Vital MX Forum QNA: Mitch Payton

Create New Tag

1/19/2016 12:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/19/2016 12:52 AM

How about a chance to chat with an AMA Hall-of-Famer? This week Mitch Payton will be answering questions in our Vital MX Forum QNA. Mitch is a noted tuner, both on two-strokes and four-strokes, and he and the gang have won more titles than any other team, privateer, or factory. When you start looking over the talent that has grown up (and won) under his canopy, it's pretty amazing. McGrath, Carmichael, Tedesco, Townley, Langston, Pourcel, Villopoto, Wilson, Baggett, and more. You get the idea. Bring your best questions.

Bring your best questions, and he'll be peeking in here this week to answer them. As always, keep it respectful, and ask questions that you would like in a face-to-face meeting.

1/19/2016 12:53 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/19/2016 12:53 AM

Hi Mitch, kudos for your amazing career, Pro Circuit business and support of the MX/SX/etc industry. You are a legend.

My 1st question is, Pro Circuit has always been mainly a Kawasaki supported (except for the Peak Honda years) racing effort, is this because you have a great relationship with Kawasaki or is it monetary or another reason?

2nd question is, who in your eyes is the up and coming rider to watch, who could be the next Hannah/RC/MC/Ward/Baily/etc?


Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

1/19/2016 1:12 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/19/2016 1:14 AM

Hi Mitch, there is one question in my head that I have wanted to ask you for a long time.

In your opinion, which 2-stroke displacement would be equally competitive to their 4-stroke counterpart? In other words, which CC capacity would make a 2-stroke a viable option against a 250F or a 450 in any form of competitive motocross? Thanks.


*Anyone but Reed or Webb Crew*

1/19/2016 1:20 AM

Hey Mitch!

Thanks for dropping by.

Best and worst bike you had as a team bike. ie what did you have to do the most and least with.


Cheers, Crush

1/19/2016 1:28 AM

What's up Mitch?

Which rider have you enjoyed working with the most, and the least??

All the best man.


1/19/2016 2:08 AM

Gday Mitch, thanks for swinging by

Of all your riders past and present who do you think challenged you the most to get the best/most out of them and how did you go about achieving that?

To what degree have you been involved with Chad in both bike and career advice?


1/19/2016 2:29 AM

Hi Mitch,

Pleasure to be able to ask you a question. So i'm curious on how the partnership with Fox come about, who made the first move so to speak? Was it months of intense negotiations to make sure it was viable for both parties or did it just make sense from the offset? (and there must be some stories in there somewhere :-))

Oh and finally any tips for getting the best out of my KX125 (and yes I will be ordering a pro circuit exhaust soon, once i've saved up my pennies haha)

All the Best, Rich


1/19/2016 2:47 AM

If you had a time machine would you go back and change the rise of four strokes?

In your opinion what is it about the sound of a two stroke pinned wide open?

Sure this will interest a few on both sides of the argument


Now a member of the Orange brigade

1/19/2016 2:54 AM

Thanks for doing this Mitch.

A few members here have told stories of some of the stuff you guys used to do at your PC Husky shop. What's your best story/memory from back then? I'm sure the statute of limitations has run out on most stuff.


1/19/2016 3:56 AM

From all the riders you've worked with over the decades - is there one specific attribute that you've seen in riders that separates the men from the boys? The journey men from the masters? Is there a common thread you can see among the greats and the champions? What is it?

And (one more)

Do you believe in "talent"?
Or is talent created through hard work?


1/19/2016 5:22 AM

Hello Mitch,

1 - I'm curious about the sponsorship side of things. We see very few non industry sponsors. Do you try to attract non industry sponsors like Target, Home Depot, restaurants etc. . . and how do they perceive the sport? Do they give you much time to talk or give you good feedback? Does limited ad space on the bike deter them from sponsoring? Or do you think there is a lack of non industry sponsors due to not having the right contacts?

2 - How do you handle riders like Savatgy? Do you let the rider try to figure out how to get to the top box? Do you try to pressure them? Do you physically change certain aspects of their weekly schedule? I'm sure it's a delicate balance to keep their morale high but push them to go faster.

Good luck to you guys this season.


1/19/2016 5:36 AM

What would you say has been your most/least successful years,maybe not just by wins,but by amount of riders you guys had battling for the wins,depth of talent,etc. As always,thanks for answering our questions.


1/19/2016 5:40 AM

What do you look for in a potential rider?
Do you go after all talent, or more towards somebody with a strong work ethic?

Congratulations on your successful career!


The message posted above is most likely my opinion and shouldn't be taken as fact....

1/19/2016 6:17 AM

Mitch, with so many of the successful riders of our sport having spent time on your team, my question is: if you could put together a Pro Circuit Dream Team of riders that have rode for you, who would they be? Let's say 6 riders.


1/19/2016 6:33 AM

( Fearo ) made a good question i wonder the same.

In your opinion, which 2-stroke displacement would be equally competitive to their 4-stroke counterpart? In other words, which CC capacity would make a 2-stroke a viable option against a 250F or a 450 in any form of competitive motocross? Thanks.


1/19/2016 6:34 AM

Fearo wrote:

Hi Mitch, there is one question in my head that I have wanted to ask you for a long time.

In your opinion, which 2-stroke displacement would be equally competitive to their 4-stroke counterpart? In other words, which CC capacity would make a 2-stroke a viable option against a 250F or a 450 in any form of competitive motocross? Thanks.

Ha! That was my question too, except a little different.

In hindsight, what should the 4 stroke displacement limit have been set at to not exclude 2-strokes from pro racing?


1/19/2016 6:41 AM

HI Mitch. You have worked with some of the greatest riders of all time. Including THE guy that owns that title. Who are some of the riders you didn't have an opportunity to work with that you wish you did?


Before responding to any post, consider these three things...
1. Context!
2. Context!
3. Context!

1/19/2016 6:50 AM

Hello Mitch, Semi off topic but would you ever dabble into the freestyle watercraft side of things? With all of your 2 stroke knowledge you would certainly bring a lot to the table. There are only 2 or 3 pipe companies out there and 2 or 3 big name aftermarket engine manufacturers.


1/19/2016 7:17 AM

How integrated is your race team with Kawasaki on the development of future models?


1/19/2016 7:30 AM

Hi Mitch! I am a huge fan of the pro circuit team and I'm rooting for you guys to win a championship this year! My question is would there be a chance of you fielding a 450 team again like you did with tickle in 2012? And how soon do you get the 2017 kx250f bikes which I assume will be an all new design? Any chance of running them in the Nationals? If I remember right Weimer and villopoto ran 2012 models in the summer of 2011 is why I was asking. Best of luck this year!


1/19/2016 7:32 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/19/2016 7:33 AM

Hi Mitch, huge fan here! I met you in a hotel lobby in Indy in 2009 the night before the race and was so excited that all I did during the race the next day was snap about 2000 photos of the Pro Circuit guys (like the photo of Stroupe in my avatar lol). I was a big fan before, but after meeting you it was game over... I'm a fan for life now. So I just wanted to say thank you for all the memories over the years!

More than any other team, you seem to have a knack for having at least two guys on your team that are capable of winning each week. In your opinion, who was your best pair? Which two guys on your team were considered a coin toss as to who would take the win each week?

Regardless of engine size, style of engine, or age limits put in place, do you think we'll ever get back to a three-class system of racing? It could be 125-250-450, or 250-250-450, or 150-300-500, or whatever, but a lot of people say they'd like to see a three-class system come back, would you agree? There is no shortage of talent out there willing to ride, but do you think there is enough room logistically to allow for a third class again? Or are we past the point of no return?

Would you like to see the return of full "works" bikes? If you received the news that you guys were allowed to race works bikes again, what would be the first part you'd make?

Thanks again Mitch, you're the man!


What comes around is all around

1/19/2016 8:19 AM

You run a 250 race team which means mostly younger riders who may or may not be very good at setting up a bike.

-How much teaching is there done for these young guys on bike setup?
-Who was the best young guy that rode for you that was really good at setting up a bike without being taught?

BTW, I like the new Fox gear you guys are running.


" You thank whoever is up there, every morning you open your eyes, an everyday you can put your body on a motorcycle, thats pretty good enough for me" -Lars Larson

1/19/2016 8:24 AM

Did you ever streak? Maybe in your junior year in high school?

In 1977 or 1978, I can't remember what year, there was a streaking incident at Norco High School during lunch hour. With only boots and helmets a few guys on bikes, probably from the motocross team, rode thru the school.

Best Jeff Jennings story? Well maybe those are not suitable for a public forum.


1/19/2016 8:28 AM

Mitch, Ive always been a huge fan of 125's and one of the best days of riding was when i picked up a used team green bike with your motor work years ago. Ive always been curious, how much more power did your race bikes put out in comparision to stock motors?


"If you feel in control, you're not going fast enough" ~Mario Andretti

1/19/2016 8:40 AM

Hello Mitch,

In your opinion has today's bike/technology leveled the playing field maybe a little to much? There doesn't seem to be many, if any, guys nowadays with that ability to separate themselves on the 250 and carry that to the 450 I.e McGrath, Carmicheal, Stewart, RV etc. imo the bikes and tracks have been built to level the playing field instead of allowing these guys to do things that seperate themselves. I believe it was meant to make the racing more competitive for the later rounds in terms of championship races but imo it's made the racing stale.

Good luck in 2016 and beyond and congratulations on all of your success and without a doubt Pro Circuit is the bar every team strives for


1/19/2016 8:52 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/19/2016 8:53 AM

Hi Mitch,

you had several French riders within your team.
Among them, some won championships, like Pichon and Pourcel.

In your opinion, what's the main difference between an American champion and a French champion ?
(human side, and technical point of view as a rider)


1/19/2016 9:06 AM

Pro Circuit is legendary for it's parties and bachelor parties over the years in a good way. From it's Anaheim Husky days to Pro Circuit years. From your prospective, Which ones stands out over the test of time and why?


1/19/2016 9:09 AM

Hi Mitch

I heard you talk about weight/horsepower on the pulpmx show a couple of years ago and you said how many lbs that were equal to one hp but i dont remember what you said. So can you tell us again?

Thanks and good luck, always admired you and the bad ass bikes you produce every year!


1/19/2016 9:10 AM

What percentage of your parts would you estimate have their production outsourced?


1/19/2016 10:11 AM

Thank you for being yourself and never changing. I have a simple question, with the four strokes being so good these days (stock even) for a 250f, what is the best engine modifications to apply with relative low cost to make the bike crisper, cleaner, faster, and all around better. Thank you