"I've raced bikes since I was twelve years old. Starting with road and Cyclocross where I was a member of the German national team. In 1992 I discovered the mountain bike & a year later I won the first ever Downhill World Cup. It was a great time, I had sponsors that paid me enough so that I could quit my job as a toolmaker & in the next eight years won four World Cup races, finished 2nd in the World Cup in 94' & 97', won 3 German Championships, placed 2nd in the European championship 96', won a gold in the 98' winter X-Games and the Norba National Championship in 99'.
My first sponsor was Manitou, the bike didn't really work at all but it was super light so I could accelerate faster then most other racers. The second sponsor was Barracuda in 95' and it was a complete disaster. The bike was the biggest hunk of sh….ever... The third sponsor was Schwinn. Mert Lawwill was working with them and designed the straight six & straight eight which to this point were still my favorite bikes. In 97' I signed a contract with IMG, one of the biggest sports agencies in the US. They promised me out of industry sponsors and they would negotiate all my contracts for something like a 10% cut. They screwed up the deal with Schwinn and lost me my ride on a bike that I was able to win on. 1999 & 2000 on team Giant were the last two years of my professional racing career. The bike was pretty average. But I had a bigger problem with the strict rules of the team. I had no control over my schedule or what races to concentrate on. I had to do them all. My wife Stacy was not allowed to travel with me in Europe. Basically I had no fun and became very depressed, which also meant I didn't produce any results. That made me lose my ride and I was unable to get any kind of sponsorship the following year that would pay me enough to make a living. I sold all my DH bikes. That was the end.
I started working at my friends construction company for a while before I started my own remodeling business. Some of the local friends I had were really big into hare scramble races (motorcycles) so I got into it too. Joe Concra who I knew from playing ice hockey needed some help doing plasterwork on a friend's house. I am always interested in learning a new skill so agreed to pitch in. I loved it so much I started "Old World Plaster" one year later. With my desire to succeed and Joe's knowledge of plaster it is a good combination and we have done very well. In 2006 I got a phone call from the guy that owned the house were I first plastered, Tom. He is a very successful cameraman and he was shooting an Amex commercial and needed a mountain biker to jump of some rocks. He remembered Joe telling him about my former bike racing days and figured I was a good match for the job. (take that IMG) Only one problem, I didn't have a bike that would work for something like that. Thank god for Juli Furtado a racing legend herself who is working at Santa Cruz bicycles. I called her up and she sent me a bike to use the next day. When the bike arrived I took it on a little spin and was amazed on the changes in suspension in the last six year. It felt like my old schwinn but better and lighter. After the commercial was done I called Juli up again and told her "I have to get a downhill bike". The only problem was I had to pay for it. So thanks to the commercial I could afford to spend the money and Santa Cruz gave me a really good deal on it. I decided to go the World Cup in Canada without any training and finished 39th. Well I am thinking about a comeback but it will be under my terms. Never will I race for a team again, I am going to be my own team. I don't have sponsors; only friends that help me get to the races with the best equipment possible."
Awesome mate you must have some good stories battles against your race buddies over the years in some of the races you took part racing. also any good racing photos, what was the down side to the Manitou bikes you raced with, did they ever fail on or let you down in competition did you also keep any of your old race bikes, i know some people did