Even a bone-jarring crash could not derail Bay of Plenty’s Ben Townley at the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Supercross Championships in Tokoroa on Saturday night.
The Tauranga man, still on the comeback from a shoulder injury suffered in 2007, remains on target to take his first national title in nearly 10 years after another scintillating display on the race track, this time at a Tokoroa track made treacherous by persistent drizzle.
Townley’s 9-1-1 results meant the former world and United States champion finished the night an unaccustomed third overall, behind Mount Maunganui pair Cody Cooper (Suzuki) and Mason Phillips (Kawasaki), but it was still enough for him to extend his lead in the championship chase to 26 points over his nearest threat, Christchurch Honda rider Justin McDonald.
While most attention was focussed on Townley, there was no denying the incredible pace of fellow Kiwi international Cooper, who, despite having to brave a painful knee injury following his crash at round one, won the night in Tokoroa with 1-3-2 results and leapt from fourth to third equal in the championship standings.
The Senior Lites (250cc) class belonged to defending champion Scott Columb (Suzuki), the Queenstown man finishing 2-1-1 on the night to edge out dual-class campaigner Phillips – who took his Kawasaki to 1-2-2 finishes.
Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Suzuki) was third best on the night and also remains third in the championship standings.
Rangiora’s McGoldrick brothers, Isaiah and Micah, continue to lead the two junior classes.
Isaiah McGoldrick (KTM) won the junior 250cc class at Tokoroa and created a 16-point buffer over nearest challenger Tom Managh (Suzuki), of Wanganui.
Micah McGoldrick topped the podium in the Junior Lites (85cc) class at Tokoroa and stretched his advantage to 21 points over Feilding’s Haki Waller (Kawasaki).
The racing will go down to the wire with the fourth and final round set for Manukau City this coming Saturday night.
Motorcycling New Zealand supercross co-commissioner Neil Ritchie, of Palmerston North, said he was very impressed by the level of talent on show.
“The standard of riding is improving all the time,” he said.
“Tokoroa put on a sparkling show and, despite the damp weather, nobody left early. And certainly nobody would have gone away disappointed by the spectacle. It was brilliant.”
Leading standings after round three of the New Zealand Supercross Championships at Tokoroa on Saturday night:
1. Ben Townley (Tauranga) 162 points;
2. Justin McDonald (Christchurch) 136;
3= Mason Phillips (Mount Maunganui) 135;
3= Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui) 135
1. Scott Columb (Queenstown) 165 points;
2. Mason Phillips (Mount Maunganui) 156;
3. Brad Groombridge (Taupo) 132.
1. Isaiah McGoldrick (Rangiora) 157 points;
2. Tom Managh (Wanganui) 141;
3. Brandon Tipene (Auckland) 125.
1. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora) 172 points;
2. Haki Waller (Feilding) 151;
3. Scott Sowry (Pahiatua) 130.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.