Rock’t Roller: 407cc / 88-hp 1958 Vespa Drag Racer!

Photo: @annagphotography

Two-Stroke Scooter Racing with Rocket Race Club… 

While our focus here at BikeBound might be motorcycles, we have a soft spot for just anything with two wheels — especially if it’s fast. In our coverage of this year’s Glemseck 101, we noticed a lot of tuned scooters making runs on the 1/8-mile track.

We can’t say we were overly interested until we heard from our friend Kris Szews of Rocket Race Club, who described the machines for us:

“We had some pretty mad vintage two stroke Vespas and Lambrettas racing at Rocket Race Club this year… The craziest one without a doubt being a 1958 model with 407cc and 88 bhp at 80kg. Did a show race against a GSXR after it had won the scooter class and nearly got the bike too!”

Vespa Drag Scooters
Photo: @annagphotography


More than one horsepower per kilogram? Now we’re talking! Kris says the tuning and racing scene with highly-modified two-stroke Vespas and Lambrettas has become big in Europe, especially in Italy and Germany.

88-hp Vespa engine. Photo: See You Agency

There’s an organization for circuit racing and another one for sprint (drag) racing. Says Kris:

“Both disciplines are taken very seriously and are quite competitive. Tuning these vintage scooters without the likes of turbos and NOS is preferred, because it’s harder and requires more skill.”

Vespa Drag Scooters
Photo: @annagphotography

While some of the scooter tuning shops have exhibited at events like Bikers’ Festival and Glemseck 101, this was the first year they were on hand to race. Phil and Kris of Rocket Race Club actually invited some of them as their guests to Bikers’ Festival.

“Six of them arrived and proved to be identical in mindset as the motorcycle guys and we got on from the first moment. Great guys and absolutely mad machines! They delivered an incredible show in Spa, even winning some of the fun runs we did against motorcycles!”

Vespa Drag Scooters
Bikers’ Festival 2023, Spa. Photos: @marc.holstein @myeyesbychristine

Fast forward to Glemseck in September, and the scooters got a proper 30-minute racing slot on Sunday and didn’t fail to impress. Says Kris:

“Those machines are such underdogs, so the crowds were very surprised to see how they performed…especially the likes of Jesco and his 88-hp rat that won the race in Glemseck.”

Vespa Drag Scooters
Photo: @annagphotography

Rocket Race Club’s scooter class is called “Rock’t Roller,” and today we’re thrilled to feature that high-powered Vespa from Jesco Schmidt of Germany’s SIP Scootershop — one of the world’s go-to shops for tuning parts and more.

“Jesco is what I like to call a tech wizard at SIP. He’s been building extremely powerful and solid race engines for countless years and is one of the founders of the DBM (German Sprint Championship for Vintage Scooters). He does tech videos on their Youtube channel concerning new parts, tech explanation vids, custom workshop visits, event reports, etc.” -Kris Szews, Rocket Race Club

Jesco at top center! Photo: See You Agency

Jesco has been tuning and customizing scooters for more than 30 years, with a primary focus on drag racing. He used to build and tune race engines for customers through his own workshop, Jesco Motors, but he now works as a product manager for SIP Scootershop.

VNA Studios

His ’58 Vespa is highly modified, featuring a stretched, lowered, and braced frame with increased rake and better geometry for going fast in a straight line. Then there’s the engine. The 407cc two-stroke results in some pretty mind-blowing numbers, considering the machine started life as a basic commuter for getting to the café and back.

“82 HP at the wheel, 88 HP at clutch, 81 Kilos (181 with driver 😉).”

VNA Studios

Not surprisingly, this Rock’t Racer took home the win at Glemseck, and we’re looking forward to seeing more race scooters in action in 2024 with Rocket Race Club. Below, we talk to Jesco for more details and video about his 88-hp Vespa drag scooter.

Are you interested in sponsoring the Rocket Race Club series? If so, contact [email protected].

Vespa Sprint Scooter: Racer Interview

Photo: Abgedreht
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

Hi, my name is Jesco Schmidt. I’ve been into scooter tuning and customizing since 1990. My most important and main business is drag racing. Under “Jesco Motors,” I was building tuning and race engines for customers. Now I work for the world-leading store for classic scooter parts “SIP Scootershop” as a product manager. We also have a YouTube channel, where I present workshops from the scooter scene, technics, events, products and also custom scooters:

Photo: Abgedreht
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

Vespa VNA 1958.

Photo: Abgedreht Productions
Photo: Abgedreht
• For what class of racing was the bike built?

It was built to have fun wherever possible.

Photo: Abgedreht
• What custom work/upgrades have been done?

The frame was extended by approximately 21 cm. The head tube and the frame were divided horizontally and lowered by 10cm. The frame was reinforced, the handlebars were dropped. The steering head angle and caster were increased.

407cc cylinder, special casing, gearbox, carb, intake, and one off exhaust.

Photo: Abgedreht Productions
Photo: Abgedreht
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?

82 HP at the wheel, 88 HP at clutch, 81 Kilos (181 with driver 😉).

Photo: Abgedreht
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride/race this bike?

Mostly fun, sometimes fear…

• Anybody you’d like to thank?

Help with welding metal sheets by Basti Attenberger and Jürgen Posch.

VNA Studios

Engine Build Video: 407cc Vespa

Video building the engine:

Scooter Drag Races: Glemseck 101

Follow Rocket Race Club & Organizers

Rocket Race Club | | Facebook
Rennstall Moto | @rennstall_moto | Facebook
Man and the Machines | @manandthemachines | Facebook

Photography Credits

Spa: @marc.holstein ( x @myeyesbychristine (
Glemseck 101: @annagphotography
Glemseck 101: @claudefischer (
Studio Shots: (@abgedreht_gmbh)

Are you interested in sponsoring the Rocket Race Club series? If so, contact [email protected].

More Rocket Race Club Bikes

Rock’t Roller: 407cc / 88-hp 1958 Vespa Drag Racer! - Two-Stroke Scooter Racing with Rocket Race Club…  While our focus here at BikeBound might be motorcycles, we have a soft spot for just anything with two wheels — especially if it’s fast. In our coverage […]
BMW R1250RS Sprint Bike Hercules II: BMW R1250RS Sprint Racer - “Hercules II” Rocket Racer from Kraftstoffschmiede x Man & the Machines…   The BMW R1250RS is one of the world’s best sport-touring machines, built around a 1254cc shift-cam flat-twin that makes 134 bhp and 105 […]
2Crazy: Supercharged Indian Chieftain Drag Bike! - 1811cc Supercharged Indian by PM American Cycles…  Introduced in 2014, the Indian Chieftain is the top of the line Chief, a full-spec touring model with an air-cooled 100-hp “Thunderstroke” V-twin engine, three riding modes / […]
Ducati Streamliner Rocketeer: Ducati ST2 944 “Streamliner” -   1/8-mile Ducati Sprint Racer from Mike Matamorr…  Our friends at Rocket Race Club have continued in the tradition of the old Sultans of Sprint series, bringing together 1/8-mile sprint racers to run at high-profile […]
Rocket Race Club: “Insane and Fast” Sprint Bikes - We’re big fans of European 1/8-mile sprint racing, where custom-built bikes from workshops across Europe compete head-to-head in old school-style drag races at events like the Glemseck 101. The wildest, most creative of these was […]
Event Report: Glemseck 101 - From Leonberg with Love, Drag Races, and Rock…  The Glemseck 101 is the largest motorcycle event in all of Europe. This year, more than 40,000 visitors rode, drove, and flew to the former “Solitude” racetrack […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *