Many people have attended a short-course race and walked away asking themselves, “How do I get into racing?” For Ryan Beat, racing short-course was much more than just a pipe dream. Beat worked hard to turn that dream into a reality, finding his own funding. Educating himself on how to build and work on a race truck.
Just a young kid living in El Cajon, California, Beat started on his career path at age 5, riding motocross. Beat quickly moved from the ranks of amateur to pro. Beat was a factory test rider for Kawasaki when a crash would end his moto career. It was after the crash while Beat was trying to heal his shattered wrist that a family friend invited him to an event to race an adult Trophy Kart against big names like Brian Deegan, Casey Currie, and Jeremy McGrath. He took Third at that event and a new-found passion in short-course off-road. He put together a UTV program with that family friend. Beat won 10 races that year. Next up was a Pro-Lite. Beat found he could hang in the Top 5. All good things, of course, have to come to an end as funding for the program dried up and Beat found himself without a ride. With just $14,000 in the bank, Beat went back to running a UTV on his own. It was then that the door blew wide open.
Under The Big Tent
Ryan Beat got picked up by the Hart and Huntington Off Road team. They had semis, mechanics, and a big image. Next up was to build a Pro-Lite from the ground up. Relying on the expertise of Pro-2 racer Robby Woods, who built his own truck, Beat learned everything he could. “We literally built it from one piece of tubing all the way to a fully working race truck,” Beat says. It was through this experience that Beat learned valuable skills like fabrication and the concept of engineering a race truck. He would finish the season Second in points with seven total podiums. Not bad for his first full season in Pro-Lite with a super team. At the end of the season, Beat sold that Pro-Lite and built a better one with everything he had learned on setup while racing.
The Dream becomes Reality
After 2 seasons under the big tent, Beat decided to go out on his own. This would prove to be his biggest career move ever. He was walking away from full-time mechanics, full pit support and, of course, would have to secure his own sponsorship and his own funding for his program. Moving on his own was not going to be easy. Fortunately, Beat had a lot of good contacts and a growing reputation in the industry. He also had the race truck he built, but he needed to figure out how it was going to get to the races each weekend. Sitting in Beat’s driveway was a newer-model crew cab pickup truck he used as a daily driver. Beat sold the truck and acquired an old U-Haul box van. He took the box van, fixed up the interior with electrical outlets and places to secure his too, added a wrap so his sponsors were well represented and, of course, put his team name on the box truck: “Ryan Beat Motorsports” in large lettering. Beat called up some friends and with the help of his dad, Dennis, was ready for the first race of the season in 2014.
Your own Team
“If you are going to start your own program, you better have at least a year of free time,” Beat says. “The hours and mental stress will wear you down.” There is so much involved. Beat says it’s not just showing up to the track each weekend with your truck, you also need to be competitive and go after a championship. When Beat started short-course racing he says, “I remember thinking, man that would be so cool to have a semi and a full-time pit crew. It never crossed my mind that I would actually have it [my own race program].” Beat’s advice to someone jumping into short-course off-road racing, is hard work. He says, “If you want something bad enough, you gotta work for it.” Today Ryan Beat Motorsports still doesn’t have any full-time help. He preps the truck with the help of his dad in a small 2,000-square-foot shop Dennis built on his property in El Cajon. The crew that helps Beat at the races usually comes down at least once a week to put in some time helping at the shop. There is a new addition for 2015 to the race program. Beat was able to secure enough sponsorship money to sell the box van and buy a fullsize motorsports hauler. Looking at the hauler in the driveway, Beat says, “It’s one of those things where you gotta pinch yourself every day. It’s crazy! I didn’t think I would ever own a $150,000 rig.” When you ask Beat about sponsorships he mentions the word family. Sponsorships are not just about getting money. He says, “It’s like bringing someone into the family.” Beat wants them to be part of his program and part of his dream. He wants to make sure they get a return on their investment. Another major factor in running your own team is presentation. For Beat, presentation is key. Everything has to look right. Beat learned early on that having a professional look and image goes a long way, and he’s one of those guys that will get it done right. For Beat, the hard work has paid off, and he’s definitely living the dream!