AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST August 2019
J.D. Beach wins pro flat track, road racing events on consecutive weekends
Achievement Reminiscent Of Nicky Hayden’s 2002 Season
It was a memorable pair of weekends in late April and early May for Owensboro, Ky., rider J.D. Beach. The Yamaha-mounted Estension Racing rider scored his first American Flat Track victory of 2019 at the Wildhorse TT in Chandler, Ariz., on April 27.
On May 5, Beach added some knee pucks to his leathers and won a MotoAmerica AMA Superbike race at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.
Beach became the first rider to win a top-class flat track race and an AMA
Superbike race in the same season since AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and Owensboro resident Nicky Hayden won the Peoria TT and multiple AMA Superbike races in 2002.
The MotoAmerica victory also had a special meaning for Beach and his friend, Hayden Gillim, who won the MotoAmerica Supersport race on the same day. Both victories came on the day Gillim’s younger brother Ethan was killed in a flat track racing crash in 2007.
American Motorcyclist caught up with Beach to talk about victories.
American Motorcyclist: Take us through both your American Flat Track and MotoAmerica Superbike wins.
J.D. Beach: The flat track race was weird. Honestly, before the race started, I thought if we could get top three it would be great, because Briar [Bauman] had been going real quick. When the race started, I found myself in second, and Bauman quickly pulled a gap on me. He and I pulled away from Jared [Mees], who was running in third place. I figured all I had to do was ride smart. It was the home race for [team owner] Tim [Estenson], so I figured I could bring it home in second place and get some good points. I started pushing harder late in the race, and Bauman started making mistakes as I was catching up to him. I figured either we were both going to be on the ground, or I was going to win it, so I made a pass on him with two laps to go and just tried to be smooth to the finish.
VIR was a different story. We didn’t do anything special in Saturday’s race and ended up fourth. We made some changes overnight, and I watched Hayden get his win in the Supersport race as I was getting geared up for the Superbike race. I was so pumped up after seeing him win. I got a good start in my race and was leading the race by the end of the first lap. I had a tough battle with my former teammate Garrett [Gerloff] but pulled a gap on him late in the race. It really wasn’t until the last five laps or so that I really thought I could win it. It just hit me suddenly that I was going to win this thing. I started crying a little bit. I felt like I started slowing down, so then I had to get going again.
AM: How does it feel to be in the company of some of the all-time greats like AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Nicky Hayden, Bubba Shobert and Doug Chandler who won national races in flat track and Superbike in the same year?
JDB: I don’t feel like I should be in that group, because those are guys that have done a lot for the sport. When I was a kid, I looked up to them. So for me, it’s super cool. I’m pumped about it, but I don’t feel like I deserve to be in that group yet.
AM: What are some of the challenges of competing full-time in two professional racing series?
JDB: I think the challenge for me has just been the travel. The racing isn’t the hard part. It’s all the stuff that comes along with it. I think I definitely struggled a little bit when the year was starting, but now I’m really starting to get it figured out. I wasn’t used to being gone every single weekend. I enjoy training, like riding my motocross bike during the week. But now that I’ve kind of gotten it figured out and kind of have a good routine with it, now it’s not too bad.
AM: What more are you aiming to accomplish in 2019?
JDB: I definitely want to get some more wins. Personally, I feel like those two wins were kind of a fluke. For the way they happened, it was like a storybook. I feel like I kind of got lucky. I definitely want to get some more wins in both series, just to prove that I can do it, and to get the grand slam this year would be great. I know it’s going to be a lot of work and hard to do, but it would be really cool to do it.