BMW, Muscle Milk lead wet ALMS qualifying in Austin

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BMW Team RLL has a deep bench of talent. When it became apparent Maxime Martin would be unavailable for this weekend’s American Le Mans Series race weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, there was only one replacement: Joey Hand, a BMW Team RLL veteran and former class champion who has only raced in ALMS part-time in 2012 and 2013 due to his DTM commitments.

Hand, back driving with Bill Auberlen for the first time since 2009, took the No. 55 BMW Z4 to the GT class pole in damp conditions in Austin with a best time of 2:17.178.

“Considering I was supposed to be floating around my pool here, this is a great day for me,” Hand said. “The difference for me is being in the black car. I know all the guys, I’ve been here a long time, different engineer, but I know the team. It’s nice to be back with Bill Auberlen, we joked that we’re putting the band back together. For sure we’re not the quickest car in the dry, but in the wet we were sure fast.”

Hand outqualified the two Corvettes, teammate John Edwards in the No. 56 BMW and Patrick Long in CORE autosport’s No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, a new tub for that team after being caught up in the start line accident at Baltimore.

Lucas Luhr delivered Muscle Milk Pickett Racing its fifth straight overall and P1 class pole in the team’s HPD ARX-03c. Marino Franchitti took the P2 class pole in Level 5’s No. 552 HPD ARX-03b, with Renger van der Zande (PC, 8Star/DragonSpeed Mishumotors) and Damien Faulkner (GTC, TRG) also scoring class poles. It’s the first poles of the season for the latter two.

The eighth round of the 2013 season, another two-hour, 45-minute affair, goes green at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles
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Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.