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Beach wins 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Beach wins 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

American rider JD Beach is the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner, following this weekend´s conclusion to the competition at Brno.

Sturla Fagerhaug won a superb, race-long battle with Matthew Hoyle to win the last race of the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and by pushing Luis Salom back to third gave JD Beach the Cup - even though the 16 year-old American failed to finish due to a mechanical failure.

Norwegian 16 year-old Fagerhaug shot away from the line only slightly behind pole sitter Mathew Scholtz and soon swept into the lead. He raced away and made 17 year-old Briton Hoyle work hard as the Brno lap record holder gave chase. Salom was coming off the back of the grid having crashed in Saturday´s race but was riding superbly and up to ninth by the end of the first lap. A lap later he was third with only Fagerhaug and Hoyle ahead.

Beach also crashed in Saturday´s race but remounted to finish eleventh and so started from the third row but he was struggling a little and battling for seventh. The Cup would be decided between the two of them and while Beach went into the race with the points advantage he would be in trouble if Salom won.

Beach thought it was all over when his bike stuttered to a halt on lap four. Now all that Salom needed was second place to take the Cup. Fortunately for Beach, Fagerhaug and Hoyle were just too fast and consistent. As Hoyle closed on Fagerhaug they were racing away from Salom at about two seconds a lap.

Beach did not have that overview and thought his Cup hopes died with the bike. `I was mad but I know stuff like that happens. It´s not like it was the mechanic´s fault but I thought for sure I´d lost the Cup,´ he explained.

Beach understood that the points situation was tight going into the final race. `I knew that if Salom won I had to get fourth, I was trying to think about it but not too much, I didn´t want to have my head full of a load of pressure going into the last race. In the race I knew that he was ahead of me and I was trying to get past the guys around me but I also didn´t want to crash. The lap before it stopped the bike lost a bit of power but I didn´t think too much of it, then it just quit.´

While Beach thought he had lost the Cup the leading duo, who were giving it to him, certainly didn´t have that on their minds. Hoyle was the fastest man on the track and took the lead on lap seven of thirteen. `It wasn´t easy to catch Sturla,´ said Hoyle. `I really had to push for it but I love this track and as it´s the last race of the season I didn´t want to come away second.´

Fagerhaug felt the same way. `When Matt caught me I followed him for a couple of laps and picked up a few lines. I got back in front but I couldn´t get away from him. Then I knew it would come down to the last lap. I had the plan to pass him at the end of the front straight going onto the last lap and that is what I did.´

Fagerhaug led, but Hoyle was on his tail. `I knew that I was pretty good on the brakes into the last corners, so I was happy to lead,´ said the Norwegian. `He came past me up the inside into the last left hander but then ran wide, I looked over and I knew that I could get him back at the right so I did.´

`I just went for it,´ said Hoyle. `It was my last chance to win one and I just waited for him to brake and went later, too late, but at least I tried.´

Salom could not hide his disappointment at losing the Cup by just four points. `What a weekend, the crash yesterday and then third today. Third should be good but this wasn´t good enough. Four wins this season but I wanted the Cup.´

Beach couldn´t believe his good fortune when he was told the Cup was his. `You what!? No way! I did?´ he exclaimed.

When he calmed down a bit he began to enjoy the situation. `It´s so great because it´s only my second year of road racing. I feel like I´ve been working hard at it. Even if I´d not won, it was a great year of learning and battling. I had a lot to learn this year. I really struggled through those first races just not being able to brake as well as I needed. The braking has got a lot better but still needs a lot of improvement. I know I´ve still got a long way to go but the Rookies Cup has made a road racer out of a dirt tracker.´


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