CHANDLER, Ariz. – J.D. Beach pulled off an improbable come-from-behind victory to claim his first American Flat Track premier class win in Saturday’s Law Tigers Arizona Super TT at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title leader Briar Bauman appeared well on his way to a seemingly effortless victory deep into the 25-lap main event. Bauman was firmly in control – not just in the main event, but all day long. He railed around the flowing Super TT circuit, through right- and left-hand corners, and up and down the many elevation changes.
However, Beach simply would not be denied. The determined Beach refused to concede the race despite Bauman’s daunting advantage and finally started making headway after half-distance. He slowly reeled his quarry in and finally positioned himself to attack with two laps remaining.
The multi-time national road racing champion made his move up the inside entering turn two and pulled clear from there to at last complete the long-awaited breakthrough achievement.
Making the win even sweeter was the fact that it took place in Estenson Racing’s backyard and represented the first premier class AFT win for a Yamaha twin since Scott Pearson won the Peoria TT in 1981.
“It’s amazing. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” said Beach. “We’ve been close before but never quite got it. To ride the race that I did – to be back from Briar like that and catch him and pass him with two to go – was awesome.
“I’ve just got to thank the whole team. We’ve definitely had our highs and lows this year so far. They’ve worked so hard. It’s a great feeling, but we’ve still got a lot of rounds to go and a lot of work to do. We’ll have some fun tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”
Runner-up Bauman admitted he wasn’t in Beach’s league late in the race.
“I had nothing for him. He came by me like I was tied to a tree,” Bauman said. “The bike was great all night. I thought I was in a pretty good position. I got the start and did everything right. The only problem is JD Beach came, so here were are in second.”
Bauman could take solace in the fact that he continued his perfect podium record on the season and extended his title lead to 18 points after four rounds.
Reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees followed up his Texas Half-Mile win with a lonely third in the Arizona Super TT.
Jeffrey Carver Jr. finished fourth after just managing to hold off Beach’s teammate, Jake Johnson, who added to Estenson’s joy by putting a second rider in the race’s top five.
TT maestro Jesse Janisch upped his Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys TT win streak to three with a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday night’s undercard main event.
Janisch added Saturday’s win to his season-opening triumph in the Daytona TT and last year’s dominant run at the Peoria TT to further his reputation as the category’s preeminent TT rider.
The win did not come easily, however. Janisch found himself under pressure throughout the main event courtesy of points leader Dalton Gauthier.
Gauthier threw everything he had into one final strike at the checkered flag, pulling alongside Janisch as the two exited the race’s last corner and powered up the decisive jump. Despite Gauthier’s Herculean last-ditch effort, Janisch held on by a scant .105 of a second at the line.
“This race was so much about the start,” Janisch said. “These guys were flying all day… I just tried running clean laps. Roof Systems Dallas TX got me off to a great start, and I was trying to watch the monitor and I saw Dalton right on me. But they kept going to a different battle, and I wanted to see where Dalton was at! He was really coming on that last lap.”
Ryan Wells took full advantage of Estenson Racing’s home-track advantage to execute an inspired mid-race push. He somehow managed to track down Janisch and Gauthier and transform the Main into a three-way fight for the win – at least for a time.
While Wells’ challenge ultimately faded down the stretch, he still came up big to score a hugely encouraging third – his first podium of the season after opening the year without a top-10 finish in the year’s first three events.
Mikey Rush backed up his Texas Half-Mile runner-up with a fourth-place run in Arizona. He had to fend off a charging Dan Bromley to do so after the defending class champ carved his way up from outside the top ten to round out the top five.