MotoAmerica: The King who took back his crown
With the world on pause it’s a strange time for racing but Tim Allen caught up with Cameron Beaubier to find out what the four times Moto America champion is thinking as he prepares to start another title defence
After the thrilling conclusion to the 2019 MotoAmerica season Cameron Beaubier is looking forward to getting 2020 started and defending his superbike crown.
Having won four out of the last 5 MotoAmerica superbike championships, no one would blame Beaubier if motivation was an issue as he continues to eye a potential move overseas in the not-so-distant future.
“We’re not in-house Yamaha any longer, we’re Attack Yamaha,” Beaubier stated. “It’s almost a little more motivating for me, having something new and fresh. It’s hard to stay motivated and it’s tough to go testing when you don’t necessarily have anything new and you’re just pounding out laps. This year it’s quite a bit different. Just having the 2020 R1 is refreshing. It is motivating and I’m ready to go racing.”
Winning the championship in 2019 did not come easy, and Beaubier needed things to fall exactly his way in order to pull it off. For most of the season it seemed like things just never could get on-track until the final few rounds where he was able to overcome Toni Elias and win the championship on the final day.
“Little things would go wrong here and there, and we just kept fighting. I don’t really know what clicked but I think last year was a pretty tough year on me, honestly. In the back of my head I was trying to figure out what the future holds for me. It’s like some years you have super smooth years, and everything clicks, and other years everything just seems difficult. It’s hard to explain. But, when everything needed to work out, it did.”
As the 2019 offseason progresses and Beaubier and his new Attack Performance team prepare for the start of the 2020 season, things are bound to be different. Especially since the factory teams have dropped out of MotoAmerica competition.
“The bike, yes it’s an R1, but it’s quite a bit different than what we were running last year. Our bikes have been amazing the last few years. I feel like with the 2020 bike we’ll definitely be able to find a little more power which is what we’ve been lacking a little bit last year,” noted Beaubier. “[Richard] Stamboli is a really, really smart guy. I was impressed even in the first couple of laps I had on the bike. For one, just how different a R1 can feel and two, how advanced he is with electronics. How good the system was right off the bat.”
While Beaubier and teammate Jake Gagne will still be running a factory-supported Yamaha, some things won’t change with the competitors he lines up against when the 2020 season finally kicks off, while some other things will definitely change. With the new season comes new challenges and challengers.
“To be honest, I think the competition is still going to be tough. It maybe allows someone like Kawasaki to come in and not have to spend a crazy amount of money. With the great riders we’ve had the last few years, and I’ve heard of a few new names coming in, I’m hoping MotoAmerica keeps growing. They’ve done an amazing job growing the series.”
The MotoAmerica paddock has seen a few departures from the last season with riders like Garret Gerloff headed to the WorldSBK championship and JD Beach choosing to compete in the American Flat Track Series full-time. But, even with these departures, the 2020 grid promises to provide some great competition and heart pounding racing. The top riders in the series; Beaubier, Elias, Gagne, Scholtz, Herrin all return and there will be some new faces as well with Bobby Fong and former WorldSBK rider PJ Jacobsen returning to the superbike class to fight for the championship. Add in another year of experience riding the Ducati for Kyle Wyman and the competition for wins and podiums promises to be fierce.
“You can never rule out Toni [Elias]. He’s an incredible competitor,” observed Beaubier. “I think Bobby Fong is going to be really strong. And my teammate, Jake Gagne, he’s an incredible talent. He’s one of the most talented guys in our pit on a motorcycle. I think a guy like Kyle Wyman, he’s going to have another year under his built on that Ducati. At times last year he was going really fast. I think another guy that is going to be pretty strong is Cam Peterson.”
With the 2020 MotoAmerica season currently in a holding pattern due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Beaubier is content to stay in America for the short-term but the lure of European racing remains on his mind.
“I’m signed with Yamaha for 2 years. I still want to get to Europe but right now I have a really good opportunity,” noted Beaubier. “The bottom line is it didn’t make sense to go over there with what I had offered. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to go over there, but I think I’m doing the right thing financially. I’m super thankful for what I have. I’m just really happy at this moment. Thankful for Yamaha, I’ve been with them now for 8 years, the championships we’ve won together. Just it’s been a pretty amazing journey so far.”
Photo Credit: Brian J. Nelson