Very exciting news for the AFT Twins class: JD Beach has joined the well-respected Estenson team to race a full season of AFT Twins.
This says a lot about the state of pro flat track compared to road racing. Since the mid-70s flat track has seen some of its most notable talents leave to chase the bigger pay days in road racing, but this is the first time a racer near the peak of his career has come to full-time flat track. For some reason, Beach hasn't managed (or perhaps wanted) to make the jump to World championship status, despite being one of Yamaha's golden boys and having two US national championships and a Red Bull Rookies championship to his name.
Beach has raced AFT Twins in recent seasons, with great performances. He was second at the 2018 season opener, the Daytona TT; sixth at the final Mile race of 2018 after most of the season spent road racing; third at the Perris Half-Mile at the end of 2017, his only race of the year, and won he Superprestigio last December.
Beach has had a very long relationship with Yamaha and the official press release said he will race the Yamaha MT-07 (the bike we feature in Sideburn 33, that Jake Johnson wrote about for us). Johnson moved off the Yamaha when the Estenson team bought Indian FTR750s and his results improved, but Beach has scored his impressive AFT results on a Yamaha twin framer.
Estenson also announced that Jake Johnson will stay with the team. Johnson came 8th overall in 2018, his first season with Estenson, and scored one win at the Buffalo chip TT.
The final piece of Estenson news was that their 2018 singles rider, Kolby Carlile, will move up to the twins class. Carlisle was the 2017 Singles champ, but could only manage fourth overall in his 2018 season, scoring three wins along the way.
That is some team! Three very fast guys, as different stages of their careers, all in AFT twins. Estenson has made it clear in their release that all three riders will exclusively race Yamahas for the entire season, so it looks like the FTR750 will not be seen in Estenson colours this season. Or at least not at AFT rounds.
That means at least two serious championship contenders will be on Japanese bikes, with Bryan Smith on the Kawasaki and Beach on the Yamaha.
Read our interview with JD Beach in Sideburn 33. Also in the same magazine is Jake Johnson's feature on the Estenson Racing Yamaha FZ-07 Framer.