Insight: Mitch Payton

Insight Mitch Payton

February 3, 2014 12:00pm

Dean Wilson’s 250SX win in Anaheim was a big deal, not only because it’s the first win of the year for Dean and his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, but because a victory was stolen from his last week due to a freak bike malfunction. Dean was already outta there by the time we got to the truck after the race, but we found his team owner, Mitch Payton to get his take on the day—which was full of victories.

Racer X: He did it! Rode great, fantastic. Dean Wilson won. He looked so good all day long.
Mitch Payton: I think Dean rode really good today. I think in his practices he was really fast. In the main event he got a decent start and I think he rode really good. By talking to Dean after the race he thought that he was trying to be patient. He thought the track was pretty slick, thought that there wasn’t much traction so he was trying to be real careful. And then he would try to wait until the last five laps and then put a push on. For me I thought that was okay but I wished he would have done it at maybe the halfway point and got closer. He could have gotten stuck behind a lapper or something like that, that could have been bad. But I was pumped for him. I’m really, really happy. For Dean, it’s going to be a big deal. Last week was a big deal and this week is a better deal. We’re closer in the points and that’s going to help a lot. He rode awesome. Actually little [Justin]  Hill rode really good tonight too and he got banged around the first turn and hurt his thumb a little bit but he finished it off. It would have been nice if he was on the podium but for real it’s still great. For points it was great and awesome.

Last year you and I talked about Hill. There’s no doubt you were a little frustrated with him. I was wondering what’s this guy going to do. He’s turned it around. He’s been much-improved this year.
I don’t know why, and it was nothing to do with what I did, I think it was just him, but somehow after outdoors when he came back and he rode supercross he was a new guy. When I saw him ride supercross last year I was actually disappointed, and then this year when I saw him ride supercross I’m like, “Wow, he’s fresh.” That’s the guy that I thought we bought. When we rebuilt our track at Glen Helen he was like the very first guy to do every obstacle that everybody was doing. Everybody else would wait and then all of a sudden he was doing it so they were doing it because he was doing it. I think Justin’s got a lot more to show. I believe he’ll be on the podium and it wouldn’t be crazy to say I think he can win a race this year too.

Dean Wilson's win in Anaheim was the first for Pro Circuit in 2014.
Dean Wilson's win in Anaheim was the first for Pro Circuit in 2014. Photo: Simon Cudby

You told me that. I got to admit I kind of laughed at you but maybe you’re right. Maybe you do know what you’re talking about.
He’s a better kid this year. He’s confident and he’s aggressive. What he’s doing, you see it in practice, he puts his number on the board. I think he can win a race this year for sure.

The problem last week in Oakland (with Wilson’s bike), as much as you want to get into it and talk to us about it, did you A.) Figure it out B.) Isolate it C.) Try not to make it happen again? Or was it something weird and fluky?
Maybe weird and fluky. We tried everything we could do to duplicate it. We spent quite a bit of time on that this week. We did do something different this week to stop that and it was an electrical problem. But it was hard to duplicate. We spent two days on a dyno. We burned up Dean’s race bike, really. Just took it back straight from the track and put it on the dyno and then we spent hours and hours and hours, did this, did that, wiggled wires, did all the stuff. I think we found something that we believe is the cause. So we made a change and I believe that we found it.

Today we held our goggle shootout for Racer X Films, you helped time it. I got second but your goggle guy, John Knowles from Scott, got the win, even though Oakley had the quick lens. It just speaks for John Knowles’ character and skills to come out on top like that. A grueling battle.
I was actually amazed at all of you guys. If I built a set of goggles, I don’t know how fast I could build them, but putting them in there and doing all the stuff, all three of you guys did really good. I must admit I wasn’t watching you because I’d have to take my eye off John, and Hedgie [from Oakley] was in front of him, so I was watching the two of them and their little fingers were just going crazy. They were so nervous. John struggled getting the lens in the frame right off the bat and then when it went to the tear-offs—him and Hedgie were just going crazy. And then all of a sudden I think you got second, Hedgie got third. I believe they’re going to do an East Coast shootout again, so we have a fresh one for the East Coast and everybody can warm up. But Knowles I think is a three-time undisputed champion, so Scott goggles, Scott USA, has never been beat. So I think that’s the best goggle you could buy. I think Oakley’s going to work on some new stuff. I think they’re talking about training and different things they can do.

"We burned up Dean’s race bike, really. Just took it back straight from the track and put it on the dyno and then we spent hours and hours and hours, did this, did that, wiggled wires, did all the stuff." Photo: Simon Cudby

[Anthony] Paggio [from Oakley] was bummed.
It could be that Paggio is going to be in the next shootout so he can make a shot at it too. I believe John says he thinks if he does it correct he can do it in about 11 seconds.

Congratulations for making me laugh the hardest today when Knowles and Hedgie were talking about whether they would stand or sit to build the goggles. You said, “I would probably sit down if it was me. I think I’d prefer that.”
What I said was if I was going to build a goggle, I wouldn’t be standing. I think I’d probably sit down. And then they kind of looked at me and they were like, “That’s true, you wouldn’t be standing.”

Thanks, Mitch.
You’re welcome. Thanks Dean Wilson and thanks Hill. You guys killed it. You guys are coming back and it’s awesome. I’m pumped to be happy.