Beau Beaton Story
Irving Vincent Team dominate International Festival of Speed with two class wins.
The Irving Vincent team completely dominated the Period 5 solo and sidecar classes at the annual International Festival of Speed meeting held at Sydney Motorsport Park over four days from 23-26 March in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
The team arrived at the western Sydney venue with a multi-pronged attack, the same as that used at the International Island Classic in January. Regular team rider, and multiple Australasian ProTwins Champion, Beau Beaton was again joined by Isle of Man TT winner Cam Donald on board the thundering 1300cc Irving Vincent Period 5 solo machines while Barry Horner and Chris Dinuzzo would again line up on the team’s bespoke Period 5 sidecar.
The meeting got off to a flying start when Beau Beaton, who has been riding for the team for many years and always looks at one with the P5 machine, blitzed his way to the top of the timesheets in the first practice session for the combined Period 5 and Period 6 classes. Cam Donald also set about fine tuning the setup of the 1300 Irving Vincent to suit his riding style as he had only limited track time leading up the event, eventually finishing in eighth position in the Period 5 class.
As with every meeting, the team are constantly looking for ways to improve the motorcycle, the creators of the magnificent Irving Vincent machines Ken and Barry Horner were working hard on the set-up in these early sessions with Beau’s ASBK Team Manager Greg Maher and Technical Manager Mark “Doc” Downie from the Racers Edge Performance North Coast V-Twins Craig McMartin Racing Team along with suspension guru Steve Mudford from Race Dynamics to run through the multitude of set-up options available.
The second of three scheduled practice session gave the team another short opportunity to test changes made after the first session before rain set in later in the afternoon and the third session was held on a wet track. With both riders happy with the progress, and fine weather forecast for the remainder of the weekend the team set about preparing the bikes for action the next day.
Barry Horner and Chris Dinuzzo also got off to a great start on the crowd favourite Irving Vincent 1300 Period 5 sidecar finishing both practice sessions as the leading historic bike. Unlike the solo classes the sidecars were running in a combined field with modern, state of the
art, engines and chassis but the 888 machine put on a show for the crowd.
First up on Friday was qualifying for both classes. Although both Beau and Cam were competing in the combined P5 & P6 class their main focus was on qualifying for the premier event, the Top 50. Both riders made sure they were included in the field with excellent performances, Beau was the fastest qualifier ahead of international superstar and International Island Classic adversary Jeremy McWilliams on a Period 6 Harris Suzuki XR69 F1 machine and International Challenge Australian Teammate Alex Phillis on the P5 XR69 he took to a race winearlier this year. Cam Donald also secured a berth and showed he was getting closer to a setup that would allow him to showcase his enormous potential with his best lap of the weekend to date.
Qualifying for the sidecar duo of Barry Horner and Chris Dinuzzo did not go as smoothly. On the first flying lap of the session they lost control on a wet patch of tarmac at turn 5 and ended up crashing into the gravel trap. Both riders were taken to the medical centre with
Chris transferred to Blacktown Hospital with a foot injury and possible concussion.
Friday afternoon saw Beau and Cam line up for their first race of the weekend in leg one of the combined P5 & P6 class. Beau launched the big black V-Twin off the line and held a slender lead over a group of P6 bikes ridden by Aaron Morris, Chas Hern, Glen Skachill, Dean Oughtred and Jeremy McWilliams. Cam Donald was also fighting hard and was running in third position in the P5 class battling with Kiwi Sloan Frost. By the completion of lap three Beau Beaton had opened up a .8 sec lead over Morris, courtesy of successive laps in the 36’s, his fastest of the weekend to date. Another 36 on the final lap saw Beau take victory by nearly two seconds with Cam Donald also recording his best lap of the weekend on lap two to secure fourth place in the P5 class.
The first leg of the Top 50 held on Saturday morning saw both Beau Beaton and Cam Donald switch their focus from the combined P5 & P6 class to the premier class of the weekend.
The first of four Top 50 races for the weekend got the Saturday program underway just after 9 and both Beau and Cam were in the thick of the action from the start. Beau was in close combat with Aaron Morris, Alex Phillis, Dean Oughtred and Chas Hern again and crossed the line at the completion of lap one in fourth. Cam also had his hands full with experienced historic racer Steve Ward on his P6 Ducati and Kiwi veteran Pete Byers on a Katana. Lap two saw Byers force his way past Cam but on the next lap Cam was able to pass Byers back as well as Ward to move forward in the field. Beau also was on the move on lap two moving into third place, and second in the P5 class behind Phillis, a position he would hold to the flag as well as setting the fastest P5 lap of the race, and his fastest lap of the weekend to date, a 36.0. Cam was also obviously feeling more comfortable on the bike each lap and was able to pick off Damien Kavney on lap four as he picked up pace and went on to set his fastest lap of the race on the fifth and final lap to take sixth place in the P5 class.
The sidecar was not able to make the start of the first race of the weekend as the damage from the qualifying crash was repaired but it would not be the end of the weekend for the sidecar team.
Race two for the Top 50 once again saw improvement in lap times and results for both Cam Donald and Beau Beaton. Beau got a good start and was right on the tail of Kiwi Glen Skachill on his exotic Bimota YB8 in the battle for second, by lap three Beau had found his way past and into second on the road behind Aaron Morris and head of the P5 class. Beau’s fastest lap of the race on lap three of 1:35.357 was a new P5 lap record. Cam Donald set his best lap of the weekend on lap two to hone in on Damien Kavney’s Harris XR69, the pair would battle all the way to the flag with Kavney getting the better of Cam and the KH Equipment Irving Vincent on the run to the line in their dice for fifth place in the P5 class.
Saturday afternoon saw Beau Beaton make his debut as passenger on the sidecar. Regular rider Barry Horner was at the controls and with Chris Dinuzzo still feeling the effects of injuries sustained in the qualifying crash Beau Beaton volunteered to swing. Barry got way well and maintained constant pace to take victory in the P5 class and first of the historic sidecars.
Sunday’s fine weather had large crowds lining the circuit as the racing got underway with leg three of the Top 50. Cam and Beau once again recorded strong results with Cam again improving his lap times as his familiarity with the iconic hand built motorcycle improved, recording his best lap time of the weekend on lap two Cam was able to get the better of Damien Kavney in a close battle over the five lap race distance to record a meeting best fourth position in the P5 class. Beau was also in close quarters combat over the first three laps with GP winner Jeremey McWilliams and Aaron Morris, both on P6 machines. On lap four Beau lost a little distance to the leaders as the trio continued to lap in the 1:35 bracket, the gap to McWilliams in second just over one second. With top points on offer in the P5 class Beau remained calm and with a twelve second gap back to the next rider rode a sensible last lap, still 1.2 second under his qualifying time, to secure the P5 race win.
The final Top 50 leg was another great one for the KH Equipment Irving Vincent Team. Cam Donald once again improved his lap time, this time nearly two seconds faster than his time in race three and showing the value in the constant efforts by the team to make him more comfortable on the big V-Twin, and Cam’s superb ability. Another fourth place in the P5 class a great result considering the minimal pre meeting track time and quality field. P5 race victory once again went to Cam’s team mate Beau Beaton after a sensational display of riding. Morris on the P6 machine had got away at the start and led after the first lap by with Beau in third behind McWilliams, also P6 mounted. By the completion of lap two McWilliams was in the lead and Beau about one second behind Morris, after penultimate lap Beau was into second with Morris leading and McWilliams back in third with over 4.6 seconds back to reining Australian P5 Champion Chas Hern, the next P5 bike in fourth. Another lap in the 35’s saw Beau take second place outright along with a solid points haul
International Festival of Speed P5 class victory went to Beau Beaton with Cam Donald also taking a fine fourth place finish after recording strong results in the two final legs.
Not content with taking victory in the solo classes Beau Beaton also went on the take two race wins
and secure the IFoS Period 5 sidecar victory for the team in his debut as pilot on the popular outfit. Teaming up with extremely experienced multiple Australian Champion swinger Matt McKinnon Beau rode to class victory in races three and four, also recording the fastest P5 sidecar lap of the weekend in race four.
Overall a strong weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park for the KH Equipment Irving Vincent Team, two class victories for Beau Beaton along with a fourth place for Cam Donald. The spectators were also winners on the weekend as they got to witness the sound and speed of the Australian built machines that are certainly a crowd favourite.
“Another great weekend on the Irving Vincent” said Top 50 Period 5 and sidecar winner Beau Beat
on. “To get the P5 victory was pleasing and the new lap record was a bonus and a little surprising that we were actually able to go that fast, when we have ridden the P5 bike there
in other meetings before we have never gone near that so I was very happy. It is always good to have a battle with Jeremy (McWilliams) and the dices we both had with Aaron Morris would have given the crowd some good entertainment. As always at these classic meetings with so many classes there is a fair bit of sitting around waiting for the next race so I decided to have a bit of a go on the sidecar, not sure if that was a smart decision or not. I have done a few laps on it at Broadford but I have never raced it before so to have a couple of wins, do the fastest P5 sidecar lap of the meeting and take the class win was a good result. It was also great for me to have a passenger with the experience of Matt McKinnon to help out, so a big thanks to him for all his help. Also, as always it was a pleasure to ride the Vincent for Ken and Barry and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they do”.
“For me, it was the first weekend racing with the guys on this motorcycle and we ended the weekend where I would have liked to start it” said dual Isle of Man TT winner Cam Donald“ We didn’t really get much time on it at the Island Classic so this was like the first time out and that’s just me being a racer and we always want to do better. Beau has been riding this bike for a long time and to be honest I wouldn’t have really known what it was capable of if
it wasn’t for Beau, he is just so good at riding it to its strength and knows it like the back of his hand and that’s what I had to get used to because it is very different to most classic bikes, it really is quite unique. To be honest I was a bit embarrassed at the beginning of the weekend because he was just so quick and I was struggling, and that stung a bit, but the guys never put any pressure on me and we just kept working on the setup with Steve Mudford and in the end the setup that worked for me was very different to what Beau uses. To get my best lap in the last race was great and shows how far forward we moved over the weekend. We ended up fourth overall which was a great result but really I just feel so privileged to be one of the few people that have ridden this beautiful motorcycle and I can’t thank Ken, Barry and the team enough”.
I made hard work of it and the weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts when I turned the sidecar over” commented Team Manager and sidecar pilot Barry Horner. “The sidecar landed on top of me when we crashed at turn 5 and I think I actually protected the bike from damage. I was a bit battered and bruised and did one race with Beau as the passenger as Chris had sustained some damage to his hee l and a bit of concussion. The sidecar has got so much more potential and Beau showed that in the races he did. His first race he went as fast as I did and then he just kept getting quicker. We also for the first time had Steve Mudford look at the setup and work on that and we need to probably do a bit more of that to tap into the potential Beau showed us it, and he, both have. I was really pleased with how both Beau and Cam rode on the solo’s too, Ken and I have been working so hard since the Island Classic to diagnose the issues we had there. It took us near three weeks of constant dyno work to find the problem and then build new engines for each of the solo bikes and the sidecar as well to be ready for this meeting”.
A good result, it was a lot of hard work but it all paid off” said a relieved Team Manager Ken Horner. “We started off the weekend with great expectations and even had a film crew out there doing some filming on Thursday and that probably put even more pressure on us to get a
good result. Beau’s riding was absolutely brilliant and even Jeremy (McWilliams) commented that he doesn’t know how he does it. In turn five especially he was just so fast, around the outside, up the inside it didn’t matter, and if that didn’t work he just made room. Yes, the combination of the rider and motorcycle is very important, but so is the development work that has been done by Craig McMartin and Steve Mudford, so a big thank you to them for everything that they have done to get us here. Having a great chassis is one thing but we really need some engine parity, especially now that we see period five and six running together so much. Up until now we have always had similar riders with Craig and now Beau so it was good to get someone like Cam Donald in to ride the bike and the set up that he found works for him is very different to what Beau has, lucky we had Muddy (Steve Mudford) here to assist with that or we would have been lost. There is still more work to do in that area to make Cam comfortable but it will come and it was great to have him as part of the team. Also a big thanks to Greg and Julie from Racers Edge Performance and Beau’s long time mechanic “Doc” for all their help this weekend too, we couldn’t have done this meeting without their help. It was a big setback with the crash in qualifying with the sidecar and it would have been easy to park it for the weekend, but the more we looked at it the less there was actually wrong with it and there was an enormous crowd hanging around it all weekend so we sort of felt obligated to get it back out there. Beau did a great job first as passenger with Barry at the controls and then as a rider, not bad for someone who had no intention of doing it that morning. The organisers were also great and were a big part of us getting it back out there. Peter McMillian and the PCRA have done a great job to make the International Festival of Speed the meeting that it is”.
Photo credits – Peter Bannigan, Lin Cotter and Brad McDonald