Onetime desert-racing pro and motor-tuning specialist Mitch Payton founded Pro Circuit in 1978 at the age of 18. Early Pro Circuit customers were mostly Husqvarna-mounted desert racers and motocrossers who wanted Mitch to provide the same speed set-ups that he and his father had learned to dial in on Mitch's personal race machines. Word regarding the success of Mitch's motor-building skills traveled quickly around southern California racetracks and in no time the cult of Pro Circuit riders was formed. Mitch closed his family's Husqvarna dealership in 1980 to focus his energy on the shop's aftermarket hop-hop service business full-time.
After perfecting his skills in the black arts of cylinder porting and polishing, Mitch and his small-but-elite team of speed specialists focused their collective energy on other bike parts and other brands. Custom-tuned exhaust pipes were the first Pro Circuit high-performance accessory to roll out of Mitch's cluttered speed shop, followed by racing silencers. Pipe business was brisk, and pretty soon every PC-equipped racer was requesting PC performance modifications for other parts of their bike. Pro Circuit obliged by opening a suspension shop and expanding the available line of Pro Circuit exhaust systems and motor accessories for different bike brands. With so many Honda-, Kawasaki-, Yamaha- and Suzuki-mounted racers across the nation running Pro Circuit equipment, it didn't take long for the PC brand to start racking up championships. Pro Circuit's phenomenal racing success rekindled Mitch's competitive fires, so in early 1990 he set Pro Circuit's sights on the holy grail in off-road racing: winning a national motocross championship. But doing so would mean challenging the Big Four at their own game and would require a serious financing. To make this goal a reality, Mitch borrowed a strategy from the auto-racing game-securing a corporate sponsor. By doing this, Mitch changed the way motocross teams would be financed and packaged forever.
In 1991, Mitch and a two-man team of relatively unknown southern California motocross racers (including a kid named Jeremy McGrath) contested the AMA's supercross series under the Peak Antifreeze, Pro Circuit and Honda banners. Six months later, that team swept the 125 East and West supercross championships! Although sponsors and rider line-ups on our record-setting motocross team change from year to year, one thing always stays the same: the Pro Circuit reputation for professionalism and winning. In 1997, another pro motocross rookie-this one named Ricky Carmichael-flew Pro Circuit colors to the 125 national motocross championship that Mitch had dreamed about winning for so many years.
2006 was an incredible year for Pro Circuit. From all the amateur championships, to all the Off-Road Championships. From the World Championships, to all the AMA Championships. And don’t forget about the freestyle titles and world records. Pro Circuit was there for all of them.
But we were only there because of the dedication and determination of all the riders (whose names are listed on the left page) and teams who CHOSE to use Pro Circuit products and services to take them to the top. Thanks to everyone involved for all of your efforts. And congratulations on a great year!
And speaking of great, The Greatest of All Time, Ricky Carmichael, is now retiring. We at Pro Circuit were fortunate enough to be with Ricky from when he was winning amateur championships back in the day. He then moved up to the professional ranks in 1997, winning his first professional championship (the 1997 AMA 125cc Motocross Championship) as a rookie! He accomplished this feat as a member of our Team Splitfire Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad. Now, 14 professional championships later, he’s moving on.
Thanks Ricky, for all the exposure, all the hard work and all the memories. From all of us at Pro Circuit, we wish you continued success in the future.