Al McBeth of Abbotsford, B.C., is getting pretty good at setting new world records. In May of last year, he jumped his Polaris RZR to an unofficial distance of 198 feet, surpassing RJ Anderson’s record by 27 feet.
More recently, McBeth completed the first ever snow jump on a UTV. Propelled by paddle tires, he sent his Polaris RZR flying over an 80-foot gap.
The conditions weren’t ideal for his recent snow jump, but still, McBeth achieved a distance of 80 feet. — Anastasia Sugar photo; courtesy SugarShark Productions
An affinity for airing it out
McBeth’s foray into the world of flight started when he was a kid—first with go-karts, then dirt bikes and just about any mechanized toy he could get his hands on.
Soon, McBeth was jumping his dirt bike at local motocross races. He was good, but this was the early days of freestyle motocross and the scene was just starting to evolve. Ramps were made at home, no CAD designs here. And foam pits, what foam pits?
“When I learned how to do backflips, it was to dirt, not foam,” said McBeth.
The broken bones and dislocated joints eventually caught up with him and McBeth decided it was time to take his freestyle game down a notch. Coincidentally, it was around the same time that Polaris released the first RZR. One ride in 2009 and McBeth was hooked.
“I knew life had just changed,” he said.
A week later, he came home with a new RZR and two years later, he was racing it on dirt tracks in Mission and Kamloops. As the sport and competition grew, McBeth began building his own roll cages and race components.
His sponsor, Concept Distributing, took note and McBeth soon became a partner in the small B.C.-based company.
Al McBeth gets air off a finish-line jump while racing in Alberta. — Mac Sarvas photo
Now, he is the sole owner of Concept, having taken it from what was mainly a distributor of motocross apparel to a full-fledged manufacturer and distributor of performance products for UTVs. According to McBeth, the sport is growing exponentially, business is booming and the biggest challenge he faces is keeping up with it all.
“Putting in an 18-hour day is a pretty normal thing around here, but doing something you love, it really doesn’t matter,” he said.
Racing is still very much on his radar. In fact, last November, McBeth was invited by the Hellenbach Racing Team from B.C. to compete in the Baja 1000. The team landed a fifth-place finish in the Limited Stock UTV class.
“It was an amazing experience,” said McBeth. “I'll be doing it every year from now on.”
Last winter, McBeth also took his first stab at ice racing at the Studs on Ice race in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Instantly addicted, he now has plans to follow the entire Alberta endurance ice racing circuit. His mission, when it comes to racing, is not only to win, but to promote the sport as well.
“From Day 1, I’ve been sponsoring everything and all the riders that I can—just doing everything I can to try and build the sport up,” he said.
He tried ice racing last winter as well. — Photo courtesy Concept Distributing
Improving the safety of the sport is the main reason he looks for ways to set new boundaries.
“Our company is about keeping people safe—that’s our main goal,” he said. “Roll cages and safety apparatus are what we build and what we stand behind 100 per cent.”
Which means McBeth is sort of like a guinea pig. If something’s going to break, he wants it to happen in his hands, not the customer’s.
“Believe me, over the years, I’m not one to preach safety,” he said. “I’ve done my fair share of really dumb things but if people can learn from my mistakes, so to speak . . . , then we’ve done our job to some extent.”
His natural inclination to defy gravity also comes into play.
“I’ve always loved pushing the limits and I like jumping so it’s kind of a perfect fit,” he said.
These days, breaking world records is not something that is taken lightly, especially to motorsports enthusiasts. McBeth’s long jump record has since been beat, but according to him, it won’t be for long.
“This year, we’ve got a bigger ramp being built, a bigger landing, a total different suspension for the (side-by-side) and a turbo instead of naturally aspirated,” he said.
And this time, he’s hoping to get it in the Guinness Book of World Records.
From concept to reality, it’s just another day in the life of Al McBeth.
Keep an eye on Al McBeth and Concept Distributing for big things to happen this year. — Anastasia Sugar photo; courtesy SugarShark Productions