There are a lot more motorcycle racers who are legendary than there are race team owners. However, Mitch Payton is definitely an exception to the rule. That’s not to say Payton wasn’t a top desert racer in his day with a District 37 125cc class title to his name. However, he is definitely much better known for the company he started as a teenager 42 years ago—Pro Circuit Products. In fact, Payton is famous and popular enough that he justifies a t-shirt with his image—The Great Race Tee by Pro Circuit.
Unapologetically retro in design with a classic Pro Circuit logo on the front reminding us that the company has been around since 1978, the designers went all in for the ’70s on the great. It features a stylized rendition of a Ford van emblazoned with Anaheim Husqvarna on its side and Payton’s head sticking out the window. A burnout is being performed, with flames shooting from the side exhausts. It says: “Saddleback Park to Anaheim Husqvarna” with Anaheim California 1978 beneath it.
The t-shirt has a history. It was a limited-edition freebie when Payton was given the Edison Dye Lifetime Achievement Award last year. Well, it’s no longer a freebie or a limited edition. Pro Circuit will be selling the shirt to the public for $21, in sizes SM through XXXL.
Payton started Team Pro Circuit in 1991 to sponsor supercross and motocross racers, usually in the support class. Championship riders on Team Pro Circuit motorcycles include current racers Adam Cianciarulo, Blake Baggett, Dean Wilson, Broc Tickle, and Justin Hill, along with past greats Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Villopoto, Christophe Pourcel, Jake Weimer, Grant Langston, Mickaël Pichon, Nathan Ramsey, Ivan Tedesco, Ben Townley, Jimmy Gaddis, and Shea Bentley.
Currently, the team is named Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. It competes in the 250cc class in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. Riding for the team is Austin Forkner, Jordon Smith, Garrett Marchbanks, and Cameron McAdoo.
Additionally, Pro Circuit is a full-service race shop with in-house motor building and suspension mods. Plus, Pro Circuit offers a mind-bending number of products for motocross and supercross competitors to install themselves.