About Us About us - a History, or basically- "Who you are dealing with".
Hi, my name is Jon Fitzpatrick and I started FTZ Performance in 1985.
At a very early age I was blessed (or possibly cursed?) with a talent of being able to relate to mechanical things, and a severe desire to know "how things work". An interest in engines was a natural progression and I have devoted most of my life to getting the most performance from them. Starting at age 13, I enjoyed the reputation of having the fastest/coolest bike on the block. Boy did that ever start something! Karts, minibikes, dirt bikes, custom street bikes, on and on. I started working as a motorcycle mechanic at age 16, and became a service manager at a local dealership by 19. I actually spent one winter in El Cajon, California working for Bonneville legend Don Vesco (see http://www.vft.org/Memorial/Vesco.html), making custom two-stroke exhausts for both dirt track, desert and road race bikes. (A skill I had taught myself as a teenager).
I started racing motorcycles at 17, motocross at first, but soon developed a love for motorcycle Flat Track racing
that I strove to do it well into my 30's. I first got my AMA Pro License in 1977, and found out quickly that racing
in professional level competition required serious work and skills….and major funds. The effort I enjoyed, the
funds I could not muster working as a motorcycle mechanic, so I left the motorcycle business for nine years finding
work as a welder/fitter within both the Pipefitter and Boilermaker trades. I certified in structural, petro-chemical,
code pressure vessel and also nuclear code welding. This experience at several dozen jobs gave me a wide prospective
of industry- and also how things are done in factories and plants. During this time I continued to race, and do
engine work for other racers and the local bike shops doing specialty work outside their expertise. I wasn't the
fastest guy around by any means, but I was proud to race with a great bunch of guys that respected each other,
raced hard but clean and with honor. I will always consider myself a dirt track racer.
I started the business as FTZ Performance Research in 1985- out of my love for racing, and a growing disgust with the B.S. and travel affiliated with the construction trades. I also became a partner in ownership of a local racetrack, Motorsports Raceway. Our first motor that won a "National Championship" was actually my buddy Mike "Zip" Craft's 350 Odyssey. Our first Pro ATV National win was at Ashtabula in 1985 in the huge 200x class with another local rider Mark Foeste in 1987. The first big Quad win came in 1988 when Jackie Meadows rode my KXF 250 Kawasaki to a big Pro 4-Stroke class win at the super fast racetrack at Boyd, Texas- which surprised a lot of people, hurt some Californian's feelings (got us protested) but got us a lot of magazine coverage. The next year it was the 2-Strokes turn with Mark Lee dominating the 250 Pro class at Boyd, and several top finishes that year, against the top pros of the day- again with similar hurt feelings and more teardowns- and publicity.
Our first Micro Sprint Nationals win came in 1989, when Paul Esworthy lead all 100 laps of the NMMA Nationals in Garden City, Kansas and our Jimmy Brewer finished 2nd. I came to really like building the Micro's motors, as they tended to use all the available power, and really put the engine to a test. A microsprint motor needs peak power, torque, over-rev, and most of all toughness (reliability), a very tall order! Engines built by the top name MX, ATV, and road race builders never saw much success in microsprint racing. Our racetrack was basically wiped out in the great Mississippi river flood of 1993, just after and we just revamped it to run Micro's as well as the bikes and ATV's as before. We elected to let it fold. This allowed me to devote all my efforts towards FTZ products and FTZ customers.
We then became the dominant force in 125 & 250 microsprint racing throughout much of the country for many years.
When the 600's came along most of the top drivers/owners moved up, and it was back to four-strokes again. Success
came right from the start, and our motors quickly rose to the top, with Rick King winning the NMMA Championship
the very next year-1995 and our motors were in the National Champion's cars for the the next eight years. Many
top drivers and chassis shops used our tried & true Honda F2/F3 motor packages to win thousands of races and
championships including eight of the nine consecutive NMMA National Championships. Sprint car legends Steve Kinser
and Sammy Swindell both purchased engines from us for their son's Kraig and Kevin, when they first started in 600
microsprints. In 2004 our focus switched from Honda F3's to the Yamaha R6's. The focus also has switched from NMMA
sanctioned racing to non-sanctioned or "outlaw" racing. This worked out nicely as the higher revving
motors are needed on these bigger race tracks. A hot motor can give even an inexperienced driver a shot at racing
at the front of the pack and can quickly build a reputation for a young driver trying to make a name.
Though out all the years we have maintained a very loyal ATV clientele, both 2-Strokes and 4-Strokes, mostly made
up of the more serious racers involved with drag racing, dune racing, flattrack/TT racing and ice racing, or anywhere
where big horsepower is appreciated. Guys that have been around know you won't get the good stuff from these companies
that splash ads all over the magazines. Some customers have had 8 or 10 different engines built over the years,
and several are now having us build their son's motors as well. Such was the case with the Floyd & Darin Ogden.
The tradition of providing the fastest engine mods anywhere still continues, with big wins across many different classes of competition, and severely fast drag racers and duners. Other top engine builders take advantage of our expertise and have us do cylinder heads for them.
My entire crew and myself are dedicated to providing the best in performance mods and products for the dollar. I know it is hard to sort through all the advertising B.S. that it seems is everywhere these days, and everybody claims to be an expert-(especially these guys online today). I will make you this promise: We will do the work right, and do it better than the competition, or we won't do it at all- and it will be done at a fair price. If you want less than the best, there are plenty of other race shops with less talent and experience. If you want to get the most out of the money you spend on your machine- please give us a call and we
Good Luck & have fun,
About us - a History, or basically- "Who you are dealing with".
Fast Turnaround! We can also arrange easy freight pickup for your engine to be delivered here. Please call with any questions.
FTZ Performance, Inc. 573-334-5439 9:00 to 6:00 central time
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