Rider Spotlight: JD Beach
NEWS February 9, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
AMAPro: Where are you from?
JB: I’m originally from Washington State, but have been living in Owensboro, KY for the past five years. I train with the Hayden brothers and live with Hayden Gillim who races in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class. Hayden’s mom’s dad is Earl Hayden’s brother, so that makes him the Hayden brothers’ second cousin.
AMAPro: What was your first motorcycle?
JB: A Suzuki JR50. With the JR, you had to shift it, compared to other motorcycles. I went from that to a KX65 to a CR85 to a CRF250R, then a CRF450R... Then for road race bikes, I went from a 125cc, to a 600cc, to a 1000cc and now back to a 600cc.
AMAPro: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
JB: My dad had been racing since he was 16 or so. His older brother raced, so it was a thing that everyone I knew did. My dad and I started to do it for fun when I was a kid. Since then, it’s really evolved. I really like flat track racing. I’ve been doing it since I was four years old.
AMAPro: When was the last time you got on your R6?
JB: The team had a test about 2-3 weeks ago out at Chuckwalla Valley Racetrack. It was a good test, but we didn’t get much riding in on day one, because a huge wind storm came through. Day two was better though.
AMAP: Now you’ve ridden before with Jake Gagne, Hayden Gillim and Tomas Puerta, correct?
JB: I actually did the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in Europe, while they did the series in the United States. Jake and Hayden did the Europe Red Bull Rookies Cup a year after I left. I did the Rookies Cup with Cameron Beaubier in 2007. He left to race in another series in 2008, while I stayed and won the Rookies Cup.
AMAP: How was it riding the Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10R in AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike last season?
JB: It went really well. We had some struggles though. I’ve been road racing since 2007, but it was the first year I’ve ever ridden a 1000cc SuperBike. It was a little tough, because the whole team was going into it with a new bike, and I didn’t have the experience to make the bike work great. It ended up being a great year, but we worked hard at it all year long.
AMAP: That whole time, you were racing AMA Pro Flat Track too…
JB: Yeah, since they started the Pro Singles class in 2009, I’ve tried to do every race I could. After 2010, I moved up to the Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert class. When I first started, it was kind of hard doing both series, but it’s like going from walking to running… it’s just two things that I do all the time.
AMAP: Out of all the bikes you've ridden, what's your favorite?
JB: I don’t know, because I’ve ridden so many motorcycles. It’s really hard to nail it down on one. The Attack 1000 was a great bike to ride, along with the Moto2 bike I rode last year. The 650 I rode in AMA Pro Flat Track last year was a blast to ride too.
AMAP: What's your favorite racetrack?
JB: In Europe, the Sachsenring in Germany, while Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Peoria TT in the United States would have to be my favorite racetracks!
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition, speed?
JB: Like the bike question, it’s hard to nail down, but when I’m at the track, everyone there is like my second family. My favorite part is getting to race against people and that feeling you get when all the racers are on the line ready to go.
AMAP: When you’re not at the racetrack, what would a typical day like be for you?
JB: It varies with what I’ve got going on, but it involves working out, riding my bike, getting caught up on emails and such. If it’s nice out, I’ll go ride motocross and then hangout for the rest of the day.
AMAP: What are your expectations going into 2012 with RoadRace Factory?
JB: I think it’s going to be a great year. For myself, I want to finish top five at least, with podiums and wins too. Our team might be new, but has some very experienced people on it. Once the season gets going, we’re going to have some great things happen. I really want to be consistent in the Daytona SportBike class. On any day, 10 guys can win the race, so I want to stay towards the front.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
JB: It’s really hard to say, but I definitely look up to Chris Carr for one. I’ve looked up to him ever since I was four. I’ve been lucky enough to know him. This past year, I was able to go up him and ask questions about tracks. He’s always willing to help out anybody and the sport itself. I really look up to people that give back to the sport, because motorcycle racing is my whole life... It’s what I love.
What's your take?
Whether it's twisting wrenches, preparing a motorcycle for race-day or telling a rider what they need to hear to win the race, a crew chief plays an integral part in a rider's success. What question(s) would you like answered by an AMA Pro Road Racing crew chief?