Local racer JD Beach returns to roots with full-time dirt track series

May 23, 2021 | 12:09 am

Updated May 22, 2021 | 10:28 pm

JD Beach

Professional motorcycle racer JD Beach has gone back to his roots by racing full-time in the American Flat Track (dirt track racing) series with Estenson Racing, a team now based in Owensboro.   

Beach signed with Estenson Racing in 2018. At the time, he was racing in two series simultaneously: the MotoAmerica road racing series (in which he holds two Supersport championship titles) and the American Flat Track series. 

But for the 2019 season, Beach committed to dirt track racing full time with Estenson. 

The first round of the 2021 season was March 12-13, when Beach placed second in the first race of the weekend and ninth in the second race.

 “We’ve improved a lot since last year,” Beach said. “Last year I only had one top-10 finish. So now we know the speed is there. Finishing second was great for us, but even that ninth-place finish was a good showing for us because we had some issues. I had to start last and it’s a very hard track to pass. We had some laps where we were running the same time as the race leaders. Now we know when we show up at the track we are able to fight for a top-three or top-five finish.” 

Like most professional racers, Beach started competing on dirt tracks as a kid and transitioned to road racing when he turned pro, so he admits he’s always felt at home in the dirt. 

He took another big step forward last weekend when he won the title at the Atlanta Super TT American Flat Track.

If the beginning of this racing season is any indication, Beach said this is going to be a fun year.

The “DuQuoin Mile” race scheduled for July 17 at the Duquoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois is considered Beach’s home track since it’s the closest to Owensboro on the schedule — about 2.5 hours away. 

Beach and Estenson Racing are working with American Flat Track to offer fans from Owensboro a promo code for a discount on tickets, as well as to reserve a section in the grandstand for people from Owensboro. 

“The thing about the Illinois race is it’s a mile oval, so anywhere you sit you can see the whole track,” Beach said. “With it being a mile long, the bikes will build a lot of power. We may have top speeds of 140-150 mph out there. We’ll be racing so close you could reach out and touch the guy next to you – It’s really fun to watch.” 

Estenson Racing originally started in Arizona, but as the team has evolved, they’ve recently relocated their operations to a shop in Owensboro. One reason for that is simply logistics. Most dirt track races are on this side of the country, so Owensboro is more central to the travel schedule. 

Not to mention that Beach — one of the team’s top riders — lives and trains in Philpot, and team manager Tommy Hayden (of the famed Hayden brothers) also lives in Owensboro. According to Beach, five Estenson employees now live in Owensboro full time, including a few mechanics. The rest of the team flies in a couple of weeks during the season before each race.  

“We see each other working hard week in and week out,” he said. “The team sees the riders training hard, and the riders see how much work the rest of the team puts into prepping – it makes us all better.” 

Beach said working closely with Hayden has also been a huge reason for his improvement. 

“With Tommy being around racing for so long, he knows bikes,” he said. “He knows racing. He can suggest a change and then watch me and see if that change made a difference or not. It helps so much because he can tell me what’s working, what line to run, and what the other guys are doing.”

He continued: “There are times when I’ve been really upset about something that happened on the track, but Tommy won’t react. He’ll just listen and let me get it all out. Then he’ll just calmly tell me what positives to focus on. He has that way about him and it helps because I’ve known him for so long. I know what he’s accomplished in his own career — he helps me see the big picture.”   

May 23, 2021 | 12:09 am

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