MITCH PAYTON'S SUPERSONIC PLAYBOOK: PART SIX
Casting one’s eyes upon championship-winning motocross bikes—the actual bikes that crossed finish lines to win number-one plates—can be, if one is open to it, a mesmerizing crash course in moto history. Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in the lobby of the big white building visible from the 91 freeway in Corona, California. Motocross Action swung by Pro Circuit to catch up with Pro Circuit overlord and mastermind Mitch Payton. We let Mitch hand picked six of the bikes in his museum. Here is bike number six.
By Eric Johnson/Photos: Ryne Swanberg
RYAN VILLOPOTO’S 2007 MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KX250F
THE RYAN-VERSUS-BEN RIVALRY: “2007 was Ryan’s second year with us. He was fast the year before when he won the outdoor title and came into the 2007 outdoor series with the number-one plate. We hired Ben Townley for 2007, and he won the East Supercross Championship, which was an awesome deal. So, heading into outdoors, both Ryan and Ben had won Supercross titles in ’07, and a lot of people thought we were going to have all these problems between the two under the tent. Before the outdoors started, I talked to everybody and said, ‘Look, we have to make sure that doesn’t happen because everybody thinks it’s going to go down between Ryan and Ben.’ It was never a problem. They were really good with each other. They had a rivalry, but they were friendly with each other. Those two guys, Ryan and Ben, they kept it together. They were teammates, and they both wanted to win, and they gave it their all. At the end of the season, Ryan won and Ben gave him all he could handle.”
RYAN AT THE MXDN: “At the end of 2007 we went to Budds Creek for the Motocross des Nations. We had Ben and Ryan on our bikes, and Antonio Cairoli was coming over on a 250, so we wanted a chance to go at him. Ben crashed in practice and hurt his shoulder and couldn’t ride. Team USA qualified first with Ryan, Ricky and Timmy Ferry. We had first gate pick for the opening moto, and the team gave the inside gate to Ryan. The inside is the best gate. Ryan ripped out of the start and turned the corner and just laid down some incredible laps right off the bat. He had a big lead and was gone—long gone. In the second moto it happened again. He got the holeshot, turned that corner, went up that hill, jumped, went into the back and came out. Two seconds, three seconds, five seconds and he was just gone. It was amazing. He led every single lap of the des Nations in the 250 and 450 class and won the overall. Still, to this day, there hasn’t been a 125 or 250F guy that’s been able to do that. Ryan was one of those guys who was really special. What he did when he was riding was absolutely amazing.”
MITCH PAYTON’S SUPERSONIC PLAYBOOK LIBRARY
To read Part One on Jeremy McGrath’s 1992 Team Peak Honda, click here.
To read Part Two on Mickael Pichon’s 1995 SplitFire KX125, click here.
To read Part Three on Ricky Carmichael’s 1997 SplitFire KX125, click here.
To read Part Four on Mike Brown’s 2001 MXDN KX125, click here.
To read Part Five on Ivan Tedesco’s 2004 Kawasaki KX250F, click here.
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