on line. It was after that, when I made a deal with Dave @ DDM to modify engines for him to sell back in 2003, and we have been doing great business ever since. I was still working in machine shops, and the ISA scooter racing series had gone out of business, (where we had won several Championships in it’s last 3 years that we raced; Trevor Simpson and I killed everybody else with his new reed cases), just before the HPI Baja buggy came out. That is when I got very busy, and was able to quit my machine shop jobs, and do this full time.
My Dad had passed away, and never saw my little business take off, so he never found out that a hobby can become a business, as mine did. Since people started buying my engines for RC cars, I have expanded with almost every Zenoah RC engine built, and for every discipline the engines are used for. Over the years, my racers have won major and smaller championships all over the world in every thing we race with the Zenoah RC engines. From Go-Peds, to European EFRA racing, from everything on land to the PUM boat racing engines.
In 2016, I moved back to my old rural area to a much nicer shop than I had in the city, and it’s nice to again see the wilderness outside of my garage door. I have always been a quality freak, and do all the work myself. All porting is done with a CNC mill to exacting specs and hand finished with outstanding attention to detail. You can’t go wrong with correct ESP engines for your racing needs. You get very competitive performance with the best in the world, top quality that is almost impossible to beat, a price that beats the competition on and off the track, and 7 day a week telephone service for any questions you may have.
Special thanks to Mark Hull from Team GoNads, and Dave/Dale/Ryan Ricks and the rest of the crew at DDM. They helped me discover,—-“Freedom“, and how awesome it is.
Thanks to all my customers over the years, also. It has been as much of a pleasure doing good business with you as it has with DDM.
And thanks to all the people who I have not done business with yet, for considering my stuff. I appreciate it.