Mazda’s international flavor on display at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Photo: Mazda Motorsports

MONTEREY, Calif. – So this weekend is a thing involving Mazda. A lot of Mazdas. And a lot of drivers from around the world drive a lot of those Mazdas.

Some 82 Mazda-powered entries were split among the five series competing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend, between the full complement of Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, the Mazda-powered IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tires series and the non-points Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Invitational.

There’s also 21 countries that have been a part of these championships this year, although not necessarily all of them are represented this weekend.

On Friday, following the day of practice for all these series, one of John Dean II’s No. 16 Sick Sideways Racing Global MX-5 Cup cars and Santiago Urrutia’s No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian Dallara IL-15 Mazda were present at the base of pit in, both adorned in the Soul Red colors of Mazda, with most (if not all) of the competitors planning to compete this weekend.

Countries featured include (lower row from left to right is U.S. to Puerto Rico; top row from left to right is China to UAE):

  • United States
  • Great Britain
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Germany
  • Russia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Argentina
  • Uruguay
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • China
  • Norway
  • Malaysia
  • Switzerland
  • Australia
  • United Arab Emirates

Most of the drivers were holding their native country’s signs, although there were a couple humorous exceptions – TJ Fischer held the Norwegian flag since Ayla Agren isn’t racing this weekend (although she is on site), and Clark Toppe held the Malaysian flag in the back row, since Weiron Tan has been out of the championship since Barber.

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

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

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.