Like so many of us ‘over-the-hill’ guys, I played with T-Jets and Tyco Pros back in the early 70s. Florida was not a hot-bed for HO racing as it was in other parts of the nation. And as many of you have found, you now have the time and money to pursue the hobby like you couldn’t when you were a kid.
I blame my son J.W. and Ron Bernstein ( www.riggenho.com ) for getting me buried in this hobby. Many years back, my then 9 year old son brought me a small box containing an Aurora T-Jet and three Tyco Pro cars. These items were left in the ‘rafters’ of my basement by my late father-in-law when he owned the house. I often did father/son projects with J.W. so this was seemingly just another thing to tinker with and fix. Within a few weeks I had a Tomy track ordered.
In the process of tracking down parts for the Tyco Pro, I meet Ron. Somewhere in our early conversations he asked me if I’d “ever run a Riggen?” “A what?!?” I said. Needless to say within about a month I had a Riggen.
Within a year I probably obtained about 100 HO slot cars from T-jets to BSRT Poly Mods. It was a great learning experience. All the while I racked up so much track time the Tomy track literally was falling apart. Joints had to be glued and rails soldered together.
I then ordered a 2-lane Brad Bowman track for my basement ‘man cave’. It turned out to be some of the best entertainment money I’ve spent. It is really enjoyable for T-Jets to ceramic Super Stocks. It is also an invaluable now for testing and tuning production cars. And, somewhere in 2007 we added on a back room and installed a 4 x 16 Wizzard Scorpion for hi-magnet racing.
Much racing experience was gained with the Florida HO Racing Association. The RiggenHO Limited Editions ( www.riggenho.com/flynnmain.htm ) with Ron Bernstein sharpened my building and problem-solving skills. I built an eBay business, was a BSRT/Scale Auto parts dealer, and launching a website.
In the summer of 2013, I approached California resident Dan Cronin about partnering up to design, build and market a new HO high performance slot car chassis. Dan though I was crazy and perhaps the idea was to a degree. But Dan’s passion for the hobby and motivating drove us forward. After 18 months of engineering and vetting suppliers, in December of 2014 we had product in hand.
Dan’s vision for marketing, product development skills, natural energy and optimism, coupled with youth will allow him success running the Viper Scale Racing brand. Although I provided development support for the Viper V1 chassis project, I continue to focus on running Harden Creek Slot Cars LLC.
Dan and I both continue to chase ideas and develop new parts. One idea I zeroed in on in late 2015 was the purchase of Life Like HO Racing from Walthers in Milwaukee. There are numerous supply and retail chain issues that I have been working to resolve since the purchase. Since the manufacturing is done in China, information flow and decision making can be at a snail’s pace. Nothing is easy.
My desire and goal is to be able to re-launch the Life Like HO Racing brand with a new image and perhaps some new technology. I have more ideas than I have resources to execute them. Talk is cheap, action costs more… .