New Zealand’s Ben Townley has claimed his second successive podium of the season as the national motocross championships in the United States hit the halfway point at round six of the 12-round series at Red Bud, Michigan.
Championship leader Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) again won the day, recording two wins, while Australia’s defending champion Chad Reed (Kawasaki) finished 2-2, good enough for overall runner-up on the day, and Townley took the third step on the podium.
Townley (Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda) narrowly missed out on his first moto win at the Red Bud National, however, although his solid race score of 4-3 has shifted the Kiwi up to fourth in the championship standings, now just 12 points behind Australian Brett Metcalfe (Honda).
With probably his strongest qualifying time of the season, Townley had fourth pick of the gate going into the first moto and grabbed a good start as he quickly passed American Honda rider Andrew Short to take the lead.
With series leader Dungey and reigning outdoor champion Reed joining the action, Townley pushed hard to try and break, away from his pursuers.
Dungey challenged Townley several times for the lead, however, every time he made a pass, the Kiwi would counter attack and regain the lead.
With one lap to go, Townley made a vital mistake and went down costing him what should have been his first moto win of the season.
With the same four riders once again challenging for the win, moto 2 saw fellow Short out front with Dungey, Townley and Reed in hot pursuit.
Dungey made his way past Short with Townley following close behind.
With six laps gone, Townley made another mistake, which enabled Reed to move closer, allowing the Australian to then make his move to take over second place from the Kiwi. Townley regained his rhythm and tried to challenge Reed but had to settle for third spot at the chequered flag.
“Red Bud is such a great track to ride on and it makes racing here so much fun. I thought I had the first moto in the bag but got cross-rutted and went down.
“I had a great race with Ryan (Dungey) and we traded positions quite a few times which was good for my confidence. In the second moto I made a mistake while chasing Ryan and that took away my momentum and allowed Chad to get me. We got two good starts this weekend and it will not be long before we can fit all the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Townley.
The weekend’s results, meanwhile, elevated Reed to second in the championship standings.
“It was a good day, I rode strong and made good top five starts in both motos,” Reed said. “This track is amazing but it was a little over watered which left it muddy and deep with only one good line.
“In the first race I felt I had what it takes to win but when Townley crashed on the last lap I was on the left side while Dungey was on the right, and unfortunately his (Townley’s) bike flipped my way and I came off. If it had flipped the other way things would have been very different.
“I didn’t really ride my race in the second moto, I tried to force the issue and made little mistakes that cost me time and allowed Dungey to pull away.
“We have definitely made some good ground today and we still have six rounds remaining, so it is far from over,” Reed stated.
The calendar takes a week break before round seven takes place in Millville, Minnesota on July 17.
Race results: Round 6 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (1-1)
2. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (2-2)
3. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda (4-3)
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda (3-5)
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (5-4)
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (6-6)
7. Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda (7-7)
8. Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Texas, Yamaha (8-8)
9. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (10-9)
10. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Kawasaki (9-12)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 268
2. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 204
3. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 201
4. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda, 189
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 189
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 182
7. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 177
8. Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda, 122
9. Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Texas, Yamaha, 114
10. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha, 108
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com