JUSTIN HILL &
The younger brother of former 450 AMA
Supercross winner Josh Hill, Justin Hill graduated to the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team in
2013. Hill rode for Mitch Payton’s team for
two years and scored 10 top fives and one win
(San Diego 2014). When KTM came calling in
2015, Mitch didn’t engage in a bidding war.
Mitch was not happy with Justin’s attitude
and was willing to let him go.
In 2015 Justin was the “official” KTM 250
rider—the other KTM 250 riders were on the
Troy Lee Designs team. But, at the end of an
injury-riddled 2015 season, Roger sent Justin
Hill to the Troy Lee Designs team for 2016.
There is no doubt that it was a demotion, but
if Justin was upset over the change, it didn’t
show on the track. Hill was impressive in his
first three starts for Troy Lee Designs. He was
fifth at the 250 East opener in Atlanta, second
in Daytona and first in Toronto. A week later,
in Detroit, he suffered a concussion. He didn’t
return until the AMA 250 Nationals started,
then hurt his back after the first two rounds
and missed the next six. At the end of the
series, the Troy Lee Designs team and Justin
Hill parted ways.
In just four years, Justin Hill had been on
three different teams. And while there were
moments of excellence—wins in 2014 San
Diego, 2016 Toronto and the 2014 East/West
Shootout—Justin Hill was getting an “
unwanted” reputation. That’s when help came from
an unlikely source—Mitch Payton. Mitch is
famous for resurrecting the careers of riders
who have fallen out of favor. Mitch decided to
gamble on the rider that he was glad to get
rid of two years earlier.
Justin Hill says, “I have been through some
things, and not all good things. In the past,
when I had the ability, the speed and the fitness, I don’t think that I gave it everything I
could have given it. There was a lot left on the
table over the last four years coming into this
one. The game plan is to keep the mentality
that I want to win every single time I ride.
That’s it!” Thanks to Mitch Payton’s gamble,
Justin Hill got another chance to shine.