Joshua Cartwright wins Pulp MX Yamaha LCQ Challenge with huge payday

Cartwright LCQ Challenge
Victoria Beaver

DENVER, Colorado – The unsung heroes of the Monster Energy Supercross Series had their day in the sun as Joshua Cartwright pocketed $20,000 for winning the Pulp MX Yamaha LCQ Challenge. The second annual specialty race was open to riders who are outside the top 20 in the points’ standings, and who often get overlooked while the cameras are focusing on Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, Chase Sexton and other superstars of the series battling at the front of the field.

Joshua Cartwright pocketed $20,000 for his Pulp MX Yamaha LCQ Challenge victory, one of the biggest paydays of his career. – Victoria Beaver

On Friday after Press Day at Empower Field, the riders who struggle to get into the night show, where the big money is paid, lined up. Lane Shaw grabbed the holeshot. Fredrik Noren took the early lead but crashed at the end of a rhythm section midway through the race. Cartwright inherited the lead and pulled away from the field.

“It’s unbelievable,” Cartwright told NBC Sports after the race. “I got an okay start, got past a couple of people, then Noren went down and I got the lead. The elevation here is gnarly, so I just told myself to breathe. Hit your marks. On the last lap I just doubled stuff. I had an eight second gap, so I was like ‘dude, just get through it.’ ”

Cartwright beat Cade Clason and Chase Marquier, rode into the mechanics area, dropped his bike and crumpled in exhaustion, saying “I’m shot.”

Cartwright has made 12 mains this year, but with a best finish of 14th, (in Detroit and last week in Nashville), he doesn’t garner much press.

Clason has been in 11 mains and his teammate Marquier four. Nearly all of their advancements into the main came via the Last Chance Qualifiers, a no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle slugfest.

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“It was really stressful to organize the race and answer all the questions, but now that it’s over, it’s cool,” said race organizer Steve Matthes, who uses his Pulp MX podcast to help spread the word about this tier of rider. “It’s awesome to give these guys some money. I wanted to reward the riders who race all year and didn’t make the mains. The guys who are driving the miles, doing the laps and not getting in the main event. And I think we did a good job of that today. Over $120,000 raised for these guys.”

The LCQ Challenge has been around for five years. The first three years, they tallied points based on their LCQ efforts and paid accordingly, but in 2022 Feld Entertainment, the organizer of the Supercross series, gave them a special race.

The money earned in this race is not incidental. Last year’s second-place finisher, Kevin Moranz took his money and built a supercross test track.

Last year’s race winner, Clason took the money and bought a Club MX sponsorship to help improve his program.

“It’s awesome to hear the guys investing in their programs and putting the money toward good use,” Matthes said. “I love to hear those kinds of stories.”

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.