JD Beach Virginia International Raceway Weekend Update

I’ve got a big week planned after getting back from Virginia for the third round of the MotoAmerica series, so I’m going to keep this one short. This coming weekend is Springfield TT and Mile, plus I am having some people over this week to do some riding. I’m not sure yet if I’ll race the TT — still thinking about it — but the Mile is out because I am twin-­less.

So this week, like I said before, I’ve got some people coming to ride. You might have heard of them. The first is Kolby Carlile. He’s been over a lot this winter doing some riding and training. The other one is some guy making his AMA Pro Flat Track debut this weekend. His name is Troy Bayliss. My plan between now and Springfield is to teach him everything I know about dirt track and racing the Mile. That should take about 30 minutes, probably 25, but I have to have a little extra time because of my stuttering. Ha, ha. So I’m not sure what we will do the rest of the time.

Anyways, back to the race at Virginia. It was the first time back there since 2010 when I raced in the old SuperSport class, which is now Superstock 600. The last time I was there I qualified on pole and won both races. I was looking at lap times and after my first practice last weekend, I was already almost a second faster than in 2010. By the end of the weekend, I think I ended up almost three seconds faster than in 2010. That’s pretty crazy. Both times, I was on a Yamaha R6.

VIR is a really fun and fast track. On Thursday, I got out on track on my Scott bicycle to check it out and instantly remembered braking markers and old memories. I was really looking forward to getting out there. Then came Friday morning: For the first session, I think the first six laps I had no idea where I was. It was really weird. I came into the pits and sat a little then went back out.

After talking to Mike and clearing my head, the track clicked and I felt way better and started knocking off time. In qualifying, I was leading the session until the end when Josh Herrin threw down a really fast lap, probably 0.7 faster than me. I was okay with that; I didn’t want pole, anyway. I’ve never been on pole for Supersport (previously Daytona SportBike), and I was feeling like it would be bad luck for me.

Saturday morning we had another qualifying session. With Mike and Chris making some changes to the bike, I was feeling good. The track felt great, and I was just out there doing my normal thing, banging out laps, then they got faster and faster. Before I knew it, I was fastest in the session and fastest from the times yesterday and on pole! It was like Herrin and I switched spots, and I was about 0.7 ahead of him. I was so nervous before the race. Having really good pace all weekend and starting from pole, we knew we had the pace to win.

Off the line, I got the hole shot and never looked back. Remember, this is my first-ever pole, basically the first time I’ve led almost all the sessions, and now I’m leading the race. There’s only a couple spots on the track to pass, but as the laps went by, no one was trying anything. My only life line while I’m racing is my pit board, P2 was 0.0 and P3 was farther back every lap. The race was 23 laps, and we led 22 and 5/8. Herrin was right on me the whole race. Before the last lap, I knew the few spots he would try on the last lap to pass.

After leading every lap, on the last lap going into turn 10, I made the biggest mistake ever: I left the door open and Herrin just came right by. There was nothing I could really do but try and draft on the front straight. To say I was mad was an understatement. I had a few choice words in my helmet to myself. Was I mad about getting second? No, I was made because the team and I put in all the work, I led every lap but then didn’t use my head and block in the one passing zone I know Herrin always uses.

Sunday was a different story. In warm-up, we went out on used tires and set the fastest time. I was determined to win on Sunday. After knowing we had really good pace leading and then starting from pole wasn’t bad luck, I was ready to go. My stomach was sick all day waiting. Everyone asked me what my plan was, if I would let Herrin or Garrett Gerloff or someone by me if they were right on me. My answer was no, I would rather lose the race in the last turn then to let someone by and not be able to get back by them.

In the race, we pulled the holeshot again and dropped the hammer. Herrin tried to pass me once and I got right back by him. I knew he was racy today, so I tried to pick my pace up. Each lap was a little faster and a little faster. The gap started getting a little bigger, and it ended up getting to 3.5 seconds. I was freaking out; the laps couldn’t go by fast enough. I just kept hitting my marks and still on the last lap it wasn’t much slower than my fastest lap.
It was so amazing to get a win in the dry, leading every lap and pulling a gap. My team and crew are working so hard and doing a great job.

I’m having so much fun right now and loving it. I’m so lucky and blessed to be racing a motorcycle like this. I can’t thank everyone enough.

I’ve got a big week planned after getting back from Virginia for the third round of the MotoAmerica series, so I’m going to keep this one short. This coming weekend is Springfield TT and Mile, plus I am having some people over this week to do some riding. I’m not sure yet if I’ll race the TT — still thinking about it — but the Mile is out because I am twin-­less.

So this week, like I said before, I’ve got some people coming to ride. You might have heard of them. The first is Kolby Carlile. He’s been over a lot this winter doing some riding and training. The other one is some guy making his AMA Pro Flat Track debut this weekend. His name is Troy Bayliss. My plan between now and Springfield is to teach him everything I know about dirt track and racing the Mile. That should take about 30 minutes, probably 25, but I have to have a little extra time because of my stuttering. Ha, ha. So I’m not sure what we will do the rest of the time.

Anyways, back to the race at Virginia. It was the first time back there since 2010 when I raced in the old SuperSport class, which is now Superstock 600. The last time I was there I qualified on pole and won both races. I was looking at lap times and after my first practice last weekend, I was already almost a second faster than in 2010. By the end of the weekend, I think I ended up almost three seconds faster than in 2010. That’s pretty crazy. Both times, I was on a Yamaha R6.

VIR is a really fun and fast track. On Thursday, I got out on track on my Scott bicycle to check it out and instantly remembered braking markers and old memories. I was really looking forward to getting out there. Then came Friday morning: For the first session, I think the first six laps I had no idea where I was. It was really weird. I came into the pits and sat a little then went back out.

After talking to Mike and clearing my head, the track clicked and I felt way better and started knocking off time. In qualifying, I was leading the session until the end when Josh Herrin threw down a really fast lap, probably 0.7 faster than me. I was okay with that; I didn’t want pole, anyway. I’ve never been on pole for Supersport (previously Daytona SportBike), and I was feeling like it would be bad luck for me.

Saturday morning we had another qualifying session. With Mike and Chris making some changes to the bike, I was feeling good. The track felt great, and I was just out there doing my normal thing, banging out laps, then they got faster and faster. Before I knew it, I was fastest in the session and fastest from the times yesterday and on pole! It was like Herrin and I switched spots, and I was about 0.7 ahead of him. I was so nervous before the race. Having really good pace all weekend and starting from pole, we knew we had the pace to win.

Off the line, I got the hole shot and never looked back. Remember, this is my first-ever pole, basically the first time I’ve led almost all the sessions, and now I’m leading the race. There’s only a couple spots on the track to pass, but as the laps went by, no one was trying anything. My only life line while I’m racing is my pit board, P2 was 0.0 and P3 was farther back every lap. The race was 23 laps, and we led 22 and 5/8. Herrin was right on me the whole race. Before the last lap, I knew the few spots he would try on the last lap to pass.

After leading every lap, on the last lap going into turn 10, I made the biggest mistake ever: I left the door open and Herrin just came right by. There was nothing I could really do but try and draft on the front straight. To say I was mad was an understatement. I had a few choice words in my helmet to myself. Was I mad about getting second? No, I was made because the team and I put in all the work, I led every lap but then didn’t use my head and block in the one passing zone I know Herrin always uses.

Sunday was a different story. In warm-up, we went out on used tires and set the fastest time. I was determined to win on Sunday. After knowing we had really good pace leading and then starting from pole wasn’t bad luck, I was ready to go. My stomach was sick all day waiting. Everyone asked me what my plan was, if I would let Herrin or Garrett Gerloff or someone by me if they were right on me. My answer was no, I would rather lose the race in the last turn then to let someone by and not be able to get back by them.

In the race, we pulled the holeshot again and dropped the hammer. Herrin tried to pass me once and I got right back by him. I knew he was racy today, so I tried to pick my pace up. Each lap was a little faster and a little faster. The gap started getting a little bigger, and it ended up getting to 3.5 seconds. I was freaking out; the laps couldn’t go by fast enough. I just kept hitting my marks and still on the last lap it wasn’t much slower than my fastest lap.
It was so amazing to get a win in the dry, leading every lap and pulling a gap. My team and crew are working so hard and doing a great job.

I’m having so much fun right now and loving it. I’m so lucky and blessed to be racing a motorcycle like this. I can’t thank everyone enough.

JD Beach and Josh Herrin action VIR

JD Beach (95) leads Josh Herrin (2) during Supersport race one at VIR.

JD Beach and Marty Hayden

JD Beach and Marty Hayden, Hayden Gillim’s grandfather, with the celebratory champagne.

JD Beach and Josh Herrin VIR

JD Beach (left) congratulates Josh Herrin after Supersport race two on Sunday at VIR.