Features 18 Oct 2022

Fast Thoughts: Jed Beaton

Capable MXGP racer reflects on a tough 2022 campaign and what's next.

This year wasn’t kind to F&H Kawasaki premier class rookie Jed Beaton. After a promising start to the 2022 MXGP World Championship, a shoulder injury and some personal battles saw him struggle to get back on the front foot, ultimately finishing the championship 19th overall after missing multiple rounds. MotoOnline caught up with the 24-year-old to get his Fast Thoughts on his challenges and what lies ahead.

Image: Supplied.

Looking back on 2022…

I had a great off-season and came into 2022 with everything going smoothly. I had a good result – a sixth overall – at the British Grand Prix and came into the second round feeling good. In the second moto I hit a bank, then ran into a steel pole on the side on the side of the track, which smashed into my shoulder. Since then, my shoulder has been playing up flat-out. Even though I’ve done numerous tests that have shown that nothing’s broken, it’s given me grief all year. Then halfway through the year my dad passed away with cancer and that hit me pretty hard… harder than I really expected it to. It felt like a lot of shit happened at once and the season went downhill really quickly – I couldn’t seem to get myself out of the hole.

The shoulder injury…

We’re still getting tests as it’s still not 100 percent. It’s not like it’s painful, but I lose feeling in the front part of my shoulder and my hand. I’ve never had an injury like this, where it’s both more confusing and frustrating than anything. You can ride through pain, but when you can’t feel anything, you can’t hang onto the bars. The strange thing is, it’s not constant – in general life it’s not a problem at all, and it was never giving me enough pain where I wanted to stop and get it fixed. Even when I ride, I’m good for 15-20 minutes, then I just lose strength. I’ve had all the scans and tests and we’re still not sure what the problem is, so now I’m about to start neuro scans where they stick needles in and see if the nerves respond the way they’re supposed to. It’s possible that it’s an issue where there’s a nerve slightly compressed or pinching, so I’m hoping that these tests will tell us what’s wrong.

Dealing with your dad’s passing…

Honestly, returning from a physical injury is 20 times easier than this. It definitely hit me hard as I spend so much time away from home and it made me question whether I should be here or back home. I went home for three or four days to say goodbye and a week later he passed away, which was the same weekend as the Spanish GP. I know he would’ve wanted me to continue pursuing my dreams, but it’s made me realise that there’s more to life than racing. Since I was a kid my life revolved around motocross, but when something in your actual life happens, you realise there’s a normal life you need to live as well, which is something I haven’t ever really thought about before. At the same time, I still felt pressure to perform – not from the team, but from myself. I know what I’m capable of, but I didn’t get to show my true self for multiple reasons. I’m not making excuses, but I didn’t think it’d hit me as hard as what it obviously did.

Image: Supplied.

The support from F&H Kawasaki…

The team was unreal, even in the real shitty times, and never put pressure on me to keep racing. As I said, I think most of that pressure came from myself, as you’re conscious of how much money a team spends to go racing and it’s completely understandable that they need to see results. It was a real mental thing where I wanted to shut down and take a reset from racing, as I didn’t get a chance to accept what had happened and I felt that I needed to continue performing and racing every week. It’s hard to explain the type of shit you go through off the track, and I feel like I let myself down a bit, as I fully expected that I’d be able to turn things around. At the same time, my girlfriend, Holly, has been amazing. Regardless of the highs and lows, it’s just us over here and she’s been so supportive.

Prospects for next year…

I’ve had an unreal time at F&H Kawasaki and I couldn’t rate them highly enough. They’ve been nothing but consistently supportive of me and everything I’ve been through, but they’re returning to a MX2-only team next year. As I only had a one-year deal with them and there’s the age limit rule with MX2, I’m sort of now stuck in a tricky situation. Their goal was to support me through 2022, with the eye of then progressing me to a move me to a decent MX1 team for next year. Unfortunately, my results haven’t been up to par, so my options are quite limited. I’ve got a few little possibilities with some satellite teams, but there’s nothing solid and it’s a waiting game as they try to lock in their budgets and sponsors for next year. I’ve definitely tossed up the option of being a privateer who just does the European rounds, but I’d still need a fair bit of support to do that, and there’s a lot more organisation that goes into that sort of arrangement than what people realise. There have also been offers to return to Australia, but I honestly just want to race the world championship… I’ve given up my whole life to race here and, at the end of the day, that’s still my goal and my main aim is to try and make something of it here.