in 1995 by John C. Slater, founder and CEO.
riding at the age of 6 with guidance from his father. A year later
he started racing. In 1976 he saw his first Pro race live at Unadilla
in upper state NY, the Trans AMA and saw Roger DeCoster, Adolph Weil,
Rex Staton on Harley Davidson, Gerrit Wolsink, Marty Smith, Tommy
Croft, and Jim Pomeroy all racing there. Over the next sixteen years,
John started racing pro, with his most memorable moment being when
he qualified in 1992 for the Unadilla 250 USGP. John has also watched
the legendary races between Bob Hannah and Kent Howerton at Southwick.
At this point John had decided he wanted to be involved with Motocross
for life. John had the opportunity to see the 1987 Trophe DeNations
He moved from the East coast to the West coast in the early 90’s to
start his first motocross business. After a few years decided to refocus
his efforts back on the East Coast in Connecticut and started SRP
Slater Racing Products where he introduced SLATER SKINS.
SRP manufactures SLATER SKINS, full body panels made from polypropylene,
high impact, heat resistant plastic. This material is very durable
and is paintable, unlike many other plastics. SLATER SKINS are a set
of streamlined panels designed especially to help promote the off-road
racing sport by giving corporate sponsors 1,200 square inches of advertising
space which is 900 square inches larger than the stock panels.
John promoted, built and designed Arena crosses in New Haven, CT at
the New Haven coliseum, as well as promoting Monster Trucking events
there. He sold sponsorships on the SLATER SKINS and hired riders for
the Arena cross. The largest sponsor he brought in for these Arena
Events was Foxwoods Casino.
SRP has worked with Mike Metzger, Mike Jones, Kenny Bartram and Jeremy
Stenberg in the freestyle market. Metzger won the Vans Triple Crown
while sporting the SLATER SKINS. Freestyle has gotten the attention
of Corporate America with the introduction of NBC’s Gravity Games
and X-Games. The 2000 Gravity Games had even more riders sporting
SLATER SKINS including Mike Jones.
SLATER SKINS were First, Second and Third on the Saturday Gravity
games. The Sunday games showed the Second and Third place riders with
the SLATER SKINS.
Because of the coverage at the Gravity games, John was able to get
SoBe to sponsor a freestyle rider, Kenny Bartram who subsequently
became injured just before the X-Games. John and SoBe then managed
to hire on Trevor Vines to replace Kenny Bartram in time for the X-Games.
SoBe continues to sponsor Trevor Vines and Team SoBe Suzuki Motocross.
Ct Post Article
One of John Slater's greatest joys in
life is building racing motorcycles from the ground up in his
1,000-square-foot shop at the end of Plains Road.
Along the way, he invented a product called "Slater Skin,"
an engine heat shield that has drawn national attention in the
motorcycle industry. Slater Skin
is a thermal-formed, plastic covering that protects the rider
from engine heat while providing enhanced airflow cooling over
the engine. The product may revolutionize the sport of motocross,
as it makes the engine cover resist enough heat to show a racing
sponsor's name in big letters, as is done with race cars.
John Andros, of Westport, a former motorcycle
racer and friend of Slater, said that racing motorcycles could
eventually become their own billboards.
"Before this, the sponsor's name was small, just crammed
all over the fenders," Andros said. "Now, it's almost
like a billboard. That's what he's trying to do: give more exposure
to the industry. And, it's working."
National attention has included free help from the Space Alliance
Technology Outreach Program in Houston, which is supported by
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Slater,
42, of Shelton, won't give away any of his secrets.
"I'm self-taught. I'm a motorcycle mechanic and racer,"
said Slater, president of Slater Racing Products
The Space Alliance Technology Outreach
Program is a nonprofit, NASA-funded organization that helps small
businesses with engineering challenges, said A.J. Lucas, deputy
program director for the SATOP New York and New England region.
"Slater said he was on the verge of something that was going
to be big, so we provided engineering help," Lucas said.
"We're interested in general business growth. In his case,
it was being able to attract advertising sponsors to support motorcycle
Slater, a graduate of Shelton High School,
followed his post-secondary education with a year in the auto-body
program at Emmett O'Brien Technical High School in Ansonia.
"That year in body shop helped me deal with prototype molds
in clay. After that, I just tinkered," Slater said. "I'm
an inventor. I create things. I get up in the middle of the night
and write things down."
He spent most of his 20s racing around the country while doing
construction work to support his hobby. His pinnacle was making
the 1992 U.S. Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing Team.
"After that, I started my own business and [started] getting
involved in plastics," he said. "The sport was starting
to step up. There was more sponsorship needed for advertising."
The product has gone through several improvements,
and therefore several patents. Frank Canevari, a former motorcycle
racer and president of Newhart Plastics in Milford, has dealt
with Slater for 10 years.
"He brings me the plastic sheet with the sponsor's name on
it. We mold it to the mold, and he puts it on the motorcycle,"
Canevari said. "The Slater Skin is known for both air flow
and protecting the rider from the heat of the engine.
"He's got a good product going," he added. "When
he perfects it, he wants to produce it himself. He's still working
to perfect it."