JD Beach has dedicated his entire life to motorcycle racing. Following the path famously established long ago by Kenny Roberts, the Washington State native began his career in flat track but later turned his attention to roadracing. After winning his second MotoAmerica Supersport title this past season, Beach hoped to secure a full-time Superbike ride for 2019 but found he had few options.

Estenson Racing offered the 27-year-old Beach a contract to race a full season in American Flat Track on a Yamaha MT-07 alongside two-time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson and 2017 AFT Singles Champion Kolby Carlile as part of a five-rider team with Ryan Wells and Dallas Daniels on Singles. Beach will also defend his Supersport title; four AFT and MotoAmerica dates conflict.

Beach raced one AFT Twins event in 2017, finishing third at the Perris Raceway finale. He returned part-time to the series this past season, placing second in the Daytona TT, seventh at the Minnesota Mile, and sixth at the Meadowlands Mile. Team owner Tim Estenson grew up flat tracking—his family ran a Yamaha dealership—and, after founding a successful logistics company, also returned to his roots.

JD Beach American Flat Track Racer
Two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD Beach will team with two-time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson in 2019 on Yamahas built by Estenson Racing.Andrea Wilson

Why are you making the move from MotoAmerica to American Flat Track?

American Flat Track and MotoAmerica are both in a good place, but they need a little more to take that next step. I need a little bit more to take that next step too. I know there are a lot of fans who cross over [from one discipline to the other]. If I can race American Flat Track and MotoAmerica, I could have a small part in trying to help grow the base in both sports.

JD Beach greeting fans
Beach is a fan favorite in both American Flat Track and MotoAmerica. He hopes competing in both disciplines will lead to greater exposure for motorcycling.Andrea Wilson

You’ve spent a little time with Estenson Racing. What are your thoughts on joining that team next season and helping to develop the Yamaha twin?

I did the last two [American Flat Track] rounds with Estenson Racing. The team is really good, and I know they want to do well next year. I’m going to be riding a different [Yamaha] than what I did at the last round, but I think the bike is going to be really good. It will be cool to get a different brand out there throughout the whole year and try to run up front.

You dipped your toe into AFT’s premier class. What are your thoughts on the competition level?

I think the sport is really good right now. Even though I didn’t do that many races, I watched all of them. There are some really fast guys. It’s cool because I grew up racing with a lot of the top riders. The sport has changed from when I turned pro back in 2009 to now, how much faster the guys have gotten, and how deep the field goes.

JD Beach American Flat Track Racer
A pair of MotoAmerica Supersport titles won in 2015 and ’18 unfortunately didn’t help longtime Yamaha rider Beach land his dream factory Superbike contract.Andrea Wilson

A factory Superbike is one of your big dreams. You’ve won two MotoAmerica Supersport championships. Do you feel you were unfairly overlooked?

I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m going to be on two great teams next year, and I’m going to race a lot. That gives me another year racing and to reach some new goals. I’m going over to Valencia to talk to Moto2 teams; there just aren’t enough rides to go around. But right now I’m focused on next year and racing dirt track and MotoAmerica.

What are your goals for the 2019 AFT season?

My goal will be to keep improving. The last few years has been, “I’ll do one and later I might do another.” I always had a lot of pressure to do well in those one-off rides. That doesn’t mean I’ll be able to relax, but the pressure will be spread throughout the year. I want to run in the top five every weekend and get my first win.

JD Beach American Flat Track Racer
If Beach can put the Estenson Racing MT-07 on top of the box in 2019, he will make history as the first rider to do so on a Yamaha twin since Scott Pearson at the Peoria TT in 1981.Andrea Wilson

Where do you think your racing career will go from here?

I don’t know. Racing is so different than what it has been in the past. I’m going to keep fighting. Maybe I can get a factory Superbike ride or race in Europe. I’m definitely not ready to be done roadracing. It’s really cool that Tim [Estenson] understands that, wants to see me chase my dreams, and has still given me a great team to race with in flat track.

JD Beach American Flat Track Racer
Can Beach (left) challenge the dominant Jared Mees (center) for the AFT Twins class title? Beach says he is looking forward to the challenge.Andrea Wilson

If six months ago someone had said, “You’re going to be racing flat track full-time,” would you have believed them?

No. I thought I was going to have a Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike ride. They were worried that I wouldn’t want to do the deal because I couldn’t race dirt track anymore. I told them if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I would do. I asked Tim if I could race his bike the last two rounds, and now I’m going to race both series, AFT and MotoAmerica.