Collection: One-Time Desert Racing Pro Builds Motorsport Empire - Pro Circuit and Mitch Payton
Early Days of Pro Circuit and Mitch Payton. One-time desert racing pro and motor tuning specialist Mitch Payton founded Pro Circuit in 1978 at the age of 18. With his expertise in cylinder porting and polishing, Mitch quickly gained a reputation for his motor building skills. His early customers were mostly Husqvarna-mounted desert racers and motocrossers who sought the same speed set-ups that Mitch and his father had perfected on his personal race machines.
Word of Mitch's success spread rapidly around southern California racetracks, leading to the formation of the Pro Circuit riders' cult. In 1980, Mitch decided to close his family's Husqvarna dealership to focus solely on the shop's aftermarket hop-up service business.
The first high-performance accessory to roll out of Mitch's speed shop was the custom-tuned exhaust pipes, followed by racing silencers. The demand for Pro Circuit products grew quickly, and soon riders with different bike brands were requesting performance modifications for various parts of their bikes. To meet the demand, Pro Circuit expanded its line of exhaust systems and motor accessories for Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki motorcycles.
Pro Circuit's success on the racing scene was nothing short of phenomenal. As Pro Circuit-equipped racers began winning championships across the nation, Mitch's competitive drive led him to set his sights on winning a national motocross championship. To make this goal a reality, Mitch borrowed a strategy from auto racing and secured a corporate sponsor, revolutionizing the way motocross teams would be financed and packaged.
In 1991, a relatively unknown motocross team, led by Mitch and featuring a young rider named Jeremy McGrath, competed in the AMA Supercross series under the Peak Antifreeze, Pro Circuit, and Honda banners. Just six months later, the team achieved an incredible feat by sweeping the 125cc East and West Supercross championships. This was just the beginning of Pro Circuit's winning streak.
Over the years, sponsors and rider line-ups on the Pro Circuit team may have changed, but one thing has remained constant: the Pro Circuit reputation for professionalism and winning. In 1997, another rookie named Ricky Carmichael brought home the 125cc National Motocross championship that Mitch had dreamt of winning for so many years.
Today, Pro Circuit continues to be at the forefront of the motocross industry, providing riders with top-notch performance products and pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the track. With their unwavering commitment to excellence and a track record of success, it's no wonder that Pro Circuit is a name synonymous with winning in the motocross world.'''