Throttle talks about his new gig
Throttle talks about his new gig
Jon Mitcheff of Pro Circuit proves the old saying “You can never go home again” is bunk. Commonly referred to as Throttle in the pits, Jon spent his formative years at Pro Circuit wrenching for Ivan Tedesco and Ryan Villopoto before leaving with RV to go to Factory Kawasaki. From there he was the team manager at Valli Yamaha the last couple of years and now, he’s back at PC and couldn’t be any happier. I called Throttle up to chat about his return.
Me: Jon, talk about your return to Pro Circuit.
Jon Mitcheff: It’s really good, I’m very happy to be back and to be honest, it feels like I never left. I belong here, I’m happy here and this is where I have the most fun and that’s the honest truth. I should have never left.
You went to PC shortly after the season ended, what made it so attractive to you to head back?
Early in the summer, I knew Mitch (Payton) would have some job openings coming up and he asked me about it at some point. I thought it over a bit and then told him I was interested in it. It’s kind of what I wanted to do, it’s kind of where I belong- it’s what brought me out to California in the first place. It’s a good place to work, it gives me some stability and there aren’t too many jobs in the industry that can offer you that. I’m not getting any younger! Things were falling apart at Valli and I didn’t know what Chad (Lanza- owner of Valli) had in mind and I wasn’t going to stick around to find out. So then they decided to continue on and I’m happy for them for me, I just felt like it was time for me to head back to Pro Circuit.
Did you enjoy your two years managing a team?
I did, it was fun. It had its ups and downs and I got to see both sides of our sport, the manager side with all the contracts and all that. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I really enjoy building engines and doing things like that and that’s what I get to do at Pro Circuit. I’m having more fun here for sure.
Any regrets for you as a manager? What would you change if you could?
The things that frustrated me was not having the full reigns to do what we wanted to do and it was Chad’s money- I totally understand that. Sometimes he tried to run it like a construction business and it didn’t work which made it frustrating. Other than that, it was fun.
I have no regrets at all, I did it the way I wanted to and if someone asked me to manage their program, I would turn them down. I’m happy here at Pro Circuit and I hope to be here for a long time. I know everyone here, we all get along and this place is great.
How has Mitch Payton changed since you last worked there?
He’s got more grey hair, that’s about it! (Laughs). He hasn’t changed, he’s always had my back from day 1 and I’ve always had his back. Within a couple of days, it felt like I had never left. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do.
What about your time at Factory Kawasaki with RV, it didn’t last too long. What happened there?
I shouldn’t have left, I should’ve stayed at Pro Circuit and it wasn’t a good decision to go there. It is what it is and I’m not sure the reason why I’m not there but I’m sure everyone in the industry knows why (laughs). (Pause)…It is what it is and it didn’t work out. We’re still friends and I still root for Ryan at the races.
What’s your role at Pro Circuit?
I’m basically the R&D in the back from all customer parts for Pro Circuit. My job is to tear apart all the brand new units and spec them out. I build the engines up with PC products, dyno them and try to make each bike better each year. I’m helping out with the race team however they need, if they need an engine built, I’ll be there.
So you’re really stepping back this year from the grind of being at the races, are you going to miss it?
No not really. I’m totally fine with that. I’ll do some west coast races with the guys as we have Broc Tickle on a 450 and we won’t have a lot of hands around with the 250 guys. However Mitch needs me, I’ll be there. You know how it is, it’s time to travel less and you’ve been through this. The travelling sucks after a period of time and it’s nice to know I won’t have to go to every race. Mitch asked me to go to some of these amateur nationals and it was cool, I’d never done them before and it’s nice to see the up and coming riders.
You’re going to have your hands in a lot of parts that the customers buy from Pro Circuit and that has to be a little exciting for you- to have a direct hand in that.
Yeah it is. It will be a lot of amateur and pro guys that will run our parts at the races and it’s cool to know that it will be something we developed and I’ll get to run it. Hopefully I will get to build some of their engines along the way as well
Give me your best Nick Wey story from working with him.
(Laughs) there are too many. He’s a funny dude, an awesome guy and he’s actually running some Pro Circuit stuff on his new bike and has been in the shop a whole bunch lately. I don’t even know where to start, there are so many stories with that guy.
Give me your best Austin Stroupe story from working with him?
Too many to tell about that guy also. I will say this, you never know which story to believe when he tells you one though!