A BIKESPORTNZ.COM EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
The deal is signed and sealed and now Ben Townley has plans to deliver.
New Zealand’s 2004 world MX2 champion and 2007 East Coast Lites AMA supercross Champion has been virtually unable to race since his horrific crash at the Motocross of Nations at Budd’s Creek, USA, in September 2007, and he’s been back home in recent months to New Zealand to rest and properly heal his damaged right shoulder.
Riding again on a Kawasaki in New Zealand, the 24-year-old former factory star is able to report he’s well on the road to being 100% again.
And now, despite the economic slump, he’s earned himself a top-shelf ride back in the United States for 2010.
Townley will ride for the Team Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda Team.
He will remain in New Zealand to ride and race his Kawasaki KX450F — planning his official comeback at the Whakatane Summercross just after Christmas, followed by the popular annual Woodville GP in the Manawatu — and he will then join the TLD squad aboard a Honda CRF450 at round one of the American Motocross Championships in Sacramento, California, in May.
“I’m really happy about the deal,” he told BikesportNZ.com.
“The team is supplied parts by the Honda factory but it’s not strictly a factory bike. We will be using Pro Circuit engines and everything is done in the Troy Lee Designs workshop in Corona, California.
“I will still be able to be based in Florida but will go across to Corona to do testing.
“Troy Lee had been heavily involved with racing super moto for Honda and wanted to get into supercross. They started with supercross two years ago and now they want to get into motocross … and that’s where I come in.
“I also plan to race the first couple of Grand Prix events in Europe before then. We just have to see if we can put all that together yet.
“But my plans in New Zealand have not changed at all. I will still be on a Kawasaki here and I can’t thank (Kawasaki Motorcycle Distributors general managerr) Mike Wilkins enough for all that he has done for me.
“He has been a great support and I am very grateful.
“I am feeling really good at the moment and have been riding a lot of supercross at my track in Te Puke. I’m really getting back to speed now.
“My shoulder is giving me no problems at all now … no pain, nothing. I can’t wait to go racing.”
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com