J.d. Beach
J.D. Beach (AFT photo)

J.D. Beach Rules Arizona TT

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Progressive American Flat Track TT master J.D. Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) added another chapter to his legend by reigning supreme at Saturday’s ZO CBD Arizona Super TT presented by RideNow Powersports at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Beach, who has now claimed victories in seven of the most recent eight Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle TT Main Events, ultimately proved worthy of his status as the heavy favorite coming into the weekend. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to work for this one.

That work started in the race’s opening corner after initially getting displaced to third behind reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) and points leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).

The biggest danger moment for Beach came when Daniels took control of the lead two minutes into the Main. The on-form Daniels – who actually out-qualified Beach earlier in the day – looked to rip open an advantage while his teammate was stuck behind Mees on a track that presented few opportunities to pass and plenty of opportunities to mess up.

Almost exactly a minute later, Beach (literally) flew by Mees over the start-finish jump to slot into second. And almost exactly one minute after that he pulled a carbon-copy of the high-flying move on Daniels to take the lead for himself.

Daniels did well to keep Beach honest as they left the remainder of the field in their wake. However, he ultimately gave up the chase with a couple minutes remaining on the clock, content to cruise to second.

When asked how he managed to charge around a racetrack that almost everyone else had to tiptoe around, Beach joked, “Growing up, I was told you either had to be smart or dumb, and I chose dumb. I was going for it. No, it was a great race. I knew Dallas had my number all day long. He’s been riding so good. All season, he’s been hauling the mail. It’s been frustrating for me because we’re on the same bike, and he’s been whupping my butt. Today, I’ve got to thank my crew. They worked so hard all day long. We were kind of on the back foot, but they didn’t give up. They kept working, and that’s what I did in the main event too.”

Behind the Estenson Racing 1-2, Mees ran in third with Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 890 Duke) in determined pursuit. That is until Mees’ machine became unsettled over the bumps and then lost the rear. While Mees did an admirable job to pick up and remount his factory Indian as quickly as was humanly possible, he still lost a few positions in the aftermath of the mishap.

That elevated Bauman to his second podium in four starts on the Rick Ware Racing KTM. It also rewarded Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750) and Johnny Lewis(No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) with fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively.

Mees salvaged sixth.

Following four of 18 races, Daniels leads with 92 points, followed by Beach (73), Mees (71) and Bauman (62).

Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) closed to within one point of the points lead with a precise and patient ride to victory at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Gauthier established himself as the favorite going in with his strong pre-race performance but ended up corralled behind Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) in the early going after Cose dove down from the outside of Row 1 to claim the lead coming out of the race’s opening corner.

Gauthier sat close on Cose’s rear wheel as they circulated the slick, one-line track, hoping to either find or force a mistake from the leader. All the while, Gauthier faced similar heat from behind, with a long string of riders jammed up behind them, spearheaded by Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), who himself was flanked by Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).

Just as the race approached mid-distance, Gauthier made his move, landing along- and inside of Cose as they completed a jump and slid into the subsequent left-hander.

Kopp attempted to slip underneath Cose at the same time but was denied. While Kopp and co. regrouped to map out another assault, Gauthier opened a two second lead at the front. The reigning champ did finally push his way up the inside of Cose a couple minutes later and was joined in the overtake by Whale and Brunner.

A late red flag added the potential for some unexpected drama to a race that appeared all but settled when Andrew Luker (No. 11 Rackley Racing/Keeran Racing Yamaha YZ450F) crashed with just 10 seconds remaining on the clock.

That set the stage for a staggered restart and three-lap shootout. However, Gauthier successfully survived the second launch and cleared off to grab his first checkered flag of the season. The win was his third career TT victory and sees him remain the only rider in the field to have finished on the podium in every race this season.

“We worked our butts off this offseason putting this program together,” Gauthier said. “It’s going great. I’ve been on the podium every round and KTM has won every race so far. I’ve got to thank my whole team… There’s so many people that help our program out. It’s only going to keep getting better, and I’m super stoked on this one.”

Kopp held for second to retain his points lead over Gauthier (86-85) despite third-placed Whale and fourth-placed Brunner applying maximum pressure over the final laps.