|BARCELONA, Spain (Dec. 16, 2017) – It was another night of action-packed Superprestigio racing on the short track at the Palau Sant Jordi, and when it was all said and done, it was American J.D. Beach standing atop the victory podium. Standing alongside were fellow American Flat Track racers Briar Bauman and Ferran Cardus, finishing second and third, respectively, rounding out what was a riveting and dominant performance by the trio.
It was a tough beginning to the day for Beach, as the No. 95 Ausio/Grau Racing Yamaha YZ450F rider had wheel and shock problems, requiring him to run a different set-up to what he’d ridden during his previous days in Spain. So it was all hands on deck from his team, fellow Americans and new friends in Spain. Beach not only rebounded from his rough beginning but absolutely shined in the finals, grabbing the Open Final win and then going on to take in dramatic fashion exactly what he flew to Barcelona for – the Superprestigio Final win for America.
“It was a crazy day for sure!” said Beach post-race. “After practice, we found that my front wheel was broken, so we started changing things… Everyone, and especially Briar’s team, have been such a help. Coming in, I didn’t expect this. I struggled yesterday, and qualifying wasn’t so good. But it worked out. Everyone helped. I’m at a loss for words, really. Gotta thank Brad Baker! He couldn’t make it this year, and I was the first guy he called. I was honored to take his spot. I’m pumped that Briar and I went 1-2. He wanted a different order, I’m sure, but it worked out. Hopefully we can go on to Paris next year and fight again!”
Beach’s fellow American had to rebound to make it a Team USA One-Two. The No. 14 Zanotti Kawasaki KX450F rider came together with Cardus at the start, but fought his way back to pass the Spanish Flat Track National Champion in the end and take second. It wasn’t exactly the result Bauman was hoping for, but he was happy to bring home a top result for the U.S. and enjoyed his first time overseas for his debut Superprestigio race.
“It was a little wild in that main event,” said Bauman afterwards. “I had a pretty good start, but got shuffled back to fifth or sixth early. It was very tight, and I had to make some aggressive moves; I think I got into just about everyone on the track at some point. Unfortunately, that’s how we grow up riding in America; you gotta muscle your way around sometimes. J.D. had my number for the Open finals. In the Super Final, my tire came in, and I was able to get second.”
As for Cardus, he was happy to put his No. 77 Team Grau Suzuki RM-Z450 on the podium and to continue his flat track racing education against two very tough short track riders from American Flat Track’s premier class.
“I’m quite happy, and I have enjoyed learning from all these great U.S. riders, from Brad (Baker), and JD, and Briar,” Cardus said. “I’m hoping to improve even more to do even better in the future, here in Spain and in the U.S. also. I’m working to come to the U.S. in 2018 and hopefully take part in all of the AFT championship events. Thanks again to Brad Baker and my Suzuki Team Grau for all the support.”
On the outside looking in was former Moto 2 World Champion/reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Toni Elias. The No. 24 Yoshimura Suzuki rider took top honors in the Superprestigio Class and got off to a great start, but fell victim to some good ol’ fashioned American-style short track racing, ultimately getting shuffled back to fourth. Completing the top five was Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio, a solid effort for the Moto3 rider on the No. 21 Zaeta.