Conversations with Big Rich

On Episode 152, a Man with Many Talents, Marty Fiolka, Wearing Many Hats

March 02, 2023 Guest Marty Fiolka Season 3 Episode 152
On Episode 152, a Man with Many Talents, Marty Fiolka, Wearing Many Hats
Conversations with Big Rich
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Conversations with Big Rich
On Episode 152, a Man with Many Talents, Marty Fiolka, Wearing Many Hats
Mar 02, 2023 Season 3 Episode 152
Guest Marty Fiolka

Interested in the secret sauce?  You’re going to have to listen to it all to hear the incredible history of Marty Fiolka, Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee in 2014. Marty has had experiences we all dream about.  Listen in to catch them all, this is what we call a life well-lived!

4:18 – the first real seed of, Oh my God, Motorsports is so cool!

13:11 – I learned that craft with some media things and then parlayed that into a job

23:25 – there was no easy portal to the sport 

29:11 – we had to promote it as an offroad cultural hub

35:21 – in the end, how much did we move the needle in offroad racing? 

41:25 – it’s a fascinating history and it’s a fascinating people

46:45 – a lot of the history helped to roll out the Dirt Sport magazine too

55:05 – a couple of stories I am most proud of; Robbie Pierce getting started; the Baja 1000 Commemorative one, and ….

1:02:28 - …as a career-defining moment, I think Crandon is at the very top

We want to thank our sponsor the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame – Legends live at ORMHOF 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Interested in the secret sauce?  You’re going to have to listen to it all to hear the incredible history of Marty Fiolka, Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee in 2014. Marty has had experiences we all dream about.  Listen in to catch them all, this is what we call a life well-lived!

4:18 – the first real seed of, Oh my God, Motorsports is so cool!

13:11 – I learned that craft with some media things and then parlayed that into a job

23:25 – there was no easy portal to the sport 

29:11 – we had to promote it as an offroad cultural hub

35:21 – in the end, how much did we move the needle in offroad racing? 

41:25 – it’s a fascinating history and it’s a fascinating people

46:45 – a lot of the history helped to roll out the Dirt Sport magazine too

55:05 – a couple of stories I am most proud of; Robbie Pierce getting started; the Baja 1000 Commemorative one, and ….

1:02:28 - …as a career-defining moment, I think Crandon is at the very top

We want to thank our sponsor the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame – Legends live at ORMHOF 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


Support the Show.

 [00:00:05.380] - Big Rich Klein

Welcome to Conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviewed are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle, not just a job. I talk to past, present, and future legends, as well as business owners, employees, media, and land use warriors. Men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle we call offroad. We discuss their personal history, struggles, successes, and reboots. We dive into what drives them to stay active in offroad. We all hope to shed some light on how to find a path into this world that we live and love and call offroad.


[00:00:45.690] - Big Rich Klein

This episode of Conversations with Big Rich is brought to you by the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to educate and inspire present and future generations of the offroad community by celebrating the achievements of those who came before. We invite you to help fulfill the mission of the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Join, partner, or donate today. Legends live at ORMHOF. Org.


[00:01:15.660] - Big Rich Klein

On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Marty Fiolka. Marty is an accomplished writer, magazine editor, marketing professional, movie producer, offroad racer, and a 2014 inductee into the Offroad Motorsports Hall of fame. Marty, thank you very much for agreeing to spend some time with us and talk about your history.


[00:01:39.780] - Marty Fiolka

It's a pleasure, Rich. I'm looking forward to this chat. I really appreciate the opportunity to come on and talk about all things off road racing and what we're involved with.


[00:01:49.610] - Big Rich Klein

Exactly. Let's start at the very beginning and let's tell the listeners where you were born and raised.


[00:01:58.700] - Marty Fiolka

I was born actually in Toronto, Canada. My parents were both... My dad was a German immigrant. My mom was an Austrian immigrant. They met there and I was born there. When I was a year old, my father, mom, took me cross country to Los Angeles in a Porsche 356 with a little trailer on it. I was basically raised in Northern California, just south of San Francisco for my whole life through high school.


[00:02:26.890] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, just south of San Francisco. Now you're talking my neighborhood. I grew up in San Bruno, California. Where were you?


[00:02:35.440] - Marty Fiolka

Pacifica. I grew up literally right over the hill.


[00:02:38.000] - Big Rich Klein

From you. I lived there for a number of years as well over in the Lindemar.


[00:02:45.310] - Marty Fiolka

Area. yep. No, I'll surf there quite a bit when I was a teenager. So that was my stomping grounds, too.


[00:02:51.340] - Big Rich Klein

All right. That's awesome. So then going from Canada to California and the Coast, like you said, you got into surfing. That area that we're talking about, Pacifica, it's part of the metropolitan San Francisco Bay area, but it's small, especially from our age. And when you got there, it was pretty small. What was it like growing up there?


[00:03:21.240] - Marty Fiolka

It was before the time of obviously all the e-commerce, the Silicon Valley, that wasn't there. I felt very fortunate to grow up in a place where we were right on the Coast and you could go south and go to Santa Cruz. There was some offroading going on up there. There was surfing, obviously, going on. And then San Francisco is just a pristine city to grow up. I can't imagine a better childhood. I really loved it. And like I said, it was still beautiful. And there were beautiful places to live, but it was not like it is today. But you can still go down the Pacifica. I go through Halfmoon Bay, past Mavericks, and there's still a lot of that wonderful farmland to the ocean all the way to Santa Cruz. But it was about surfing and Volkswagen. That's what it was about. Exactly. That's the culture I grew up in.


[00:04:17.170] - Big Rich Klein

What year Volkswagen did you have?


[00:04:18.740] - Marty Fiolka

My dad actually worked for Robert Bosch, for Bosch Parkway. We were immediately ingrained in European cars. My first race I went to was a 1971 can am race at Laguna Seca, which was the first real seed of, Oh, my God. Motorsports is so cool. And I got to meet the drivers and he knew a lot of Porsche guys. So I started building my first Baha bug when I was, I think, 15. So I took some time to have my driver's permit and got into that part of it and started working for a guy who was racing in VORRA and got exposed a little bit to the offroad races, had raced up at Sacramento. And my favorite was Virginia City when we raced up there and eventually got to drive a little bit. But then reverted back to building California street cars, too. I had one of those. I was all about hands on building stuff. And like I said, the Volkswagen platform was awesome for somebody like me.


[00:05:18.080] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I'm surprised we never crossed paths. Growing up in San Bruno, we spent a lot of time in Pacifica and on the Coast. I had a 54 Volkswagen street bug, and then after that, after college, in fact, in early 2000s, I owned VORRA after Ed Robinson, and ran that for four years.


[00:05:43.500] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, it was an interesting time because for then, I didn't really know much about anything south of where I was. I spent a lot of time with my family going down to Santa Barbara, but we never went to Baja, we never went to San Diego. We didn't go offroading in that traditional family sense. I did it on my own. But it was a great hybrid and VORRA was a great place to start. But obviously, it was not big time offroad racing because a lot of the cars were older. We were getting all the cars that were being purchased from down south and bringing it north. And shoot, I was still racing, I think. I was still racing with a guy who had a Funker Whompaskeed racing still. So we were doing all that and high jumpers and those cars. And it wasn't till later when I went to my first score race down at Mojave Desert when I saw the real cars and was blown away by all of that, too.


[00:06:36.540] - Big Rich Klein

Wow. Okay. So you went to Taranova High School then?


[00:06:40.540] - Marty Fiolka

I did. Class of 1980. 1980. That's where I was. And yeah, I went to College of San Mateo for junior college. Then I moved down to San Diego, had my Cadillac bug with a surfboard, and moved down to be a DJ down in San Diego and Pacific Beach. And yeah, I did work at the first real truly nightclubs there in San Diego. It was right at the start of MTV. So we were fully digital nightclub with a huge satellite dish on the roof and taking video cameras on the beach on the weekends. And it was it was a good time to be growing up and spent a couple of years or a year in San Diego State and then moved up to Cal State Long Beach to finish my degree in broadcasting and marketing.


[00:07:24.970] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. So you do have a degree in marketing and broadcasting. Excellent.


[00:07:28.870] - Marty Fiolka

I do, yeah. Bill May, yeah. I was studying more TV production then, but the marketing thing was always there. And it didn't necessarily translate to writer first. Right out of College, I got offered a job at Bosch as a field rep and got a job following my dad's footsteps in a sense and was basically going through the West Coast, going to... At that time, there were a lot of German repair facilities and European auto parts places and making sure they had catalogs and taking care of warranties. But then that evolved fairly quickly in 1988 to a job at Bosch where I was moved back down to Southern California and was doing aftermarket or OEM aftermarket light projects for Toyota, Nissan. Back in those days, the Nissan, the four or the pre runners that they were building at the time had Bosch lights. So that was all dealer report installed options. And it was all with all the OEMs were doing it. So that eventually somebody found out I was an offroad guy and I went to literally the mint 400 with a backpack full of Bosch stickers and met Bob Ritchie from the RCR planning team and Bob Gordon and a couple of other guys said, hey, look, here's some lights, here's some decals, you win some races and I'll get you some money.


[00:08:50.080] - Marty Fiolka

We'll come up with some contingency program. And that evolved very quickly to managing the offroad program at Bosch. When we created a program I'm with Yokohama Tire and Toyota, where we had a five car team, and we were sponsoring all the big truck teams because Bosch wanted to have OEM sales. So we were sponsoring Robby Gordon, Jim Venimel's team. We were on the scoop vessel Chevrolet program. I think we were in the Rough Riders 2, sponsored Mickey Thompson series. That was when I was really young. I think I was only 25, 26 years old and I was doing all that type of thing.


[00:09:25.530] - Big Rich Klein

That's pretty awesome.


[00:09:27.460] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, it was great. I was just enamored with that era. I was still, I'd consider one of the golden eras of the sport, but that's when all the factory class 8s were there. But I was still a class 1, class 2 guy. I loved the Porsche powered Chinos and the race codes and rode with Bob Ritchie a couple of races, rode with Bob Gordon a couple of races, and just really enjoyed that era of offroad motor sports. It was big time. Even sponsored the Mickey Thompson series, Bosch was there for a couple of years and really enjoyed that. That was really more of my wheel house.


[00:10:04.740] - Big Rich Klein

So Bosch was really your first foray into the job wise into the offroad market?


[00:10:15.160] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, it was. And like I said, it was just fortunate to basically be involved with all the best teams and all the best guys at the time. And honestly, the Yokohama Bosch Chota team was the very first super team that the sport had. It was before the rough riders. And what we did is we took a class 1 car, a class 2 car, a class 10 car, and then a 7 S and a 7 4x4. And these were independent teams, and we put them all under one umbrella and ran that for a couple of years. And I brought Toyota and Yokohama together with Bosch, and we did it that way. It was a successful program in racetrack. Maybe not. We won some races, but it was more as a marketing tool to see everybody together in tech or go down tech and contingency at the Mint. It was a big deal. Like I said, it last a couple of years. And that was really where I started understanding more OEM side of things and understanding a bit more marketing and starting to work with the media and the ESPN and that's where all that started. So running.


[00:11:18.870] - Big Rich Klein

Into Bosch and going down to that first Mint 400, were you familiar with those teams that you were trying to work with, or were you just being a cold calling salesman with a backpack and stickers?


[00:11:35.860] - Marty Fiolka

That's what I was, absolutely. I literally had, like I have a picture of myself next to the RCR car. You can see I've got like, you know, have a Bosch shirt on and like some OP shorts, and I'm sitting there with my center part of it hair and a mustache. But that's how it started. And it was fortunate. I think Bob Ritchie won the class. Class or something. So there's a dusty Times picture where you see him with a Bosch light on it. And that's what I sent back to Wolfgen Husted, who was the head of Bosch Motorsports at the time, and of all Bosch Motorsports, including IndyCar. And it just triggered something. And we eventually set up and we were working with distributors and it was a booming market back then. But it was really all based on getting OEM aftermarket sales. And we were able to sponsor teams. I was sponsoring. I had everybody pretty much. We had Nissan team, we had Midwest and GMC. So we didn't have Toyota. We never got to Cal, but everybody else we did for a couple of years there. I've made lifelong friends and people I still deal with today.


[00:12:42.940] - Big Rich Klein

Right. That's pretty awesome. I know that they sent you and said, Hey, kid, take this backpack, take these lights, take these stickers and go get us some racers. And to just walking up into the pits and going, Hey, I'm Marty and I want you to run our lights. That's the way it went, right?


[00:13:04.900] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah. At the time, I was also, look, I didn't just work for some random company. No, Bosch is big.


[00:13:10.830] - Big Rich Klein



[00:13:11.440] - Marty Fiolka

Is Bosch. We were involved with... And it was also lights and providing the racing spark plugs, all those guys had those expensive silver plugs that were used in the 911 motors at the time. And you needed 12 of those every time. So they were happy with it. But I just automatically thought, Well, certain teams. I wanted the best guys. I knew obviously Bob was something special. Bob Ritchie had the best looking car I thought of all. And we just were very fortunate. Then I got to work a little bit more with Frank D' Angelo on the BF Goodrich side. And by 1989, I had met one of my best friends walking into his glass shop. We decided we were going to go racing. So we bought a 1 2 1600 car that we still have now. We bought back for NORRA. And that's where my racing side started for that. It was all coming together. And at the same time in my life, I had done some work for Mitsubishi's calculations agency. I went to work for the largest peer agency in the United States at the time. I learned that craft with some media things and then parlayed that into a job.


[00:14:23.440] - Marty Fiolka

I was 30 at the time. So it was 1992, and I got a job at the Russell Racing School in Monterey at Laguna Seca. I was a director of marketing and sales there. So I moved to Monterey and lived there for a couple of years. And that opened myself to a whole other group of people. We were working at the time with Al Unser and Rick and Roger Meares. And then Casey Meares was going through our school. So I got exposed to all of that then too.


[00:14:46.760] - Big Rich Klein

That's incredible. That's a hell of a ladder. I don't know if you call it a ladder or not, but.


[00:14:55.000] - Marty Fiolka

It's more horizontal. My life has been more, maybe a slightly horizontal ladder. It never was really created to... I'm just one of those people that it just happened to find great experiences and work hard on products, and it led to other things. But I also learned, Rich, that you can't pigeonhole your skill set too much because I loved motor sports and I knew that was always the key. But I also was working with OEMs at the time and opening myself up to more things on the motor sports side other than just the off road side. I love that because I love doing it and I loved racing in it and racing the score races we did there in '90, '91 and then she raced in Baha 1,000 in '92. That was my passion. But I was felt like, if I was going to do this, that I always, in my heart, felt like if I was going to do this, that I always in my heart felt like the credibility and that lasts all the way through my career now, it's like, I have to do it still. I can't just be outside of it. I feel like I want to build cars.


[00:15:59.620] - Marty Fiolka

I want to go race. We still do. And we're going to talk about later about the real secret sauce behind the dirt sports years, too. It was inclusion because we did it and understanding because we did it because we built it. And that was whenever you go into a circle of people, if you... I was like the best raw foot race in the world? No. Successful, reasonably, but it brought me a lot of credibility and also stopped this itch that I had to go racing, which I still do.


[00:16:32.980] - Big Rich Klein

That's cool. I had an itch to go racing myself, and I kept putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. And now I think a friend and I are going to try the Mora, but I told him when we talked about it a couple of weeks ago, I said, Okay, if we do this, I want to do it for fun. I mean, if we do well, great. But I want to do it for fun. I don't want to go down there and just make it all about trying to get a win. That's a big change for me because I'm hyper competitive. It's one reason I don't play board games or anything is because I'm hyper competitive. I'm a poor loser and I'm a worse winner.


[00:17:21.540] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, I agree. I'm that the same way. Like I said, we raced and then all my teammates here in Long Beach, and I still race with that same group. We were able to go by when Nora came about. That was in 2010. I fully locked into that concept. I locked in the concept of the vintage side, obviously, getting off of race cars out of shops because there's a reason to use them then. And that was, I thought, super cool. I thought the format was super cool. I had, right by that time, and that was in 2010, I'd already done 15 Baha 1,000s. And I don't know how many Baha I mean, Vue wide open and all the other things I was involved with. But the Nora thing was just back to having fun again. Because when you're at a certain age and a certain... We never raised ourselves up to some high level of sponsorship or money. The pre running and the race fuel and the overnights and the hotels and the concern about safety become a overwhelming thought process. And the idea of, wait, we can go down and go race once a year for five days, get it out of our system, show up with the best looking race cars we can that are prepped with all the good stuff that we can go be competitive and build a team around that, which we have now.


[00:18:41.140] - Marty Fiolka

That's where it all started. And there are a lot of people who've done it, and now we're doing the same thing. It's a wonderful advent to this sport. I got to tell you, Nora has saved a lot of people their racing careers or their hobbies and being able to allow people to do it again in a way that's really fun. It's fun seeing the vibe. It's fun. It's totally different than any other race you've been to. The vibe is fun. It's like a rolling party. It's a rolling pre run. But yeah, you're racing, but you're young. You're also taking pieces of history and bringing them out like the Big Oly Bronco last year, or a friend of mine's got two Porsche 911s that he's preparing and racing. So sedans, it's all of that. So it's a really good experience. You're going to enjoy it. Cool.


[00:19:23.660] - Big Rich Klein

Let's talk about that time frame or that ladder. You were with Boss Yokohama. And then what happened after that? When did that transition? Did you go right into the Wrensports?


[00:19:45.060] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah. So what happened was after the Russell R acing School, I went back to an agency. Again, I was never really an agency employee. I didn't understand the pricing structures that they were charging. I just didn't fit in the corporate. It took me a while to figure it out. I tried, just never quite fit in. I just was too self starting or just didn't understand endless meetings or 500 emails about something you can discuss in two minutes and get done. Right. That's just my M. O. Now, my later years, I realized and accepted it's like, no, that's just not for me. But yeah, I was fortunate enough, though, to get an opportunity to do public relations for Frank Hanselwitz, who ran Nissan Motorsports. And right away, we were involved with sports car racing at the time. At the very end of the 300 CX program, 1995 with Steve Miller and Johnny O'Connell. And of course, that opened me up to just get in a whole other group of people, high level. We were winning sports car races at the time and going to places like Daytona and Sebring and all those places. And then that program ended.


[00:20:58.010] - Marty Fiolka

And then we transitioned into getting ready to go Indy car racing with IRL through the Infinity Indy project. So I was there as a consultant, but I opened up an agency under there. My racing was always team sports. And then my agency was the Renzsport group. Renzsport is German for motorsports and it just worked for me. And we still are under that same team. The team is still on Team Renzsport and their agency is still the Renzsport group. So it was a virtual. I was always more virtual. I had a couple of employees at one time, but mostly just getting freelance people to come in. But during that time, Nissan still was actively involved in short course racing with Art Schmidt. I remember taking the motorsports writer from Road and Track at the time, Danny Bordenhoff, and I, along with my photographer, Boyd James, and we went to our first grand entrance race, I think it was 1998. And we're just, again, blown away by that event. Just that whole, that's a whole other conversation. But it was, yeah. So I always kept my motorsports thing, offroad motorsports thing going, Rich. And that was, you know, weather was intense.


[00:22:16.640] - Marty Fiolka

I was still racing at the time. And honestly, the IRL thing was awesome because it introduced me to Indy car drivers. And I worked with a bunch of them, you know, Rivera Guerrero, Mike Roth, Lynn St. James, one of our drivers. Again, these relationships I had. And then in '98, I had a chance through Penzoil to get a two car team together for the Baha Fouz and with Scott Steinbergers. We had a Penzoil class 12 car and Scott had his pro truck and I brought Mike Groff down for that. He loved that experience so much that they started talking to his brother. At that time, I also then was roommates with Todd Clemett. Todd and I basically started wide open in our townhouse. E ventually, that led to those guys being part of the first wide open races in 2000.


[00:23:08.340] - Big Rich Klein

Cool. T hat's the next thing on my list here of things I wanted to hit was the wide open behind the scenes adventures. You guys were roommates. How did that all come about? Was it just an epiphany?


[00:23:25.280] - Marty Fiolka

Well, yeah, basically it was. At the time, unlike today with Raptors and side by sides, there was no easy portal to the sport. I'm talking something that's not something like Moab with Jeeps and rock crawling. I'm talking about high performance, fast offroad racing in the desert. There was no way to experience that. And I had an old race car, 1 2 1600 car. It was like my pre runner and sold it at Todd. And we basically took a couple. I think Rich Mingo had a car. Anyway, we basically took those and we started to you're just going to allow people to take them and do tours, do the guided tours in those cars. And it was a difficult thing to do because all the parts were different. And I had the idea of renting out cars for the Baha 1,000. I had that for years and years because what we did at the Russell Racing School was it was basically a ladder program that you could go racing with us. And it was like, that made sense, but we can't do it here. So yeah, we started that in the 1980s, the 98, '99. And then Todd was smart enough early on to basically have Bill Savitz designed the wide open Baha cars that were intended to be easily accessed.


[00:24:43.740] - Marty Fiolka

They had a completely different tube structure that allowed them to be super reliable and put lots and lots and lots of miles on them. We had an immediate sponsorship with Bill Stein and with Yo Kuhama. And then we realized this is a great corporate tour program and people can finally come and do this. So we had a lot of public relations efforts through Men's Journal and just getting guys to come down and do this. And it blossomed into what eventually grew. In fact, it all started here about a half a mile from my house in San Juan Capistrono here in a little office and a little barn. And at that time, Tommy Morris was working for us already. And we had this great group of people that came together. And boy, I never thought or brought to what it did. And the very likes of the first ride and drive event we had was, of all things, which you look back on now, like, what are you doing? But it was like it went to war at the time. It was the Baha 2000. It was the first time we released cars. And at that time, I was also working with Sal Fish at score to do the 40th anniversary or no, the Baha 2000.


[00:25:51.650] - Marty Fiolka

We had the first time we brought all the history together in a press conference event at the Peterson Museum, which was in September of that year. And it turned out to be the biggest event that Peterson and I had ever had at that time. But it was bringing together all these old vintage cars nobody had seen before. Nobody ever gathered them in one place before. History was forgotten. But again, one of the things I learned from being in Indianapolis so much was that these race facilities in these series all are going back to their history. They always go back to history. And offroad racing didn't do that at the time. There was no history that anybody could access, which was the motivation for writing the 1,000 Miles of Glory book, too, which all started around the same time, right in 2000. But yeah, that first 2,000 mile trip, there's more stories about that that I can It included even hitting a bull in the middle of the night one night with me and totaling a car. It took four days or five days to get the Cabo. I was in bed for two weeks out. It was a logistic.


[00:26:57.440] - Marty Fiolka

We didn't have the whole have the infrastructure at the time. We didn't have the horsepower Ranch at the base out of it at that time. We had a lot of people do it. We had a lot of Indy car guys come down and do it and some journalists. It was great that way. But eventually, years later, when we had one year, I think, why don't we had 18 cars in the Baha 1,000 and all 18 finished on time in La Paz? So by that time, we had gotten this system down much better.


[00:27:27.260] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, it sounds like it. That's quite an accomplishment to get 18 cars. So you guys basically had the first spec class?


[00:27:36.120] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, I think so. I look back on history, but we did. But it was more catered to people coming, and we worked a lot. Todd is really more responsible to mine, but he was this dreamer who would come up with this crazy stuff. But the Ranch was a great hospitality tool. And then when you went to the Baha 1,000, we were flying guys into special places and setting up camps for them. It was a much more... It wasn't just come in race. It was like, we're going to do this in the right style. And we had a lot of corporate guys and a lot of upper end businessmen just coming down and doing this. And we never really, unfortunately, graduated the system like we should have, which was always a concern of like, why are we getting all these great people into the wide open system and not having other race cars or trophy trucks or whatever? Eventually they could step up to. But we all exposed the sport to a lot of people and Baha we did. I mean, it was a big tool. Eventually, BFG came in and really started using that tool for corporate hospitality training.


[00:28:37.750] - Marty Fiolka

And we were doing amazing tire testing because we were going up and down the Peninsula every week or two and putting 1,000 miles on tires. So we were an R&D arm for BF Goodrich as well.


[00:28:48.900] - Big Rich Klein

Very nice. I've not been to the Horsepower Ranch. Well, actually, I was there to drop off a part and left, but it's one of the places I do want to visit. I did not realize that history. So that was you and Todd that got Horsepower Ranch going as well as a base for you guys?


[00:29:11.620] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah. So it was great because Todd... So when you first came to White Oak and Baha, we had a little shop, but it was in lower Ensenada. And I remember it was next to this stinky fish cannering place. And so here you have a high end tour and you're picking people up at the airport in San Diego and bringing them down. And that's the first thing they saw. We were staying at the time of Puntimora, so it wasn't quite like that. But the experience, the first driving experience was in and out of traffic in Ensenada. It wasn't good. So Todd, bless him, found this 140 acre ranch 6 miles out of Ensenada. It's a beautiful place. But again, we had to promote it as an offroad cultural hub. So that in 2003, we did our very first Baha legacy party, which was an extension of what I did in 2000. And we built our own hall of fame, quote unquote. And it was at the Baha 500 every year on the Thursday night. And eventually we had, I don't know, probably 800, a thousand or 1200 people there, live music, again, history, historic cars there. And it brought people to the Ranch.


[00:30:22.100] - Marty Fiolka

And we built out our tent ina there. And now it's a fixture. When you go to North, you need to go and see it because it's a special place. And it feels like you're in Baha. So even for our customers, at the top of the hill, it's down in a valley, we'd stop to tour busses and say, Okay, guys, your cell phones don't work after this hill. Just shut them off. And as soon as they got down the hill, and we're in front of the canteen there in our courtyard, the guys would be there with beers and shots of tequila. And that's how the wide open experience started. And it was just a really a magical spot for that.


[00:30:59.240] - Big Rich Klein

That's so awesome. To have that drive and ability to put it all together and to create the wide open and then also the horsepower Ranch on top of that is phenomenal. Wow. Kudos. Going into then 2003 is when they shot Dust to glory.


[00:31:29.690] - Marty Fiolka

And yeah, that was...


[00:31:30.680] - Big Rich Klein

Yes, it was. And you were an associate producer on Dust to glory?


[00:31:35.240] - Marty Fiolka

I was. Yeah. I mean, it's hard to imagine it was 20 years ago now, but yeah, I was. I got approached by I think it was through Boyd James. He had gotten a Mouse McCoy a little bit, and Scott Wall, who was really the brains behind it, and Dana Brown. I remember the first meeting they had at my house. I was living up in crazy. I was living up in Brentwood at the time and commuting down to San Juan Capistrono every day. But we sat there and we decided, you know what? We talked about this with them. They knew that they wanted to do this film. They wanted to make a cinematic film. But really, the inspiration was we sat around the table was what we want to make is our version of Endless Summer or On Any Sunday. We wanted something that was going to be just so powerful in storytelling and visual storytelling and in a way that Dana's father, Bruce Brown, had perfected with those two films. And Bruce was part of the group, too. And it's funny because I talked to Scott Wilde the other day about potentially having a reunion in 2000 or 2025 and the 20th anniversary of the release.


[00:32:43.720] - Marty Fiolka

And we feel now that we absolutely 100 % accomplished that. The film still carries weight. It looks great and it moved people to want to come to Baha and still meet people all the time. That movie makes me want to go, makes me want to go do Nora. I was young and saw that film and it had the same impact that Endless Summer and On Any Sunday did to me.


[00:33:07.740] - Big Rich Klein

Bruce's On Any Sunday was the first offroad movie I'd seen or first experience to off road. Like I said, I was into bugs when I was a kid. But one of the guys from Bug Formance had turned me on to the movie. And he was older. I was buying parts from him and stuff. And they e had somehow he had it playing or showed it to me. I don't remember. He showed it a couple of us. And I was like, Oh, man, I got to get down to... I got to go racing. Never did but got into it through the rock crawling. 2003, we were down there. I was working for one of the BFG pits with Jack Seibold when Dust to Glory was being filmed. And we had a couple of the camera men or at least one of the camera men in our BFG pit, and I was really hoping we were going to get a chance to be in the movie. When the movie finally came out, we got to see it, I was like, Damn, they didn't even show our pit. But it was still cool to be there.


[00:34:17.380] - Marty Fiolka

Compared to today, look, it was a technical... To go down and shoot a cinematic level film required... I think we had 75 cameras because Baha, the window is super short. Obviously, we did pick up stuff later. We did shots later. We had to fill it in. But we were going in. The game plan was always about obviously Mouse on the solo deal, following Johnny Campbell. And then the Macmillan's were always part of that storyline, which I brought to the table. At the time, I brought the Mario and Dreddy storyline in too, because that the Groff class 1 car that's in there, the BFG Jim Co, was one that I raced with the Groffs the year before. And so bringing Mario was something I had worked on. The girls storyline with wide open class 11 was something I worked on. So those are the story lines I had brought together and worked on as well.


[00:35:12.730] - Big Rich Klein

Nice. And what was the hardest part from your point of view of getting that movie out?


[00:35:21.780] - Marty Fiolka

That's a good question, Rich. The hardest part was not quite understanding the Hollywood system at that time, which I still don't quite understand. There was a lot of money. Everybody put in a lot of effort. I put in two or three years of work on it, not full time, but there was a lot of effort put into creating what we did and then publicizing what we did later. But it was sold to a film company I own, I don't know, five or 7 % of the film, never saw a dollar from it. The guy who was filming the movie in Mexico and putting on a DVD and selling the StreetC oor made more money than we all did. But it wasn't hard. Again, for me, knowing we were building something that was timeless and had quality and something that you could look at and be proud of overrides all of those things. And in the end of the day, how much did we move the needle in offroad racing? A lot. A lot of people saw it. And it turned a lot of people on, not just to ride open, but all kinds of things that made people want to go off the road or go offroad in Baha or race the Baha 1,000.


[00:36:32.960] - Marty Fiolka

I think like Sal had an amazing run at it. He owned part of it, too. But his upside was he was getting in lots of races coming from all over the world because of that film. And I think it was a hard time. But overall, you look back and say, launched the career of Scott Wah now, who's a major Hollywood director and producer and helped my career. It helped us all in some level.


[00:36:59.560] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And it really did. It's amazing. You can show that movie to somebody who has no idea what offroad racing is because I know it's hard to fathom, but you travel all over the country, you see it. You go to places and they may know what short course racing is because they're in that town. Say somebody lives in Crandon or outside of Crandon. But you ask them what the Baha 1,000 is and they may not have any clue. With that movie, it brought that into people's homes or the possibility of them to actually see it beyond what was done with wide world of sports.


[00:37:43.660] - Marty Fiolka

At times. Yeah, I mean, that's exactly right. And even a couple of years ago, I was doing an event, a private event for Polaris at Cran, and it was more of a market research deal. And the main gentleman from Polaris, who's younger, had dinner with me. And all of a sudden he starts talking about, I said, How did you get in this role with Polaris? Well, I don't know, man, but I'm into racing. And I don't know if you ever saw, but years ago, man, I was younger. I saw this movie called Dust to Glory. And I wanted to go to Baha. And he goes, Do you know anything about that? I said, Yeah, I do. I thought I was involved with it. But he actually came down to Norris, which was last year and is going to probably come race with us next year, I think, in a razor. But again, you're sitting there going, This is 20 years after the film's released, and it's still impacting people. You don't even understand. There's so many people. So like I said, the rest of glory, what came out of the back end is a super proud moment in my career.


[00:38:42.610] - Marty Fiolka

It really is. Because, again, it's all about... It's not a one and done thing that you do social media videos now and they're in and out. There's no lasting value to them. But Dust to Glory has lasting value, and I'm proud of that.


[00:38:56.860] - Big Rich Klein

Awesome. So then let's talk about about your executive producer for Baha Social Club. And I've heard this mentioned, but I've not seen much of it. And I don't know much about the project. Can you talk about it?


[00:39:15.470] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah. I mean, if Dusty glory has the pride upside, the Baha Social Club doesn't. There was a line in the film Dusty glory where Vik Wilson says, if we made more history, would have paid more attention. And I thought, you know what? He's right. And the thing that Dusty glory didn't do was really see how this all formed with these great, colorful characters like Bruce Meyer's Malcolm Smith. And obviously, when I had done all the work on the Thousand Miles of Glory history book, I had immersed myself in offroad racing history and wrote the book. So right around the time Norris started, I felt like I should try to do this project on my own. I came up with the name, which I loved. But through a series of not so good things, it never really got made. The only real upside, it still may get made. I have another potential to work with somebody to actually do it because we went out and shot a bunch of great Norris stories, including in 2014, it was Bruce Meyer's, I think it was the 50th anniversary of Meyer's makes, I think. Yeah, I think it was.


[00:40:26.720] - Marty Fiolka

And anyway, he had never finished a race before. He had entered all these races but never finished one. And we had built him a car in 2003 and never finished. And so I took that car, worked on it through a lot of contributions and help from a lot of people in the offroad industry. And it went down in 2014. We actually finished a race in a Meyer's Manx with Bruce, driving across the finish line. And all that is stuff that's sitting in the can. But the bigger thing was, you mentioned wide over sports. Well, when I wrote my book, there was a picture of Jim McKay, who was, as you know, was famous anchor at the time, and he's interviewing Bruce Meyers. But that interview was not in the cut that Bruce Brown gave to wide roller sports. So as I got to know Bruce Brown better, I said, Hey, do you have outtake stuff? And he said, He said, You want you come up to the house? So I came up to the house and worked for Santa Barbara. And in Bruce Brown fashion, sitting there smoking a cigarette in the house, I said, Yeah, let's go look.


[00:41:25.880] - Marty Fiolka

And so he opens up this massive closet. Inside the closet are stacks and stacks of film canisters that are labeled on any Sunday, on any Sunday, on any Sunday, endless summer, endless summer. I mean, the archive is sitting there. And right in the bottom corner, it says 68 Mexican 1,000. So I pulled the canisters out and they were full of... You can always tell the film was good. It didn't smell. It was like still fresh 16 millimeter film and audio tracks. So I worked out a situation where I bought the rights to those, had them all digitized, essentially, and am I still sitting on that archive with stuff that nobody's ever seen before? And in fact, found the interview with Bruce Meyer's and found the audio track with Bruce Meyer's and synced those up and nobody's ever seen it before. My partner, James Masters, and I are just waiting. So there may be an opportunity to finish that. But I just thought that era, that counterculture of the 1960s when everybody was more involved with the hippie movement, then these guys are down in Baha doing their thing and something that's still lasting. It's a fascinating history and it's a fascinating people.


[00:42:36.080] - Marty Fiolka

And we have a lot of archive content that we need to assemble, but it needs to be in the right format and seen by the right people. Just putting something together, it doesn't interest me. It needs to be seen.


[00:42:46.460] - Big Rich Klein



[00:42:49.260] - Marty Fiolka

Can probably do a bunch of cool vignettes and post on YouTube, but I'm not necessarily structured that way, so we'll see.


[00:42:57.580] - Big Rich Klein

I hope it gets made. Thank you. I hope so too. I hope so too. If it's going to that point, and I'd love to help push it forward. I think that's anything that we can do. I'm not an editor. I'm not that stuff, but I got my hands in other parts of the offroad industry.


[00:43:22.560] - Marty Fiolka

Well, thank you. I think that the idea of what we all created, we had a great response to the trailers we posted. We did. We tried to go back down in 2018 a second time and ran into some rights issues that we couldn't quite fix in time. But I haven't given up on that. I tend not to ever give up on anything, which is probably my downfall. But it's still so good And like I said, it's more about how do you package this up to get it onto either a network. That's all the problem now is monetizing these projects. That's the nuts and bolts of it. But in certain cases, like on the drive to survive on Netflix, it's paying off in big dividends, but you have to get to that point.


[00:44:06.100] - Big Rich Klein



[00:44:06.980] - Marty Fiolka

It's a chicken and egg problem.


[00:44:08.600] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, absolutely. So let's discuss the book, Thousand Miles to Glory. That came out of being down there working on the Baha 2000 in 2000. And the research that you did there was incredible.


[00:44:29.900] - Marty Fiolka

Well, yeah, that was another one. Yeah, I knew what I wanted to do. I had gotten some support as I always have. I've been with the BF British brand since I started racing in 1990. We're still carrying the colors, but was able to talk to them about the most important piece, again, is monetizing it to some level. And I had a publisher interested in it, and the best publisher at the time, David Wall Publishing, has passed away now. But the idea of this Baha history book. But luckily, BF Goodrich bought, I believe it was like 1,000 or 1,500 copies up front, or made a commitment to do that, so that we could go ahead and move forward with the design and the printing and all this stuff. And it was a different time back then. But I was also fortunate enough to have done a project with Jim Ryan and had access to the Hot Rod archives, which nobody had. And to go into that archive and find all that great black and white imagery, which was key on those early days. They had the best photographers down there shooting from all the newer races from like 67 to 72.


[00:45:42.320] - Marty Fiolka

And also some stardust, 7 11, some mint stuff. But we had access to two and a quarter beautifully shot black and white film. And that was really what got me excited. That got me excited. But then I went to South fish and said, Okay, well, where's all your archives? There wasn't it. There wasn't a place that had all of the... So really, the hardest part of the book was the back part of the book. We have all the years, the dates, the mileage, the winners, their names, the vehicles, the times. All that was really what I started with and then work backwards from there to understand. And I try to write it in a way, which that had a storyline to every year. It wasn't just a dry blow by blow play. I was trying to bring in story lines certain times when, whether it was the MacMillan story or Toyota, when certain things would happen and also get some backdrop to the off the motorsports scene and whatever was happening at the time. And it was also, I think it was four years by the time... It also got released in 2005, so no, it's five years.


[00:46:45.550] - Marty Fiolka

Took a long time. My publisher was angry at me because it took so long. But nothing like that existed and nothing like that was in writing. So it was a labor of love. And look at it now. And again, look at it. And for the most part, I would keep it pretty much the same. There's some things I would change, but it's sold out now. You can't find them anymore. But that was also helped a lot into the role, into obviously the Dirt Sports magazine. A lot of that research helped craft that, too.


[00:47:18.190] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And then on the book front, you've also done the Big Blue M, the history of Macmillan Racing. Is that correct?


[00:47:27.880] - Marty Fiolka

I did. Yes, I did. It was basically a phone call between projects and Mark and Phil and called me from the beach in Cabo. You can imagine if you know Mark. He's like, I want to do a family history book. Can you find somebody for me? I said, Well, why don't I do it? So that evolved into... Yeah, that was a massive one. That one took some brain cells for me, I think, when I was done. Five hundred and thirty eight pages, whatever that is. But it was amazing on one hand, because when I went to do the project, Mark, whose Mark is absolutely has all the family history, he had his assistant at the time set aside, and this is the great story, like, three hundred and twenty eight Manila envelopes that had all the different races and the dusty times from that race and the race notes and the pit notes were all organized.


[00:48:21.920] - Marty Fiolka

Wow. So you're sitting there and you're going, This is awesome. Then you're going, Well, this isn't awesome. This is a lot to go through. And it was started originally about the same size of my book in terms of length. But as soon as I got into it, it got way bigger. And it took a while. And Mark, he's very cast oriented. Sometimes the creative process is different, but we're able to work through it. But I remember I got married and a year later, on my honeymoon, and I'm looking down, I'm trying hard to get this book finished so we can have a copy by Christmas. And I remember working for weeks and weeks all night long. And then finally, the day we're supposed to leave our honey, my wife and I are going to Whistler, and she looks down and she sees about 12 Manila envelopes sitting there. She goes, Oh, my God. You're not finished. I'm like, No. So she made me load up the Manila envelopes in this horrible trader Joe's bag, take it on the airport planes. And I literally set up a desk where we were staying at the Whistler, and I worked about half of my honey moon.


[00:49:25.770] - Marty Fiolka

But yeah, we got it done. But I'm proud of that project. It was never really intended to be something that people would buy or read, except for the Mcmillan's and their sponsors or their team people. But it's not necessarily a reading book, but it is an insanely comprehensive reference book that's for sure.


[00:49:46.680] - Big Rich Klein

Nice. You made mention about if we knew we were making history, we would have... Pay more attention. Yes, exactly. I can say that I'm guilty of that with the rock crawling. I never thought about it and did not keep really good records on who won events and that stuff. I know that there's drivers out there that have been to all the events back in the day that have that information, that the programs that we put out and all that stuff at the time. George, wait, when you hear this, know that I'm going to come for all your data that you have saved up and I want to copy it all out. But it's important to have that stuff and not having it, I just kick myself.


[00:50:40.520] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, you're right. I'm actually working on an off road consulting project now and started digging a bit through the dirt sports archives. I am fascinated by all the stuff we actually did and all the history that we wrote. And sure course, rock crawling desert, and the interviews we did. It's really valuable to look back and if you're trying to look at history, it's a huge help.


[00:51:10.760] - Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. So let's talk about dirt sports. How did that all come about with Ryan?


[00:51:19.380] - Marty Fiolka

I was always really bullish on the off road racing space. And again, it's just one of those things that I had in my heart. And I had worked with and still work with Paul Fanner from Racer. Racer magazine was always this crowning jewel of publication. And we had been friends since 1992 when I started at the Russell Racey School. I was the same year Paul started a racer. And I just thought, God, I'd love to have a magazine like that someday. This is what this sport needs. It's something that's definitive, that's colorful, that's technical because it was all about... It was like weaved in and out of four wheeler and four wheeled offroad. That was a different space. I had worked with Jim on a couple of projects for inserts, motorsports inserts for 4 Wheeler. He was part of our project with the grass. We built the truck for that. When he started, wanted to peel off and go to advanced star with this concept that he had, the conversation was, can there be enough content to do a monthly magazine? I'm like, Yeah, way more than you think. And so we got together and got part of that group.


[00:52:39.220] - Marty Fiolka

And I took that over in terms of the marketing, but also the content and a lot of ways. And was just was able to do what we needed to do and bring in Boy James to do the masterpiece and metal stuff. That was a direct take off of what Paul was doing in his studio stuff. I think that was a key. But I think there was just a lot of activity at that time. And the founding of Dust to Glory was just coming out with five. That was all part of it in the book. And then the championship off road series was booming and score was... This was before 2008. So there was all kinds of activity. And if you look back, like I said, rock crawling was on board too with the U Rock guys. And it was just at a very high level. And we just felt like we had an amazing amount of creativity and space, probably over committed a lot of ways because I was way too perfectionist. But we also were, we weren't just riding about it. We were doing it. We were building project cars. We were doing big tech pieces.


[00:53:47.140] - Marty Fiolka

We were racing at the time at some races with our cars that we built and pre runners. And that takes a lot. But it was, I think that again, I think it really moved the needle at that time.


[00:53:59.330] - Big Rich Klein

Agreed. Agreeed, and I hated to see the downfall of it.


[00:54:05.310] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, me too. I have some regrets on how it all ended, but I will say that I saw the end of the monthly thing coming, the newsstand thing. I wanted to go a different direction with it to make it more something that came out once in a while that was printed on better paper, that was more subscription based because some of the photography shot was amazing but the magazine pretty didn't show that necessarily. I mean, it's coffee table book photography level stuff, especially when you have guys like Boyd and Jason Zandrowski later on and Brian bank. Those guys all evolved out of that. But yeah, it was a shame. It was a shame. And then it got watered down now the brand got watered down. And we were so protective of whatever we built, whatever we wrote about had to be the best that we could afford to do. And I guess it's out there somewhere now. But like I said, you look back on it and you can look back on those issues and be like, man, there's some great stuff here. Great stuff.


[00:55:06.980] - Big Rich Klein

And out of all those issues and all those stories, what's the one that you're the most proud of? Can you pinpoint one?


[00:55:16.200] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah, in fact, a couple of them. One was a story that I talked about yesterday at a memorial service I did for Robby pierce. And it was a story that when he started trophy truck racing, he was involved with a guy named Bill Barnes. And I remember the story that I did about the old guys going off road racing. I thought in the way they were, I thought that story is one of our best. I remember a couple of issues, the Baha 1,000 commemorative one, but it was the biggest one we ever did. The rebranding one issue that we did, which was the 40th anniversary of the Kremlin's cover. But the biggest story I do remember is covering the death and the trial of Mike Goodwin with Mickey Thompson. That one was more journalistic. And then I, unfortunately, can't remember the gentleman's name, but he was a famous stunt man that bought a Rolls Royce that was at all the offroad races. And he committed suicide. And I was the only one who really wrote about that. It was a sad story to write, but there are some areas of that that are very more digging down even deeper.


[00:56:25.600] - Marty Fiolka

And I think those are the highlight stories for me.


[00:56:28.540] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And let's talk about Bruce Meyer's and the Meyer's Manx, a little more detail on that and how that relationship... I'm assuming that came through Bosh.


[00:56:44.480] - Marty Fiolka

No, it didn't. My dad had a, we had an old Meyer's Manx knockoff when I was a kid. So I first started driving when I was nine years old and it was a fiberglass Dune buggy. But at that time in Pacific, you could go up in the hills anytime you want it. So we were going up there. And that obviously struck a chord with me. But no, I really met Bruce Meyer's really in 2000, right when I was doing the event at the Peterson. I won an Old Red there, and I got to know he and Wendy. And then right after that was when he started, he was reestablishing his business. And he invented and launched the Meyer's Mangster, which was a fiberglass Dune bike and it's full sized can. I helped him launch that with some media stuff that I was working on for him just as a favor. And that evolved to, well, Bruce, I need a body. Let me build what I always envisioned, which I went and had a fabricator at the time, helped me put a lift kit on it. And all the Meyer's banks were really small. I'm 6'1, so I never fit in one, really.


[00:57:51.820] - Marty Fiolka

So we did that. And Bruce came by and said, oh, man, look at this. Let me put that lift kit into the fiberglass, and we'll come out with a dual sport. And so he built the first one. I built the second one, which I still have. And our relationship just evolved over that time. And then we built the Baha race car based on our BFG team with the Groffs. And we got together and built him a car so he could race again. And it just evolved from there. And we were close friends for many years. I brought him down to the 2000 with his original Meyers Manks, and he chased the whole race with it. So we did a lot of interactive things like that. Just was a Bruce Meyers fan and loved his whole beach Volkswagen lifestyle surfing thing. His whole life story is a whole other part of the world. But to bring him down with Vik Wilson at the Nola race in 2013 was a super big part of what I wanted to do. And then in 14, going back down and having him finish a race, that was awesome. And then, like I said, we had been friends and were friends for a long time until he died, unfortunately.


[00:59:05.070] - Marty Fiolka



[00:59:05.380] - Big Rich Klein

And you mentioned that you still have that Meyer's Man. I got to ask, how many cars do you own right now?


[00:59:18.500] - Marty Fiolka

Well, let's see. In the direct family here in my wife and I, we own three. And then I have partial owner with my teammates of five more offroad cars, race cars.


[00:59:30.900] - Big Rich Klein



[00:59:33.180] - Marty Fiolka

Have the cars we race at Dora. And then I just bought a vintage short course car that won Kranin World Championships. That was an Art Schmidt car because we're going to be vintage racing at Cranion here soon in June. Nice. I wanted to have the car. It was a turnkey car, really cool, looks cool, rabbit motor in it. I mean, it's cool. It was a turnkey. I can just get this and keep it there. Whenever I'm back in Kranin and want to burn some laps, I can just do it. But yeah, what the Meyers makes is it was a special car. It's everybody's favorite because of whatever. It's bright yellow and it looks right. We spent a lot of time building it and it's been in magazines everywhere. It's been in magazines every was our cover car for hot VWs. It's just our signature car. My wife and I have taken long trips with it through California, and it's just a great car. That one we're going to keep forever. That one's not going to be sold ever.


[01:00:22.300] - Big Rich Klein

Awesome. So besides that car, what's the car you wish you had still?


[01:00:33.980] - Marty Fiolka

It goes down to two. I wish I had the... So in 2002 when we got the BF Goodrich Toyota program together with the Groffs, and we built a Jim Co class 1 car with a Toyota Camry V6 motor and same one motor Bob Gordon had. With the five speed Ford and that car, in terms of balance, in terms of 300 and whatever horsepower is just enough before you got to the big 500, 600 horsepower cars. That car was the most fun race car ever drove by far. But the car I probably still wish I had during the dirt sports days, I built a Luma Craft four seater with a big Chevy motor in it and a big 5 speed. That car was a hot rod. It was a Porsche. Everything you want in an offroad car was comfortable, as fast as hell. And it was just a fun car to have. But it ended up with being so high end for me that it owned me. Every time I took it out, I was worried if I heard a bang in the gear box that I'd lost the gear box or an axel. And those things were...


[01:01:40.190] - Marty Fiolka

It took away some of the fun from it. So it was just like, this car is owning me. Don't really own it. The manks, I don't worry about it. I can fix anything or buy anything. So that car is still out there somewhere. But yeah, those are the two cars I wish. And certainly that the Jim Crow is by far my favorite race car that I ever had, or was involved in.


[01:01:59.610] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And when you look back on what you've done up to this date, what is the one thing that you're probably the most proud of?


[01:02:10.680] - Marty Fiolka



[01:02:11.860] - Big Rich Klein

Know this list is incredibly long and you should be proud of everything, but there's got to be one thing that just goes, yeah, this is it. This is why I was put on Earth to do.


[01:02:28.650] - Marty Fiolka

Honestly, I think I'm living it right now. I think being the promot of Crandon and taking that wonderful facility and its long history and really polishing the diamond of the last eight years to where it is now. Working with the Flannery family, being in the Midwest, seeing what we've created in terms of this motorsports icon now in this cultural thing. Honestly, I think that I'm proud of is also just the vision I had for it. The Flannery’s basically just let me do what I thought I should do. They believed in what we were doing and investing in it, and the racers did and Red Bull did and Polaris did. I think as a career defining, I'm going to be proud of that. I think Cran is at the very top. Also, the other thing, Rich, I think just exposing so many people to what we do, whether it's Indy car guys or just guys in the street through the wide open program and coming to racing with us. I think that I'm really proud of that. And then honestly, the singular moment, no doubt, was getting ducted off of our sports hall of fame. Somebody submitted a thing, a proposal for me.


[01:03:49.180] - Marty Fiolka

I didn't really expect it, and I certainly didn't expect to feel like I did that night. I said that night I wish I was being ducted as a racer and not necessarily as a promot. But it still resonates a lot. Every time I think about the Hall of Fame, I think about we're working with the Hall of Fame at Cranin to do... We announced an Annex there. We're going to build a Museum there for short course. All the work we're doing with them is fantastic. But it really is thinking that after all these years, like I said, I wasn't Walker Evans, I wasn't Ivan Stewart, I wasn't Rob B, I wasn't any of these famous drivers or even necessarily corporate people. But whatever I did, whatever contribution I made was recognized that way. And that still resonates when I think about the fact that every time I go to the Ormhoff dinner, I'm just super proud to be part of that exclusive fraternity there that did so much for this whole lifestyle in sport.


[01:04:49.070] - Big Rich Klein

I'm a real big fan of Ormhoff, the offroad member sports hall of fame. I've been going to them since the induction dinner. The first one that they did when it was at Pemona. And we've gone every year since then. I don't remember what year that was. But it's something that I think it's great that everybody gets together and celebrates the history of the off road motorsports. I think that everybody that's involved in any aspect of off road motorsports, whether it's motorcycles or rally, rock crawling, desert racing, short course racing. There's so many different things that I think everybody that's an enthusiast or a racer, you may never get to that place. You may never be inducted. But I think it's something that everybody should be involved with as a member or as a going and honoring those inducties, the people that came before and have truly advanced our sport in one way or another.


[01:06:09.860] - Marty Fiolka

Yeah. I think that these people have devoted their lives to this. And Raleigh pierce said, Outside of friends and family, the thing that defines us the most is what we do in this lifestyle or in this sport. It's the one thing we'll always think about. If the end of your life was tomorrow, you'd think about friends and family, and then you'd think about all that you did in off road racing or off road. It's that powerful. And it matters, as Robby said. And I think you have to look back on people who sacrifice and volunteered or given on so much of themselves to this, to perpetuate this crazy drug that we were all addicted to. But yeah, I agree. I think it's important. It's important to have a focal point for the whole industry and for the whole movement as it were, because it also justifies it to people like it forward and to people like there's a hall of fame of this is a legitimate thing. They've done a tremendous job. I remember when I went to my first hall of fame dinners and they were in Reino and there were 40 people there.


[01:07:21.020] - Marty Fiolka

And it was like, Wow, this is just... And then when we finally convinced them to bring it to Pemona's offroad expo, which was part of the bandstar at that time, that's when I really started seeing a lot more pickup. And you have the industry there that could go and support it. Clearly, bringing it to Las Vegas as part of the CIMA show is really added to it. And they've done just a tremendous job with it. They're wonderful people, but they're really advancing things, and it's really great to see.


[01:07:47.320] - Big Rich Klein

I agree wholeheartedly. So anybody listening, get involved with the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. If you know somebody that you feel that deserves the recognition, fill out the proposal to get them inducted. It's not easy. It's not an easy thing to do to become inducted. But the people that are out there and in are justifiably in, and there's plenty more that eventually will be in. So get involved, please. So the last thing, what would be your life motto?


[01:08:35.040] - Marty Fiolka

My life motto really gets down to... I really think that it's almost going back to the Mark McMiller motto, the McMiller motto of never, ever give up. This life is complicated and you have to have a lot of patience and you have to never give up on relationships you have with people. People you meet now are people you're going to be doing business with potentially in 5, 10, 15 years when the time is right. It's all about patience and timing. But I just feel like even to my detriment sometimes, and my port wife's detriment, I just don't give up. You start something, you got to finish it. And it really goes back to what I think about this whole industry, which if anybody ever wants to understand how this life really works, go get a book called Cowboy Ethics and read about the code of the West and how you ride for the brand and you just never give up. And I just think that my philosophy is based on that. And I think the long term beauty of this whole thing that we love so much is based on some old fashioned values. And that's one of them.


[01:09:42.440] - Marty Fiolka

And that's how I've lived my life now is based on those things. And it seems a little old fashioned, but you know what? It actually still seems to work. So that's what I can offer for that.


[01:09:53.340] - Big Rich Klein

Awesome. I think that's a good segue for saying thank you very much.


[01:10:02.520] - Marty Fiolka

Well, thank you, Rich. It's been nice to sit here and have a nice conversation, bring up some great old memories, talk about the past. And like I said, I think you're doing a great job of the show and I'm looking forward to hearing it and hearing a lot more stories from other people.


[01:10:17.290] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And again, thank you. Well, that's another episode of Conversations with Big Rich. I'd like to thank you all for listening. If you could do us a favor and leave us a review on any podcast service that you happen to be listening on, or send us an email or text message or a Facebook message, and let me know any ideas that you have, or if there's anybody that you have that you would think would be a great guest, please forward the contact information to me so that we can track to get them on. And always remember, live life to the fullest. Enjoying life is a must. Follow your dreams and live life with all the Gusto you can. Thank you.