Checking in with the youthful Australian, presented by Maxima Racing Oils.
It’s been a big year for 2016 Australian MX2 champion Jed Beaton in his rookie season of European racing, which ultimately ended with him on the podium at last weekend’s final round of the MX2 World Championship. The Tasmanian initially took on a ride with the Carglass Honda outfit in EMX250, however he later earned an opportunity to step up to the MX2 class with the factory Honda HRC MX2 team for three guest appearances. He was then granted an additional ride with the team for the French finale, which proved to be a smart move for both Beaton and the Honda squad. MotoOnline.com.au caught up with him direct from Europe to get the latest!
Congratulations on the weekend, it was a really good result and it must be good to get some kind of reward for what has been a huge year for you.
Yeah, it’s been a fairly big year. I struggled to start with and then obviously picked up an injury at the Ottobiano GP, I had surgery the following Monday and wanted to get fixed as soon as possible because I knew two and half weeks later I had to race for HRC at Loket. I got it done as soon as could, and got as fit and healthy as I could for that round. I ended up going not too bad, and that gave me a bit of confidence for the rest of the year. To come back from injury and have a half decent result, it gave me life again – if I had a bad result, I would’ve been down about it, but it would’ve given me motivation for the rest of the year to finish it off strong. I had ups and downs this year, but in the end it had a big up for me. I only got to do four GPs at HRC – I didn’t podium EMX all year to be honest and I had a few bad races – but to finish it off with a MX2 podium was definitely a high for me.
Rewinding to the start of the season, you were obviously the reigning Australian MX2 champion, but you had the opportunity to go into EMX250. How were you finding that at the start? Although the podium wasn’t there, there was plenty of promise in what you were showing straight up.
I wasn’t so concerned about my speed or anything like that, I was more concerned about getting used to living and the tracks over here, I sort of came over and everything was different – I wasn’t living with any family, I didn’t know where anything was – no supermarkets or gyms – I didn’t have a cycle and couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have a routine to start with, so I was just more focused on trying to get that sorted out first, and yeah, trying to keep my training going and get some sort of routine before the season. I sort of learned that I came over a bit too late anyway, that’s a big learning curve for next year – I need to be over here as soon as I can. It’s all taken a bit of time, but now I’m more comfortable, everything is going pretty smoothly and I know what the go is no matter where I am. I’m much happier over here now, and I think the happier I got, the better my results were. Everything just ran a little more easier and I got to know a few more people, all the tracks and everything. When I first got here I didn’t know what tracks to go riding at or what time they opened, so it was all completely different. Now I’ve got it sorted and I rock up to the track and say hello to fair few people, and I enjoy being there, where as at the start I didn’t really know anyone and I was going to the track by myself. It was all pretty hard, but my teammate has been pretty good to have around all year – he’s from New Zealand, Dylan Walsh, so it’s good to have him because he just speaks english like me [laughs]. If we’re both having a bad time, we can bring each other up because we love having a joke and having fun, so it’s been good having him around too.
Where did the initial opportunity or contact come from with HRC to potentially do those races you ended up doing?
Well it was sort of a few things, I got to meet everyone from HRC in Latvia and I got a half decent result. I started speaking to people there and I ended talking to Taka (Takeshi Katsuya), he said what would you think about it and what would your team think about it if you could get the opportunity [to ride]. I said yeah I think it would be all good if I did the races where there was no EMX, he sort of said yeah leave me with it. He got back to me a couple of days later and said they might be keen. It all snowballed from there, it was a bit of everything, but definitely Taka having a bit of involvement helped for sure, because he convinced the Japanese side to let me do it. I can’t thank him enough for organising all of that.
You obviously did those couple of race and went back to EMX, you kind of jumped back and forth there at one stage, and you didn’t go across to Florida. But in the end you ended up getting that additional race for the final round. That’s where it all seemed to come together and the pieces of the puzzle came together from what was a really big learning curve.
Yeah, it was good. I learned all year no matter what class I was in to be honest. I sort of switched from the EMX to MX2 when the HRC thing came about, but with the EMX, I was a little focused on the championship. I didn’t really worry to start with about the results, everyone is pretty inconsistent in that class, but [Morgan] Lesiardo was pretty consistent and ran away with it. When I picked up an injury – not that I didn’t care about it – but the championship was out ahead, so I was like alright I need to get some decent result now. But then HRC came along, then I was like here we go, I need to get some decent results in the actual MX2 class – that’s where I want to be – I had to prove myself. It was a bit of a shame to start with, I was bit worried to do the two deepest sand races you could possibly do in the year only doing a few months training in the sand here. I was a little worried about that, I knew I had to prove myself at Loket, I had to go out there on the hard-pack and do the best I could. I think just doing all that and knowing everyone as well gave me the opportunity in the end the last race. They needed the ’18 bike out there as well, and riding it at Assen, they said they needed me to ride it. It was a privilege to go out there and ride that for them, I was pretty stoked on how it all fell into place. I guess, I feel like it all happened for a reason. It was such a cool year, and to be able to do that, fill-in and ride for a factory team was awesome. It’s probably been the best experiences of my career, and will probably be one of the best for a long time. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I got.
It must have been a buzz to, firstly to get on the initial factory bike, and like you said to get on the 2018 model in the end. What was it like getting on a full-factory 250 in MX2? The bike is obviously pretty important in that class as well.
It was awesome, it’s hard to explain. A factory bike is next level really compared to a standard one, you get access to a lot of things that you can’t in just a normal team. It was pretty cool to see all that and how everything works, the adjustment and everything like that. Everyone wants to help and make the bike help on the day, we got so much data and information that helps a lot for the whole day. It was pretty cool and it was awesome to see, I just learned so much for the four rounds that I was there. Everything was different, some of the things you can’t really explain to be honest. The ’18 bike was definitely cool, I didn’t expect to ride that at all. Micky [Cervellin] said he had an injury in Assen the morning of the race, and they switched everything as soon as they could – I just went out there in free practice and rode the bike for the first time. I didn’t test it once, it took a little to get used to, but not too much. It’s still a bike with an engine and two wheels, so there wasn’t too much difference aside from the feeling. With the track being the way it was, it was hard to feel anything, but I adapted pretty quickly. Last weekend I adapted even more, and yeah, it turned out good. I was informed before the weekend that I didn’t have a spot for next year, so I needed to go out there prove what I was capable of. I think it was really important for me to go out there and do the best I could under the circumstances. I got two good starts and tried to make it happen, so I was pretty happy with my riding and how the weekend went.
Looking ahead, is the MX2 World Championship the target full-time or do you have any sort of indication just yet?
Yeah, MX2 full-time was definitely on the cards and I thought I was riding there and everything was set, but like I said, I got informed on the Friday night before the weekend that I don’t have a place there anymore. It was sort of a shit feeling, but it added fuel to the fire and showed how much I wanted to be in that class next year and showed what I’m capable of. Hopefully I can find something in the next couple of weeks, I definitely want to be racing in the MX2 class next year. I’m just trying to figure things out now, I don’t really know what to do to be honest. I definitely want to be there, but I’ll just see what happens and what pans out.
Just over 12 months ago you were lifting the trophy as the Australian MX2 champion, so how would you compare yourself as a rider back then to now?
Yeah, for sure I’ve improved a lot over here. It’s hard to say because everything is so different over here and every time you ride, you’re learning something. I think over here is really cool, there’s no secrets or anything – there’s no private tracks, there’s just tracks like Lommel and that where you rock up there on a day to ride and there’s 10 pros there. It’s cool that you can just watch them and learn everything you possibly can just by watching. Getting to know people and talking, I think that’s just how the sport is so much better over here. Everyone wants to keep it a secret in Australia, most people go to private tracks and you go to a local one and there’s really not many pros there. It’s hard to try and get better if you don’t have someone pushing you all the time, and in Australia, everyone is far away too – there’s guys in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and WA, everyone is spread out which doesn’t help. Here, everyone is close and makes it a lot easier. It’s been good just learning everything and I think being here for this year has definitely helped my riding. I’ve just been wanting to progress all year and I think it took little steps, but I think it’s the little one percent things that go along away in riding now. So yeah, just going on that trying to learn every time. I can do a solid week of riding and come out of it and think yeah that’s a good week, I learned some things. It seems there’s weeks I went riding heaps this year and there were one percent things every week. I’m happy about being here and learning new things all the time.
With the GP series over, what’s the plan between now and the end of the year and when will you come home?
I’m not actually sure, to be honest. I think I’m going to check out the Nations even if I’m just there watching – it’s a cool event and I’ll go there to cheer on the Aussie boys. It’s always good to watch a GP event too, I quite like it even spectating. It’s going to be good to have a look at that and cheer on the boys, but I’m not sure when I’ll be home yet because I’ve still got to plan what’s going to happen next year and try sort something out. Once I get something sorted, I’ll probably make a plan and go from there.
It’s definitely been good to watch and be able to follow your progress where we could, so yeah, well done a great result once again.
Thank you, I appreciate it.