A bumper chat with Jed Beaton at the twelfth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Asia, ensured that many topics were covered. Everything from the difficulties that he had alongside pit lane to his plans for the next twelve months were encountered in this exclusive MX Vice interview from Semarang. Beaton now runs tenth in the MX2 series standings, one hundred and fifteen points down on the rider in fifth.
MX Vice: It was one of those weekends where it could have been good. It was going to be good. I was feeling it, but we are sat here with a bit of a sh*t result. I don’t know how you look at it.
Jed Beaton: To be honest, that is it exactly. It’s a sh*t result. I felt quite good in qualifying and timed qualifying. I was meant to qualify P2 but jumped under a yellow flag when [Bas] Vaessen crashed on the start straight. They had the yellow flag out over the finish line jump, so I don’t know how that works. Anyway, I got pinned and ended up P4. The riding was good this weekend. In the qualifying race I made a mistake by myself down pit lane, because they just covered the ruts with soft stuff. Second lap, I came down there quite hot and the front end just went into one. I went over the bars.
Riding this weekend felt quite good though. After the good start in the first moto and finishing P4, I was quite excited for the second race. I have obviously not been on the podium this season, so that was the goal for this weekend. Especially having the chance of doing that with a good result in the first one. I had the confidence for it. Got off to a not-so-bad start, but then ended up getting into a tangle-up with the guys down pit lane again.
That pretty much turned my weekend around. I got up, was already way behind and sort of ruined my chances at a podium. Like I said before, the riding was good this weekend. We have just got to carry that momentum forward and hope for better results in Loket.
Give me a play-by-play of the crash in the second race, because there was an Indonesian involved. [Adam] Sterry was involved, of course, because he is always there when there is a crash on the first lap. Break it down.
The second race was pretty hectic off the start. There was a big crash in the first turn, then obviously they laid a lot of water. Same sort of thing… They prepped the pit-lane straight, but just rolled over it with a dozer. The ruts were still kind of underneath. I don’t know how it is possible, but one of the Indonesian riders or whatever actually pulled a good start. I think he was pinned down pit lane and was not expecting to hit one of those ruts.
He went down quite hard and his bike just collected a couple of us, so I don’t know who actually went down. I know Sterry and I went down, because we were the only two guys there when I got up. I think he got a few other guys. To be honest, I thought I got out of it initially. I saw his bike bouncing up and down off the ground. I was looking ahead like, “Got out of that one.” Then I hit another bump right at the end and then just flicked up again. Literally, it just punched me fair in the chest off the bike.
I could hardly breathe when I got up, to be honest, because it hit me in the chest and the ribs. I was like, “Oh my god.” What the hell just happened? Got up and tried to breathe a little bit but could not really. I just picked my bike up, went to seat bounce the next jump and breathing wasn’t really happening that much.
I just took the first lap pretty easy. I nearly tucked the front about five hundred times, because they put the water down. It is what it is. It is racing. It’s just an accident that no one could avoid. I just got caught up. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I had pulled a good start, then I wouldn’t have been in that situation. God knows how he got a good start.
Are your fingers f**ked or are your fingers okay?
Yeah, my pinky finger is quite swollen at the moment. Cannot really bend it so much. I would say it is either broken or it’s quite jarred. Possibly f**ked.
Qualifying race crash was gnarly as well. Anytime you are going along a straight and you end up facing backwards, it is never a good one. You were pretty beaten up from that too? Sore and achy?
Yeah, exactly. The first one, it really caught me off-guard. [Calvin] Vlaanderen passed me and I was just trying to pass him back down the straight. He was obviously taking it a little bit easy, because he knew that it was soft. I was just like, “It’s prepped. It doesn’t matter.” My front end went into one of the ruts that was already there, then I was just on my face before I knew it. I was facing backwards.
I just got up and had no idea what happened, really. I tried to regroup and get as many positions as I could back. I got to ninth, looked ahead and saw that there was way too big of a gap. I just rode around for the last two laps. I tried to conserve some energy for today but didn’t really need it anyway. I got f**ked up by someone else, so it didn’t pan out the way I wanted it to. It is what it is.
If we are looking at positives, then the positive that I took away from your weekend is that first race. [Thomas] Olsen holeshot, you were sixth or whatever. You pretty much had him covered. You caught him. You were clearly faster. You were faster than him in the first moto last week as well. The fact that you are moving towards a position where you may be overtaking the number one rider on the team at points, that is good. I’m kind of watching this and I’m like, “I feel like there is something brewing here.”
Yeah. That’s the goal, just to get the best results I possibly can get. Him being in the position that he is in, he has been on the team a while. He’s been getting back-to-back good results each year and staying healthy. He is actually pretty solid at the moment. It’s taken me a long time to first off get rid of the little injuries that I had. It took me a long time to adapt to the bike, because I was just always riding with an injury and sort of the fitness level wasn’t there after spending time off the bike and things like that.
Now that the ball is rolling, I feel like I am in quite a good position. I feel really good on the bike. Everyone around me lately has just been really focused on getting the bike set-up for me and how I like it. It’s just unreal at the moment. The bike is super-fast. I think I’m now finally able to ride like I should be able to and feel like myself again. It’s been a long time since I have felt like myself. I was battling with those guys last year, until I got injured, but now I am back up there. It’s been a long way to get there.
I was kind of getting impatient with it, because I know in my head that I can and I should be there. In the end, riding with injuries and not being as fit and stuff like that does make it hard. I’d have one good moto or show some good speed here and there, but then I would mess it up or something like that. Even when I was riding injured at the practice track and stuff, I was not being able to do as much riding as what I can now. It is just little things like that. It’s all those things that are just one percent that are now building everything up.
I also believe that the starts are really important now as well. This track was quite big and wide. It had massive jumps and stuff like that, but to be honest it was sort of one-lined where everyone was just using the fast line always. I would not say one-lined, but most of the sections had one good line and everyone was just taking it. The start is really important unless you can be that guy who charges in the last five to ten minutes, because of the heat.
Today I could not do that, because I was way too far behind. I feel like it’s going in the right direction. My aim is to be really strong for this last half of the season. I definitely believe that I can be on the podium. I can almost smell it. It’s not far away. I’m just going to keep trying as hard as I can to get those results.
Speaking of riding with injuries, you can ride with a broken pinky? That shouldn’t be too much of a bother. Just cut it off.
Yeah. I got up today and I felt that it was pretty sore. I rode with it today. It is going to be much worse straight after the crash than what it will be in a week’s time or whatever. I’m not too stressed about that. I think I have ridden through a lot more pain than a little pinky finger. It’s all good.
First time at this track. Everyone I have spoken to tonight, which is a load of people, has basically said the same thing. The layout is good enough for GPs. Soil needs work. There are hard-pack tracks like France, but this is another level.
To be honest, there are tracks that are hard-pack but still even when it’s shiny they have some kind of grip. It feels like, this one, it’s just like you don’t have any grip at all. They go and lay water on those sections for the dust and stuff like that, but to be honest I think this kind of dirt doesn’t even create dust. It’s that hard. The finish line today, I think I nearly crashed three times riding up to the up-ramp. It’s that hard-pack. Both wheels sliding.
In the first moto, I was trying to catch Thomas and put a bit of a push on at the end. Seriously, I felt sketchy. In my head I was like, “Man, I really want to go back to Europe healthy.” I have had enough injuries this year and stuff like that. I was just trying to get in a comfortable rhythm where you just click off the laps and ride in cruise control. If you try to push it to the limit on a track like that, I think it does not turn out so well.
[Jorge] Prado was pretty much riding around cruising but, at the end of the day, I think that’s quite a lot faster on a track like that where it’s so slippery and everything, because it’s just so effortless. To be honest, everyone was literally trying to push that little bit and making mistakes. I think he was just clean through the races, which helped him a lot. I cannot really say much else. It is a really good track, like you said, but I think the same as everyone else… The soil is quite sketchy.
To be honest, I don’t think they can do so much there. It is what it is. Hopefully next year they sort out a better watering system or something like that, so that it is not in sections. It is just like a sprinkler around the whole track or something like that, just so it’s always keeping the moisture instead of just one massive load before the MX2 motos every time.
There was a decent number of Australian fans this weekend. I saw more anyway.
There were a couple of Australian fans who came over. It’s quite close to Australia, so this would probably be the best one for them to come to. It’s that hot here that, to be honest, you don’t really go out of the tent where it is air conditioned, so I didn’t see too many of them. It’s the same for everyone, I guess. Everyone is trying to stay as cool as possible, cool down from the race and stop sweating. It’s just constant sweat.
I was in there and I only saw a couple of guys from Australia briefly. It’s cool. Every time you see someone from Australia it’s nice to get the Aussie slang back out and just talk normal instead of half-spastic like I do to every Euro, so they can understand me. That’s just how it is. It’s actually quite cool when you get to speak to the Australians again. Hopefully they get a GP there soon.
I got a tweet yesterday… I think you can take this. I wouldn’t share it with every rider. Some guy tweeted us saying something like, “Beaton well and truly peaked last year.” We are seeing that isn’t the case. The results may not match up to the pace yet, but it’s coming. You will be happy if you can get one podium in the last six rounds, right?
Yeah, I guess. I don’t know how he can say I peaked last year when I think I only did eight rounds or something like that. I did not even get a chance to peak. People can say what they want. My goal is to ultimately be strong for the rest of this season and get consistent results. Not so much like flat-out podium. I also want to podium, or get a podium or two, but for sure that is everyone’s goal. My realistic goal is to be very consistent for the last half of the season, so hopefully try to get up into the top five in the championship. That would be awesome.
I think it is half doable if I am very consistent for the last half, but that’s just a goal of mine that I have got to try and achieve myself. Anyway, I wouldn’t say that I peaked last year. I have only done GPs last year and this year, so that is a pretty quick peak. Might have to pack my bags and go back to Australia. If it doesn’t get any better from here, there is something wrong. I feel like I am far from peaking. To be honest, I just need to really build on the results and then come in strong next year. My goal is to build for next year now. I guess if Prado wins, he has to go up.
He is going up anyway.
It’s an open class.
People would look at it as Olsen’s the favorite and two weeks in a row you have proven you can beat him.
I’ve not proven that I can beat him, but proven that I can be around there. Trying to prove that I can be there and have the speed to match it. It just all depends on how good the off-season is. Now I have got a really comfortable set-up and it’s something that we can just always build off. If we are not happy, we can always go back. It is just things like that. Now I feel like I am in a really good position to really set myself up and be one of those guys next year who can be in the battles week in and week out.
Ultimately that is what I have been building all year for. It is just the little things that hold me back. At the start of the year, I felt like I was riding quite well. I had that small injury at LaCapelle, which put me out for a while. I missed the first round, then that sets the confidence back quite a bit. Lately I have been building good confidence and just believing that I can be up there with those guys again.
When I come in from a race and I get fourth, I am pissed about it. I know that I want more. That is the goal, for sure. I should be happy with it, to be honest, but I never am unless I am doing a little bit better. At the end of the day, we are all racers and just want to get the best results possible.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer