Race Report - JD Beach - Infineon Raceway
NEWS May 11, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Blog Courtesy of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike rider #95 JD Beach:
Well we have finished another race weekend and made some more improvements. It’s great that every weekend we have improved in some way. My crew (Dave Presler and Scott Jensen) have been working their tails off not only at the track but back at the shop. This trip was bittersweet, it was nice because the whole Gillim family got to go out to Sonoma but it was May 5th which marked 5 years since we lost Ethan Gillim. In that respect the weekend went great, we always know Ethan is around, he had to be
messing with Hayden this weekend. Hayden finished both races which were great but we know he can do better than what he did but for some reason he finished 9th and 5th. Ethan was known for his 95 number so that was pretty cool about the weekend.
When we flew into San Francisco it was just Hayden, Kerri, and I, FLG and Frankie were coming in the next day. When we were picking up the car we saw some of the team so Hayden jumped in with them. I had to stay back, if you have ever ridden in the car with Kerri you would know why, she has been in a car all over the US and part of Europe but it is spent in the passenger seat. When we left the airport driving on 101 it kind of goes through downtown San Fran and on the corner we saw a taco wagon. Growing up
in Washington my friend Jacob Lehmann and I always ate at them but we don’t have them in Kentucky, so when I saw it we had to stop. The plan was to just get something small so Kerri could try it but once we got up to it, it smelled so good we decided to have dinner there.
Now to the racing. Friday we had practice and one qualifying session. The weekend didn’t start out as good as we hoped. It took me a little while to get up to speed. I have only rode at this track once and it was on a SuperBike so a lot of lines and the way I was riding it was like a SuperBike. After a good night of sleep and some setup work I was ready to go Saturday morning for the second qualifying. We were able to put in a time good enough for 8th, which turned out to be a great place to start from. Also we were
moving in the right way with the bike set up so it was just getting better.
The race on Saturday wasn’t great but wasn’t horrible either. I didn’t get the greatest of starts and that doesn’t help at Sonoma. Once we got going I was able to pass a couple of people but only made it up to 8th. That was where I would stay in a battle with Bobby Fong and Cory West, both of which have had a win and podium finishes so we are getting better. We had a bit of a problem with not being able to carry any corner speed which is a big deal there.
Come Sunday Dave and Scott worked hard to get the bike working better. Every time we hit the track the crew and I are giving it 100% to drop time. We went out on my used race tires and every lap we did for 20min was faster, setting my fastest lap of the weekend the last lap with 32 laps on the tires which was fantastic for me. Once it was race time we were ready, the first start was amazing just about got the hole shot but was second behind Jason DiSalvo. It was great to be able to follow him to learn a couple things and then he ran wide and I found myself leading but it only lasted for about 3 turns then we had a red flag. The second start was good but not great, but I knew I could run up front so I felt better trying to make some passes then craziness started to happen. I just about crashed tucking the front in the double right and almost getting taken out when Dane Westby ran into Martin Cardenas. After that I started to ride really tight. It’s been a long time since I have been up front in an AMA Pro race, either Dirt Track or Road Racing so I just got tight. I have made my whole life racing, I don’t really care about much other stuff, on off weekends I don’t go out and party, I don’t drink, I don’t do anything like that. I still have fun but it’s all about racing so to finally be up front again was great. Once I started going backwards I just slowed down some and breathed so I could get rid of my arm pump. Once that was gone I was able to put the hammer down and make up some ground. I had to plan it though because once you get arm pump it doesn’t completely go away. I made it up to West and Fong again and battled with them again. On the last lap last turn I was able to make a pass and get into 5th. That was my first top 5 this year and only one spot away from my best DSB finish.
We have a couple weeks off before Salt Lake City. I am really looking forward to that race but until then I have one Steve Nace All Star race in Little Rock, Arkansas. That is a great track as well and I’m definitely ready to get back on the Dirt Track Bike.