J.D. Beach says goodbye to the Pro Singles class and his red number plate. Beach earned a national number after advancing to his first AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Main at Springfield.
Smoke drifted lazily through the campgrounds inside the Illinois State Fair Grounds. Every make, model, shape and size of two-wheeled vehicle was represented. It was obvious we pulled into some type of motorcycle event, but we could not tell if it was a rally, swap meet, jamboree or a roving band of migrating gypsies. At that moment I heard the unmistakable bark of a tweaked 450 as it came to life. An exhaust the size of a coffee can confirmed we were in the middle of a band of gypsies all right, a pack of gritty, Flat Tracking gypsies. They come from all parts of the country, fulfilling an insatiable need, the burning desire to go fast and hang it out sideways. After all, what is better than spending your weekends stuffing your front wheel into the side of your buddy, maintaining a controlled slide, as you jockey for the inside line? I don't know, but every time I write about a Grand National it makes me want to saddle up and get out there. Instead of waiting for a class that suits my riding style/skill level, I have drawn up plans for a new series. One that will alter the course of motorcycle racing forever.
Henry Wiles, Kenny Coolbeth, Sammy Halbert, and Joe Kopp are fast and all, but they have been spoiled by their finely tuned 450cc GNC race bikes. Most of them will never conquer the most coveted skill in all of motorcycle racing....tandem 50cc pit bike riding. That's right, anybody can twist the throttle on a modern 450 and go fast, but it takes precision, nerves of steel and teamwork to drag elbows two-up on a 50cc pit bike. Rising star on the Flat Track
circuit, J.D. Beach (#95C), has penned a deal to ride tandem with me in the new class. Red Bull and Honda
have pledged full support, making the Fulford/Beach combination a shoe in for the inagural Grand National 50cc Tandem Pit Bike Championship. Our main rivals are experienced pit bike partners Rogers Lake Racing's Jared Mees (#1) and Monster Energy Kawasaki
's Bryan Smith (#42). I have witnessed them practicing tandem pit bike riding between qualifying and
J.D. Beach (left) celebrates his first podium after joining the Expert ranks, with winner Henry Wiles (#1, center) and runner up Jake Johnson (#5, right).
heat races at the GNC events. Most people think it is some sort of male bonding, but they are actually squeezing in testing and fine tuning their setup for the new class. I have submitted a proposal to AMA Pro Flat Track Director Mike Kidd for the 2011 season. I am expecting a phone call of approval at any moment. It is a fail proof series. Any high school baseball infield in the country will suffice. Grandstands, concessions and parking are already in place......I know....brilliant!
Until the Grand National 50cc Pit Bike Championship if officially sanctioned, J.D. Beach has concentrated on elevating his racing career. Beach announced, in Peoria, he would step up to AMA Pro Flat Track's Expert class at Springfield. The decision to race with the best dirt trackers in the world is daunting for anyone, much less a 18yr old. Beach is not your typical teenager. He began racing motorcycles at three, and has competed in almost every form of two wheeled competition out there, dirt track, supermoto, hare scrambles, motocross, road racing and more. In 2008 he became the first American to win the Red Bull Rookies Cup. The young phenom admits his first love is Flat Track, choosing to advance his racing career on the dirt, left foot out and the rear wheel sideways. "Its like eating, you can do it almost anywhere, anytime," says Beach. When he said he wanted to leave Springfield with a podium, most dismissed that statement as wishful thinking, but J.D. was serious and Springfield would be his stage.
J.D. Beach (#95C) shreds the Springfield Short Track in his first AMA Pro Flat Track race as an Expert, advancing to the Main Event on his first attempt.
Beach advanced through qualifying and his heat race to make the Expert Singles Main Event. Many riders would have been happy with this accomplishment alone, considering the talent and experience at AMA Pro Flat Track's highest level. Making the main in your first attempt is the goal of every aspiring Pro Singles contender. The honor earns you a national number for the following season, allowing you to shed the letter following your current number that badges amateurs, pros, and experts who have yet to qualify for an Expert main. J.D. is at home on his Honda CRF 450, his ability and confidence on the DTX machine, gave him the perfect opportunity to showcase his talent on the Springfield Short Track. He powered from his starting grid and worked his way into the top five. A slight mistake by Chad Cose (#49) allowed him to ease into third position behind Jake Johnson (#5) and, race winner, Henry Wiles (#1) to secure an astonishing podium finish in his first race as an Expert. If Beach's thirst for success remains, we will see him skid onto many more AMA Pro Flat Track podiums.
I am off to port and polish the head on my 50cc pit bike. I am bouncing a few motor ideas off of Woody Kyle, and we are confident that we will build a winning 7.5hp package if the new Flat Track class sees daylight in 2011. J.D. and I are keeping a few key spots on our leathers open for interested sponsors. Contact us if you want to partner with racing professionals.....well, one pro....umm, lets call it a winning team.
Catch Round 15 of the AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship at the Cantebury Park Mile in Minneapolis, MN Saturday Sept. 11, 2010. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Bryan Smith will attempt to win his third Mile in a row aboard the Kawasaki Ninja 650 Twin between testing with Tandem 50cc Pit Bike teammate and '09 GNC Twins Champ Jared Mees.