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MotoAmerica: Exclusive interview - JD Beach - Everything Moto Racing

MotoAmerica: Exclusive interview – JD Beach

JD Beach returns to the MotoAmerica paddock full-time after spending the last 5 years racing in the American Flat Track (AFT) series.

A two-time MotoAmerica SuperSport champion, Beach joins up with 5-time MotoAmerica superbike champion, and former Moto2 rider, Cameron Beaubier.

Tell me how the opportunity with Tytlers came about.

At the end of the ’23 season I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the next year. The Estenson (American Flat Track) team was still deciding on what they wanted to do, so during that time my manager, Jake Zemke, and I were looking around the MotoAmerica paddock as well to see what was there. A couple options popped up and at that time the Estenson team decided to cut me from the team, so my mind was made up to go road racing. Jake (Zemke) and I were on the phone as I was making the choice of what I wanted to do and it was to race for a SuperSport team, but I really wanted to be on a Superbike. Literally as we were on the phone, Michael Kiley (owner of Tytlers Racing) texted Jake to see what I was doing for the next season. So, it all came together just from one text message.

How are preparations for 2024 going?

Testing for this season has been going great. I’m working with Scott Jensen as my crew chief. I’m really excited about that because I worked with Scott in 2012 and 2013. We’ve kept in touch over the years so it’s cool to be with him again. My whole crew has been great to work with. It’s been a lot of work getting to know this new bike, on top of having a bunch of hard parts to test that BMW and Tytlers have developed. But each time I get on the bike I’m feeling better and better.

What are the differences you are noticing between the Yamaha R1 and BMW M1000RR?

It’s hard to pinpoint one or two things. The bikes are pretty different, the power they make and how it builds into the power and the way the bikes turn. I feel like you can really weight the front end on the BMW. Both bikes have things they do great. It’s nice having the experience from riding the R1 to help improve the areas of the BMW that the R1 did well. I’d say for me the biggest thing is trying to make the BMW feel more consistent as the tires get more laps on them.

Have you been able to learn anything about the bike from Cameron Beaubier’s experience last year?

Cameron and I have known each other since we were kids, so I think we work really well together. While we have been testing, we have been able to bounce thoughts off each other. We have similar feelings and thoughts with the bike. We’ve both raced the R1 but I’ve raced it more recently so we can compare the bikes. It’s been nice being able to confirm with him the feelings I get with the bike.

How does your riding style have to change on the BMW compared to the Yamaha?

I would really say my riding style has had to change too much. Being gone from road racing for 4 years, I don’t really think I have a “riding style” right now. When I got on the R1 last year I feel like I got thrown to the wolves and just had to ride the bike since I went straight to racing on it. So, on the BMW I feel like I can just learn as I go and ride how I feel works best for the bike, if that makes sense.

How much has your flat-track riding skills helped you in road racing, and what do you bring to MotoAmerica that maybe you didn’t have before?

Flat tracking is something I’ve done my whole life. I think it has helped me have a good feeling of knowing how to use the front tire and the importance of turning the bike with the front and trying to keep the bike in line. But it gives me the comfort of not being scared to get on the gas and spin the rear tire to help make the bike turn. I think coming back to MotoAmerica, I’m more knowledgeable of how to be in-tune with the bike. In AFT (American Flat Track), I had to help develop a flat track bike that we took from being lapped at races to being able to win races.

In your opinion, how has MotoAmerica changed since you were a regular rider back in 2019?

I think MotoAmerica has done a great job at building the series and bringing in more fans. I think it’s been a slow build but doing it the right way. In every class this year, I bet going into the season there are 10 riders that can win. That’s pretty impressive across all classes. Sports can’t survive without the fans, and I think MotoAmerica really knows this and has tried to make the races a fun event for all ages and life backgrounds.

What about racing in MotoAmerica are you looking forward to the most?

I started and really built my whole pro career in road racing. Flat track will always have a special place in my heart, but I’ve really missed being on a road racetrack and bike. I’m really looking forward to just the road race weekend, hanging out with friends and family and being at the track with all the fans. Hayden (Gillim) has 2 kids now and camps at the track, so the plan is to camp as well, and just have more time to hang out and enjoy being at the track. I love being at the track and around the team as well. I’m always looking forward to the time on the track, but I also really enjoy the time in the pits with the team too.

What is the goal for you in 2024?

The goal is of course to win but I’m up against some really fast guys. I want to get the year started with some strong finishes and just keep building from there. Always making sure I’m in the fight for the podium and try to sneak in some wins.

What are the team’s goals for 2024?

Everyone on the team is a proven winner, whether it be riders or crew. I think the goal is to finish first and second in the championship. It’s going to be really tough with the field we are up against. But we’ve all been up front in the past and want to try and keep it that way.

How does the team feel about where things stand to get that elusive championship for BMW in MotoAmerica?

BMW only has one championship in AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) superbike racing and that was the first year of the series (Reg Pridmore, 1976). The goal is to get back for BMW. Of course, I’d love to win my first superbike title but if it’s Cameron that can get it done; it’ll be cool just to be a part of that history.

What do you say to young riders in the United States when they ask your advice on racing?

To never forget why you started racing in the first place. As your career starts to grow and the racing becomes harder, it’s easy to forget why we started all this. You do this sport because you love it. No matter what is going on, when you line up to live the moment and just enjoy it.

Featured images – Brian J Nelson