Episode 190 brings us Joe Thompson, buggy-builder extraordinaire.


Buggy builder, Joe Thompson lays it all out in Episode 190; self-taught welder and bike enthusiast, Joe brings his varied background to the winningest drivers. Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


4:08 – I would think to myself, there’s a bada**, I want to be like that!

13:19 – even when I was a BMX grom, I was glued to ESPN watching the Baja 1000

21:24 – “Are you any good?” Well, I’ve been told I have a good hand.

29:18 – We’d always park the buggy on the street with a giant welding sign and an arrow pointing to the shop; I got lots of work from that.

39:35 – I know what’s wrong, I can fix it, Marcos totally blew me off

53:58 – the Gomez brothers and I are partners in winning, that’s what we’re partners in

58:50 – I see the fully independent cars being the future.

1:16:31 – The uniqueness of our sport is incredible

Special thanks to 4low Magazine and Maxxis Tires for support and sponsorship of this podcast.


[00:01:40.260] – Big Rich Klein

On this episode of Conversations with Big Rich, I’ll be talking with Joe Thompson. Joe is a fabrication business owner, successful K-O-H, Ultra Four race car designer, and an innovator in four-wheel drive race car design. Joe, it’s great talking to you. I’m really looking forward to this interview and finding out more about you.

[00:02:04.050] – Joe Thompson

Well, it’s good to be here. I feel honored, to be honest with you.

[00:02:08.090] – Big Rich Klein

Well, I appreciate it. It’s just a regular guy interviewing a regular guy. How’s that?

[00:02:14.270] – Joe Thompson

Yep, that’s pretty much what it is.

[00:02:16.150] – Big Rich Klein

So let’s talk about the early days. We’ll start off at the very beginning. Where were you born and raised?

[00:02:23.780] – Joe Thompson

So I was born in the Bay Area, raised in Mountain View, right in the Peninsula there. Later on in life, I moved to Grass Valley. That was around my 20s. But for the most part, born and raised in the Bay Area, I spent a lot of time there. Obviously, I was a BMX mountain bike kid, and I was consumed by that in my early days. Well, for me, for me with BMX, honestly, I think BMX is what instilled the competitive side of me, pretty hardcore because a cool story. But where I grew up in Mountainview, at the time I did, basically I was in Mountainview as a teenager, 85, 86, 87.

[00:03:11.420] – Big Rich Klein


[00:03:12.330] – Joe Thompson

And that was an absolute that was the heyday of BMX, especially in the Bay Area.

[00:03:20.280] – Speaker 3


[00:03:21.760] – Joe Thompson

We had three major tracks in our area, but we also had a ton of champions. We’re talking the best of the best. We had, I think, there was four or five Hall of Famers that came out of that area at that time. We’re talking the best pros, whatnot. So right when I started racing, I was in bicycles anyway. I was surrounded by literally the who’s who of BMX back in that time. I’m on the gate with them, and they’re around me. I had one guy in particular that would always ride by my house. He wasn’t my friend. He was a top racer.

[00:04:06.990] – Speaker 3

Dude and.

[00:04:08.760] – Joe Thompson

Super well respected. He was a factory rider. He was traveling the country. He would ride by my house every single day. I remember when he would ride by, I would think to myself, There’s a badass. I wanted to be like that. I think at an early age I had that… I was competitive in school. I did Pop Warner and stuff like that. I’ve always been competitive. But it wasn’t until bikes were I was able to see people around me achieving things. You know what I’m saying? They were pushing hard, training hard, and actually achieving goals, championships and goals and number one plates and this, that and the other. That was hammered in early on. Then I started riding with those guys. Then you realize what it takes to actually win the preparation and training and that stuff, which applies directly to car racing. There really is no difference. It’s a different venue. Right. It was a major part of my life growing up there. It was pretty awesome. I actually go there a lot to visit. Even to this day, I regularly travel down to the Bay Area to go ride my mountain bike or whatever.

[00:05:26.380] – Joe Thompson

It’s like a homecoming of sorts. So I go back there quite often to ride still. READ MORE

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