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Archive for February, 2009

Freestyle Motocross Star Jeremy Lusk Dies, Is This a Sign That FMX Has Come Too Far?

The Metal Mulisha Crew. Lusk on right. Photo from Jeff Kargola.

The Metal Mulisha Crew. Jeremy Lusk on right. Photo by Jeff Kargola.

Tragically, on February 10th, 2009, freestyle motocross star Jeremy Lusk passed away due to head injuries after a failed heart-attack backflip attempt. Lusk was a star in the FMX world and a member of the renowned Metal Mulisha team. The entire motocross industry was automatically sent into a sense of shock and mourning after hearing the news. As a community, we all pulled together to remember the great rider that was Jeremy Lusk.

Looking past his death, however, I believe that this incredibly tragic event is a sign to the entire freestyle motocross industry that perhaps the evolution of the stunts performed by FMX stars has gone too far. The FMX industry has been pushing the envelope for too long, and maybe it is time for something to change.

I don’t want to make the impression that the current crop of FMX tricks don’t require incredible skills, however, it has definitely gotten to the point that a rider with the guts to huck out the latest tricks will beat out a rider with serious motocross skills.

What Caused This Transition?

The Backflip is responsible for the denaturing of FMX GuyB Photo.

The backflip is responsible for the downfall of Freestyle Motocross. Photo by GuyB.

I believe that the backflip and subsequently the variations of the backflip are 100% responsible for the mutation of FMX from a display of skill to a display of guts. The backflip has become a necessary trick in any freestyle routine. Throwing multiple backflips and backflip variations is almost a guarantee for a good score, but if you don’t do one, despite how much skill you display in the rest of your run, your chances of a top 5 or even top 10 score are slim to none.

The backflip began as a demonstration of how skilled freestyle motocross riders have become, but it has readily transformed the sport. Now the backflip has turned into an avenue for aspiring FMX stars to be skyrocketed into fame without developing the necessary skills.

Why is This Bad for the Sport?

Scott Murray did not have the skills of the real freestyle motocross stars when he attempted the double backflip. Photo by GuyB.

Obviously, this transition has been horrible for the sport of Freestyle Motocross. As the number of riders who can do a backflip has increased, more and more of the top FMX riders have become riders who are not necessarily more skilled than their competitors, but simply have more guts to, quite literally, risk their lives.

Examples of this can be seen in a very real way in the evolution of both the backflip and double backflip in freestyle motocross competitions. Arguably, the first person to ride away from a backflip in competition was Caleb Wyatt. Even as a fan of motocross in general and of FMX, I had never heard of Caleb Wyatt until he landed the first backflip. He was an absolute no one. He had not honed his skills to the level of Travis Pastrana, Mike Metzger, Brian Deegan, or any of the other old guards of FMX. He just happened to have the guys to put his life in danger time and time again in order to land the backflip.

Almost exactly the same scenario occured with the Double Backflip. While Travis Pastrana is credited


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with landing the first backflip in competion, before him came “stunt man” (I do not believe he deserves the title of freestyle motocross ride) Scott Murray who attempted it multiple times, and in the process made himself and the sport of FMX look like a total joke. Skill wise he was clearly on a lower level than every other of the competitors he was riding with, yet he continuously threw himself into double backflips, constantly crashing and making FMX look more like an exhibition than a sport.

Almost all of the “old guards” of FMX will tell you that the backflip is not a necessarily hard trick. It just takes guts. As a result, many riders have begun to rise in the sport of FMX without having the right skills to put a flowing, consistent and stylish run together. This has ultimately dumbed down the sport and devalued the work all of the past stars did to make it a legitimate motocross sport.

It is a terrible tragedy, but I believe that it has taken the death of a comrade, Jeremy Lusk, into shocking the FMX world back into reality. This tragedy will, I hope, help bring FMX back to the grassroots and back to the times where skill, not bravery dominated.

What Can Bring the Sport Back?

Travis Pastrana is an example of a skilled FMX rider. GuyB Photo.

Travis Pastrana is an example of a skilled FMX rider. Photo by GuyB.

While I do not believe that the Backflip should be banned from freestyle motocross motocross alltogether, I do believe that some serious changes must be made. While the backflip is an amazing trick and one that I believe will continue to influence the sport, I firmly believe that the influence of the backflip on the sport needs to be reduced. I am unsure of how exactly this can be accomplished, but there are a number of viable options.

Maybe the number of backflips allowed in one run should be reduced, or maybe their point value needs to be considerably reduced so that a winning run can be put together with the prescense of only one or two backflips. I believe that it needs to be possible for riders to win by displaying that they have extreme freestyle motocross skills without actually doing a backflip. Sure, it was a great way to bring the sport to the next level. But in my opinion, its value has been considerably reduced and now it much be treated like any other trick, and must not be the deciding factor in a riders run.

A more viable option, in my opinion, is to change to layout of the freestyle courses. Return the courses to primarily, or all natural terrain hits to promote the evolution of new tricks, and limit the use of the backflip. With natural hits, the riders skill becomes more important than the ability to throw useless tricks such as the backflip and the riders who truly are the best rise to the back through difficult maneuvers perfected through years of time perfecting their skills.

Various competitions have already been formed with this format, and the response has been incredible. They have allowed skilled riders to rise over lucky or brave ones and has promoted the reemergence of basic, yet skillfully complicated tricks which ruled the FMX world prior to the evolution of the backflip.

What Will I Do Until This Happens?

As a display of my disgust at the current state of the Freestyle Motocross World, I will refuse to follow the freestyle motocross community until something changes. I am sick of riders putting their lives in danger performing stunts which are not even good indicators of their skill. I want to see FMX return to the times when skill rules and talented riders rise to the top of the field.

What are your opinions regarding the current state of Freestyle Motocross? How has the death of FMX star Jeremy Lusk affected your view of the sport? Let me know in the comments!


7 Ways to Make Your Motocross Training More Effective

Floyd Landis knows how to train effectively, and you should too!

Floyd Landis knows how to train effectively, and you should too! Photo by Whileseated on Flickr

Training is a crucial part of motocross racing. It is impossible to be successful in motocross without a vigorous and effective training routine. Being fit allows you to push harder and last longer which can be extremely beneficial at rough tracks such as Southwick. Motocross is a physically demanding sport and being in excellent shape can have lasting effects on your performance.

However, most motocross athletes are novices to training. They are unaware of how to workout and how to make it as affective as possible. Here are seven ways to make your motocross training more effective.

Eat Right

Eating right is crucial to effective training. Drawing by Timothy Pearson.

Eating right is crucial to effective training. Drawing by Timothy Pearson.

I have found that most amateur motocross are notoriously bad eaters. Maybe this is as a result of the heavy influence of the energy drink market, or maybe it is due to the nutritionally lacking food sold by vendors at the races, or maybe it is a result of the fact that many motocross riders are teenagers, who also, notoriously eat badly. Regardless of the reason though, many motocross riders eat poorly, which has a significant negative impact on our training.

As a result, if you want to maximize the effect your training has on your fitness, eat right. Eating right can be an incredible task, and I am not going to begin to cover it all here, but there are some tips which should get you on the right path to eating healthier.

  • Go Organic: Organic foods contain less chemicals, more nutrients and are ultimately better for your body. They allow you to maximize the nutritional value from your food and minimize the damaging chemicals found in many of todays foods. Thankfully, organic foods are clearly labeled and can be found at many big grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Stop and Shop and, obviously, Whole Foods.
  • Eat a Big Breakfast: Eating a big breakfast prevents mid morning snacks and helps to carry you throughout your entire day nutritionally. Don’t skimp on breakfast, its an important nutritional step in your day.
  • Don’t drink your calories: Calories in a liquid format go down much easier than in solid food. Furthermore, sugary drinks such as soda contain incredible amounts of sugar and calories an considerable decrease the effectiveness of your training.

These are just a few of the ways to help improve your eating habits. In the future, I will go over the many other ways, but those are a few tips to help you get started improving your diet.

Recover After Hard Workouts

Recovery is crucial after hard workouts. Photo by danya.

Recovery is very important to maximize the effects of a hard workout. Photo by danya. on Flickr.

There is no way around it, intense workouts take a toll on your body. Whether cycling, running or lifting, exercising puts a toll on your muslces, your bones, your joints, and ultimately your mind. Almost as important as actually working out is the recovery days in between tough work outs. Whether you choose to take a day off to recover, or simply take it easy, recovery days can do wonders for your fitness.
Recovery days allow your your muscles to rest and repair themselves for another hard day. In addition, they allow your mind to rest and get recharged for another hard day in the gym or on the bike. Finally, taking an occasional day off gives you time to do other things that are crucial to your motocross success.

Take a day off from cycling to work on your bike, do a few extra laps at the practice track, get organized for the weekend or spend some time resting your mind and getting yourself in a good mental position to perform at your best during the race weekend.

Recovery is almost as important as actually exercising and without it your training routine is simply doing harm to your body and is not actually allowing your fitness to improve.

Take Your Training Indoors

Taking your training indoors can maximize your available time to train. Photo by Velo Steve.

Taking your training indoors can maximize your available time to train. Photo by Velo Steve on Flickr.

We all love sunny weather. It makes running and cycling much more enjoyable and ultimately motivates us more to get out there and exercise. However, it is not always sunny out. Whether rain, snow, ice, or wind, in New England adverse weather is unavoidable.

But, this does not mean that your training routine must be put on hold while the weather is holding you up indoors. There are a number of ways to continue training inside your home. Even if you cannot get to the gym, the show much go on as far as your training goes, here are a few ways to go that.

  • Rollers or a trainer: Rollers and trainers are excellent ways to take your cycling training indoors. Rollers help to increase your straight line stability and trainers can significantly increase the overall power of your pedal stroke. Both devices can easily be used indoors, regardless of the weather.
  • Push Ups and Sit Ups: Most people who spend a lot of time in the gym overlook push ups and sit ups as a waste of time because the effects are not as noticeable and they obviously put much less resistance on your muscles. However, the fact is that when done right, they can be very beneficial to your overall fitness. In order to maximize the effect, do many sets of many reps, do your reps slow, and don’t allow too much recovery time in between sets. While push ups and sit ups will never be as effective as lifting, they can be a great alternative if you are stuck inside.
  • Recover: I just went over how beneficial recovery is to your training. So, if your stuck inside due to inclement weather, take a day to recover so you can come back rested and recharged when the weather improves.

Find a Workout Buddy

Finding a workout buddy can make your exercise more fun and thus more effective. Photo by Adrià garcía.

Finding a workout buddy can make your training more fun and thus more effective. Photo by “Adrià garcía on Flickr.

One of the toughest parts about keeping your motocross training effective is working out when you plan to. There is no denying that some days, you just don’t feel like getting on the bike and putting in a hard 60 mile ride. This is where a workout buddy comes in. Having a friend to work out with is a great way to stay motivated.

Working out with a friend as opposed to doing your exercises solo can benefit your training in a number of ways. Not only does planning workouts with a buddy keep you on track and makes skipping a workout less convenient, but exercising with a friend can be incredibly motivating.

While running, riding, or lifting by yourself, it is too easy to give up when the going gets tough and let up while in the middle of a tough climb. I’m not saying everyone will give in, but the vast majority will, and this limits how effective your training can be. Thankfully, working out with a partner can help to eliminate this and as a pair you can push yourself to new levels and allow you to go further on the bike, running, or in the gym than you ever thought you could.

Develop a Schedule

Having a schedule can keep your training on track. Photo by roland.

Having a schedule can help keep your training on track. Photo by Roland on Flickr.

Another tip to help prevent missed workouts, developing a schedule can be infinitely useful in keeping your training on track. Formulating a set in stone schedule not only allows you to easily plan around when you will be working out, it also allows your body to adjust to your workout/recovery cycle. A predetermined schedule prevents you from the dangerous cycle of extremely hard periods of training followed by extended periods of rest. Instead, having a good schedule can ensure that you get a consistent amount of training in week in and week out.

Furthermore, having a schedule can make your life easier when it is time to increase your training regime. With a good solid schedule as a starting point, it is easier to add a number of miles to certain days when you know you feel the freshest in your week.

I strongly feel that most athletes do not plan their training regime enough and rather just train when they feel like it which is both inefficient and can be quite dangerous.

Push Yourself To the Edge

Pushing yourself to the edge can do wonders for your fitness. Photo by pl jakub.

Pushing yourself to the edge can do wonders for your fitness. Photo by pl jakub on Flickr.

While it is important to ensure that your training and your workouts are all done safely and within your own personal limits, it is equally important to take certain days out of your schedule and really push yourself to the bitter edge. It is almost impossible to ever improve in your fitness if you always ride within your comfort level. Instead, it is crucial to push yourself as far as you can, essentially to the verge of failure.

This will benefeit your training in a number of ways. Not only will it test your body so you know exactly how much your training has improved your fitness, but it also pushes your muslces to an area of fatigue that they are not adjusted too which makes it easier to go to that same level next time. Essentially, this will ultimately allow you to increase your lactate threshold which helps build stronger muscles and ultimately increases your fitness. Here are a few ways for you to push your training to a whole new level.

Cario Exercises (running/cycling):

  • Distance: Manny cardio athletes have a certain distance they are comfortable with. For me, this is about 60 miles cycling and 3 miles running (I don’t run a lot). One way to push yourself to the edge is to increase this distance. The key, however, is to not give up. Many people would be surprised to see how far they can actually ride/run, and the key is to push yourself up the last hill on your ride and push yourself to spring the last 100m after a long run. It is tough to do, and takes a certain amount of mental integrity, but can have an incredible effect on your fitness.
  • Hills: Every cyclist and running dreads hills. They take an incredible amout of extra energy and force your body to push it self beyond its comfort zone. However, as a result riding hills can increase your fitness far beyond the normal riding. Try to find a loop around your home with a number of long, steep hills in quick recession to really test and improve your fitness.
  • Workout with someone stronger: When your workout by yourself, you naturally get into a comfort level and it is very hard to push yourself past this. However, working out with a friend who is stronger and more fit than you can have great effects on your training intensity. Working out as a pair can help motivated you and help push yourself when you are struggling. As motocross racers, we are all incredibly competitive and mentally we have a hard time letting someone beat us up a hill or through a flat. There is almost no more affective way to push your training to a new level then training with someone who is stronger than you.

Strength Training (Lifting):

  • More weight: Obviously the more weight you lift, the stronger you get and the more you can push your body. However, you must be careful with this technique. It is easy to lift too much and severely hurt your muscles. So, if you choose to increase your weight in your weight training, please be sure not to push yourself too far or you could find yourself unable to ride motocross for weeks or even months.
  • More Reps: An extremely effective way to increase your fitness using weight training is to increase the number of reps you do with the same amount of weight. This is a very safe way to increase your fitness and can build strong, lean, and efficient muscles which can be very beneficial to your motocross riding.

Variety in Your Routine

It is both physically and mentally draining to do the same type of workouts day in and day out. It is hard to get motivated for a road bike ride when you know you’ll just have to climb the same hills, tuck in the same descents and deal with the same stoplights. It is much easier to get excited to workout for a new ride or run with new features to test your body in different ways. This is why it is almost crucial to build variety into your workout routine. Variety helps keeps you mentally and physically fresh and prevents you from burning out and abandoning your intense training schedule all together.

Here are a few ways to build variety into your workout schedule:

  • Different exercises: Mix it up. Lift one day, cycle the next and run on the others. Depending on what you enjoy doing, favor your schedule to that activity, but always be sure to do a little bit of what you don’t enjoy as much. Not only will it make your favored activity even better but it will help to build different muscles which otherwise would go ignored.
  • Different routes: Map out a number of routes on Google Maps and print them out. Cycle them throughout your training schedule to keep it fresh and exciting.
  • Different time of day: Depending on your schedule, this method may or may not be possible, however, riding/running/lifting at different times of day can add a ton of variety to your training. Cycling/running in the morning is a totally different experience than in the evening and can make your training unique even if the route and intensity are exactly the same.
  • Recover: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again, because it is incredibly important. Recovery is crucial in your training routine and your hard work is wasted if you don’t give your muscles time to re-grow, get stronger and prepare themselves for the next days workout. Make sure to include one or two days a week for recovery so that you are not constantly beating your body into the ground.

Training for motocross can be monotonous, painful, and sometimes ineffective if done incorrectly. However, there are a number of tips to help make your motocross training not only more effective, but more importantly more enjoyable which will help motivate you to train more, preventing burnout and maximizing your results to have the largest effect on the motocross track.


Let the Kids Ride! New CPSC Act Essentially Outlaws Youth Motocross

The CPSC has effectively outlawed youth motocross

Effective February 10th, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has effectively outlawed all power sports equipment for children under the age of 13. Connecticut residents will recall in years past where motocross racing was outlawed for children under the age of 13. This new act, however, is quite different. It outlaws the sale of both new units but also parts for late model vehicles due to their high lead content. From the article on Racer X:

We have already begun to experience the devastating consequences of this new legislation upon our sport, as OEMs have already pulled these machines from their showroom floors. Youth racing is the foundation of our sport. That is when most of you fell in love with motorcycles in the first place, only to grow up to bring your own kids back to the racetracks. Only now, they can't ride.

This recent act has all but shut down the entire small powersports industry in all of America. From racing to riding, children under the age of 13 are facing a future without motocross. This is, obviously, horrible for the entire industry and will affect bike sales throughout the lineup, not just for smaller models.

We All Know Lead is Bad

Lead is a toxic substance, but youth motocross should not be banned!

Photo by NIOSH on Flickr.

Let’s face it, lead is a dangerous substance. Everyone knows it. It has caused thousands of health issues throughout our country, and the changes we have made as a country in the past years are remarkable. There is no doubt that lead needs to be all but eliminated in our world.

On the contrary, this recent move by the CPSC is irrational to say the least. While I do believe that in the long term, lead should be eliminated the truth is that lead, along with many other toxic chemicals, it is, and has been for many years, in motocross bike parts. Has this ever caused health issues for the thousands of youths who enjoy motocross each year? Have you ever heard reports of children becoming sick due to use of their motorcycle? Absolutely not. The lead in motorcycles is not in a position to harm the children, and while I still believed it should be eliminated, it is not of direct harm to young motocross riders.

Slower Transition

So what would be the best way to go about removing lead form children’s (and adult’s) motocross bikes? A slow, gradual transition to lead free components. Rather then outlawing the current models in one broad swoop, the CPSC should have set a series of guidelines set to gradually eliminate lead in all motorcycles within the next 5 to 10 years. This could have included an act for motorcycle manufacturers to have the lead content down to 50% of what it is today by 2010, 25% by 2012, 12% by 2014 and totally eliminated by 2016. This method would have been both safe, economically feasible, and controlled. However, rather than do what is rational, the CPSC decided to essentially eliminate nearly half of the motorcycle/motocross industries market in one act.

Economic Impact of the Ban

There is no doubt that our world, country, and industry are in tough economic times. While the motocross industry may not be a huge economic boom to the small towns visited by motocross races throughout the summer months, it does provide a small economic boost to the small mom and pop stores surrounding the tracks we love. In addition, motocross is an economic dependency for track and shop owners alike.

This recent ban which eliminates the market for children’s motocross will have short and long term effects on the motocross economy. In the short term, track and shop owners profits will be cut nearly in half. With almost half of their demographic eliminated, they will quickly fall into economic turmoil. Motorcycle shops and track are already in a tough situation economically, but without little Johnny running around the shop begging Dad for the latest gear, they will be hit even harder. We all know that small children are a huge market, and this recent ban eliminates that market, and with it, almost instantly limits the potential profits of many motorcycle based businesses.

The long term effects, however, are even more frightening. Without a strong youth rider base, the entire motocross industry will quickly decline. The youth are the heart, the soul, and the backbone of the motocross industry. Who begs their parents to take them to the track every weekend? Who convinces their dad to hop back on a bike after 20 years of not riding? Who stays up late on Saturday nights to watch the live broadcast of Anaheim 1? Under 13 year old motocross fanatics, thats who.

Without this entire group ever being exposed to motocross, amateur races will be in desperate need for riders, and the entire skill level of the sport will drop significantly. For example, Ryan Villopoto went pro at age 16. If he had never raced a dirt bike before

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the age of 13, do you believe he would have been as good as he was at age 16? Absolutely not! Not only will it be harder to get gets interested in motocross at age 13, but it will take more time for their skills develop to the point that they can make a serious contribution to the sport on the pro level.

This ban immediately eliminates the youth motocross market, and leaves the sport in a situation where future talent will be hard to come by, and riders will no longer peak at the age of 16, but at a much later age, if at all.

Motocross is a Family Sport

Motocross is a Family Sport

Photo by Fazen on Flickr.

Anyone who rides, or has ever ridden a dirt bike has certainly noticed one thing, it brings families together. Motocross families are some of the tightest knit clans that I know. We spend every weekend traveling hours, setting up hundreds of pounds of equipment and racing in some of the gnarliest conditions known to man. Our grit and determination helps families to relate to each other and ultimately results in more dynamic family values and relationships.

By this same virtue, motocross racers are some of the best kids I know. Determined, focused, and hard working, motocross teaches kids a host of important life skills that would be impossible to learn anywhere else. Motocross helps keep kids off the streets, and ultimately starts them off the path to a better life. Motocross keeps kids out of trouble, which is extremely important in this current era when drugs, crimes and juvenile deliquesce runs rampant amongst most teens.

This ban by the CPSC, completely eliminates this strong central bonding experience which has helped to bring families together, and has shaped thousands of children’s lives. Ultimately this will result in less kids riding dirt bikes and more kids getting into drugs and crime. I know that motorcycling and thus motocross has a connotation as somewhat of a rebellious sport, but the truth is that it is good for children of all ages and teaches them crucial values. Without it, many kids will be lost in their lives, with nothing to strive and nothing to work for, and as a result will find other uses of their time. Uses that are both detrimental to themselves and their society.

Lets Work Together to Stop This Ban!

Kid on a dirt bike

Photo by Paul Buckley.

Don’t let the government and the CPSC step all over yours and your children’s rights to ride motocross. We need to work together in order to stop this ban and bring back children’s motocross. Here is a list of things you can do in order to help the situation.

  • Spread the Word: Do you have a podcast or blog? Are you active on social networks? Leverage this communities to your advantage. Spread the word of this atrociety and make sure that all of your friends are aware of the ban and are helping in the fight.
  • Submit a Letter: The following letter has been prepared by the MIC to be sent to the CPSC in support of the petition and ultimately in support of the removal of this ban. Download CPSC Letter Here
  • Sign the Petition: visit, submit your info and sign the petition.
  • Write to your Congressmen and Senators: Let them know the far reaching affects of this law and the many benefits provided to families by the small powers ports industry.

    **Thanks to Commenter Joe Roth, I have been made aware of an automatic system to submit a letter to your congressmen and senators which has been set up by the AMA. Check out the AMA's Rapid Response System right away.**

  • Watch and Spread the Video: Matt Wozney of MXPTV has produced an awesome video regarding the ban. Watch it, spread the link, and embed it on your site. The more people aware of this issue the better.

This ban is, and will continue to be incredible detrimental to our sport, our families and our industry. Hopefully we can work together to get this banned as I fully believe that it is 100% out of line, unconstitutional and will have incredible impact on thousands of young children in the years to come.


How Team Monster Energy Pro Circuit Can Turn Has-Beens Into Heroes

Pro Circuit Monster Energy Kawasaki

-Photo by

If you’ve been following AMA Motocross and Supercross for any period of time whatsoever, you have surely hear of the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki Lites team. Run by Mitch Payton and the rest of the Pro Circuit crew, the team has had incredibly stellar results since its inception and has dominated AMA Pro Racing for many years.

The question many Supercross and Motocross spectators are left asking is, how do they do it? How can the Pro Circuit team take a traditionally mediocre rider and turn them into a superstar? The number of careers this team has turned around is amazing. Here are the secrets behind their operation and how they manage to churn out champion after champion.

Technologically Advanced Motocross Bikes

Pro Circuit has the nicest bikes in the pro pits. Photo by Paul Buckley.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

Pro Circuit is by far the largest, most successful and most technologically advanced motor modification shop in the pro pits. They know how to make bikes go fast, and they know how to do some effectively and reliably. A testament to this is the fact that they provide exhaust systems for Factory Connection Honda, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Makita Suzuki. These relationships allow them to produce some of the best exhaust systems and allows them to learn the ins and outs of how to get the most power out of every type of bike. In addition, they build motors for Factory Connection Honda and for their own team which provides them with the knowledge of what it takes to make motors go fast and last in Supercross and Motocross.

More importantly, however, they have been building Kawasaki motors for their own team since 1993. This long term relationship with Kawasaki provides them with incredible knowledge of how Kawasaki motors work and how exactly to make Kawasaki motors go blazing fast. They have been building KX250fs since 2004 meaning they have more experience than anyone in making kawasaki four strokes go fast.

What does this mean for the riders? Essentially it means that every rider on Team Pro Circuit is on the absolute best equipment, and they know it. Granted, all factory equipment is top notch, but Monster Energy Pro Circuit bikes are just above the standard. This gives riders the confidence that they have the best bikes and that everything other riders can do, they can do. If someone on another team hits a certain rhythm section, the riders on Pro Circuit bikes know that they have the ability to do it. This confidence is not empty, either. They are backed by powerful and well handling bikes which allow them to ride at incredible speeds.

The incredible speed of the Pro Circuit bikes sky rockets riders to the front of the pack and allows them to turn slow, awkward and unusual lines and rhythms into surprisingly fast, smooth and ultimately race winning routes.

In House Development and R&D

Pro Circuit is Undeniably #1 in the AMA Lites Class. Photo by Guy B
-Photo by Guy B.

Because Pro Circuit is a full fledged modification shop, they have the technology, machinery, and knowledge to produce a full fleet of aftermarket parts for their race team. This always them to produce almost every on their race bikes, in-house. While this may seem like a close-minded approach to running a race team, in fact it is one of the most beneficial factors to the Pro Circuit team.

This approach to race team parts allows Team Pro Circuit to ensure absolute perfectionism on their race bikes. In doing everything themselves, it gives the Pro Circuit team the ability to make sure every part, nut, and bolt is absolutely perfect, and allows them to completely eliminate mistakes in the race bike building process. by eliminating middle-men in the products and services used in their race bikes, they can lower costs and maximize performance. It allows them to reduce the number of mechanical failures due to mistakes by people of other companies.

This in house development also allows them to be more experimental in their modifications as they do not have to wait for a 3rd party to do their porting or to machine pieces for them. If they want a certain part, they can have it made and ready to be used in hours.

However, this approach does occasionally backfire. Like at Southwick in 2004 when almost all of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki 250f motors failed due to a decision made by Mitch Payton to use an experimental metal in their pistons. While this decision clearly hurt those riders on that day, overall this risk reward ratio has clearly benefitted the team as a whole in the past 15 years.

History of Excellence

Ricky Carmichael began his career on a Pro Circuit bike. Photo by Paul Buckley.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

Team Pro Circuit is notoriously fast, relentless and aggressive. Just the sight of their rig in the pits inspires fear into the hearts of their competitors. This reputation is not in vain, either. It is the direct result of years of successful riders and over 22 AMA Championships. The team almost always fields successful riders and not being a top contender on a Pro Circuit bike is extremely rare.

This reputation helps their riders in two ways. Fi

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rst of all, it gives them incredible confidence. Any rider lining up with a PC bike between their legs knows that they are on the best team in the AMA pits and that everyone else on the line knows this. Riding a Pro Circuit bike gives riders of any ability a sense of belonging and a sense of entitlement to the podium. When you ride a Pro Circuit bike, you ride fast, and you get results. No exceptions.

In addition, the history of the Pro Circuit team helps the riders by making them appear faster, and possibly even more talented to their competitors. From a riders point of view, trying to hold off a rider on a Pro Circuit bike, is an extremely daunting task. Just knowing that the rider behind you impressed the infamous Mitch Payton enough to earn a spot on the Pro Circuit team tells you as a rider that they have serious skills on a motocross bike, and are on the equipment to put them to good use. As a rider, it is extremely difficult to muster up the confidence to hold off a Pro Circuit rider

Expect Excellence and Excellence Will Follow

Pro Circuit expects their riders to be excellent. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

Due to the history of the Pro Circuit team, the riders are simply expected to do good. There is absolutely no exceptions to this rule. Mitch Payton expects his riders to be the best, and he gets what he wants. This aspect of the Pro Circuit team benefits riders by motivating them to train day in and day out, with no exception.

When you are expected to do well, it is extremely easy to get motivated to work hard and try your best. Similarly, when your expectations are low, your results will probably be low as well. This is one of the reasons Pro Circuit riders do so well. They are motivated by their teams, and the public’s expectations of them. They have no other excuses to do bad, other than their own actions. If they don't perform, every knows it is 100% because they failed to prepare. They cannot blame the bike, the team, or the atmosphere. Team Pro Circuit has perfected 75% of their riders programs. The last 25% is up to them, and because they are held to such high standards, they are motivated to live up to the expectations.

Surrounding the Riders With Good People

Team Pro Circuit surrounds their riders with good people. Guy B Photo.
-Photo by Guy B.

We have seen recently in the latest Jason Lawrence debacle that surrounding yourself with good people and making good choices can have a huge effect on your racing. Surrounding yourself with good people who act as a good influence on your racing is crucial to your training and racing. A good support base not only helps motivate you, but also help to bring you up when your feeling down. Let's face it, no when is 100% every time they ride. We all have bad days, and having a strong support can help bring you up from these slumps. It's hard to stay motivated after a few bad races, but a helpful group of supporters can make this much easier.

Pro Circuit, makes this even more possible by their riders. All the riders on the team are good people, the mechanics educated, focused, and skilled, and the rest of the crew is trained and know exactly what their job is and how to do it in the best way possible. This strong support group helps the Pro Circuit riders to make good choices, and provides them with the support they need when they are down and out. This support lifts the Pro Circuit riders up after every moto and helps motivate them to come back swinging each week to support their strong supportive group.

Mitch Payton is a Recruiting Genius

Mitch Payton knows a talented rider when he sees one. Photo by Guy B.
-Photo by Guy B.

Granted, the Pro Circuit team is an amazing environment for professional riders. However, the truth is that not every one could be turned into a hero simply by riding for the Pro Circuit team. Mitch Payton knows a good rider when he sees one, and he doesn't necessarily base his choices solely off speed. He knows when he sees potential to be a leader and a winner. These smart recruiting tactics allow the Pro Circuit team to take a group of mediocre riders and use their advantages to propel the riders to the front of the Lites class. Without these tactics, the entire Pro Circuit infrastructure would be wasted on riders with no potential. Thankfully, Mitch Payton's incredibly keen eye for talented riders stops this from happening.

Could this System Work for Everyone?

No. While the entire Pro Circuit ecosystem is incredible at turning mediocre professionals into leaders on the Lites class, there is no way this same system could work for amateur riders. The whole idea of excellent equipment, menacing reputation, and a strong support group is entirely wasted if the riders talent isn't there. Talent, speed, and skill is still the number one contributing factor in the success of professional motocross racers, and a rider lacking these qualities will not last long in the pro ranks.

Mitch Payton has built an incredible team with his Pro Circuit racing squad. They have shockingly fast bikes, are preceded by an intimidating reputation and follow through with Earth-shattering results. The Pro Circuit team is by far the most successful AMA Lites team in recent history, and with the strong base that has been built up in the past 18 years, they will continue to dominate the AMA Lites class for many more years to come.