It was another tough day at the office for flying Kiwi Ben Townley at round two of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Texas on Saturday, the Honda rider slipping from sixth to seventh in the championships standings.
With a third placing in the first 450cc moto of the day, the Bay of Plenty man looked well on target to take a podium spot at Freestone Raceway, until a mishap in moto two saw him forced to battle back from a crash and settle for 16th spot at the chequered flag.
Townley (Troy Lee Designs Honda) did not get the start he needed in moto one, however he showed great speed as he carved his way through the field coming from outside the top ten. Townley pushed his way into a podium position behind race leader Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) and tried to keep the American honest over the 30 min + 2 lap Moto. Aussie rival Chad Reed (Kawasaki) closed down Townley in the dying stages and managed to pip the Kiwi for second as Townley crossed the finish line in 3rd for his first AMA podium finish of the year.
A second moto pile-up saw Townley tangle with another rider.
He stood up from the carnage with a torn shirt and grazed back and side but after a quick check by the medical staff, he opted to remount and give chase to the pack. Running fast lap times, he quickly made up lost positions and moved into 14th place with five minutes left on the clock. The tremendous effort had left Townley with nothing left in the can and under the sweltering heat he had to relinquish two positions as he came home in 16th spot.
“The organisers did an awesome job of the track by bringing in some extra sand which created a lot of ruts and rough sections which I enjoyed.
“I qualified fifth which I was pretty happy with and it gave me a good pick of the gate for both motos. I made a mistake in the second turn of moto one and almost went down so I had a lot of work to do to come through the pack from outside the top 10. I had to pace myself during the moto and eventually caught Brett Metcalfe (Honda) to take second but then Reed got by me with two laps to go – he had a good line in the sand whoops and used that to jump by me.
“The second moto I got tangled with another rider and got burnt either by a tyre or a header pipe so I was hurting quite a lot but managed to get going and pull back a lot of time. The effort I put in took its toll at the end of the moto but I was happy to salvage some points. I’m looking forward to Mt Morris next weekend, it’s a track I’ve always enjoyed with the elevation changes so hoping to put two strong motos together,” explained Townley.
Meanwhile, Suzuki’s Dungey celebrated the overall win in the 450cc class, his first career win at the top level of the sport.
After a tough opening round, Dungey returned stronger than ever in Texas and proved he is a title contender in the premier class. After grabbing good starts in each moto, he worked his way into the lead in the early stages and never look back, posting perfect 1-1 moto scores on his way to taking the overall.
“It feels good to come back strong and get a win,” said Dungey. “We had a tough weekend at the opening round but we went back and worked hard to get better and were able to get a win. I want to be at the front of the pack and challenge for wins and the championship so it feels good to get that first one out of the way.”
Defending 450 class champion and first round winner Reed endured a pair of tough starts aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki, but showed an impressive resiliency by working his way through the field, finishing 2-3 to grab the runner-up spot overall.
Honda’s Kyle Regal, of Kemp, Texas, grabbed a career-best third overall (5-3) in front of his hometown fans.
Despite a first turn crash in the final 250 class moto of the day, French rider Christophe Pourcel battled his way to the front portion of the field to finish fifth and in the end, salvaged the overall victory by virtue of a first moto win to take the early-season points lead.
“I was surprised to get the overall,” said Pourcel. “I fell in the second moto and just rode as good as I could to get a good finish. It’s good for the championship and I will go to High Point next weekend and try to win again.”
Pourcel led the way to a Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki and international sweep of the podium as Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, tied a career-best second overall and rookie Dean Wilson, of Canada, captured the best career finish of his young career in third.
The Women’s Motocross Championship hosted its second round of the 2010 season as well with opening round winner Jessica Patterson remaining undefeated on the season, sweeping both motos on her way to the win for DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha.
The championship continues next weekend from Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania for round three and the Rockstar Energy High Point National from High Point Raceway on June 12.
Results from round two at Freestone Raceway – Wortham, Texas, June 5, 2010, Round 2 of 12:
450 Class (moto finish)
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (1-1)
2. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (2-3)
3. Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda (6-2)
4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (7-4)
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (5-10)
6. Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Suzuki (4-12)
7. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (12-5)
8. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda (3-16)
9. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha (9-9)
10. Michael Byrne, Newnan, Ga., Yamaha (8-11)
450 class championship standings:
1. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 87
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 76
3. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 68
4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 66
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 60
6. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 55
7. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda, 54
8. Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda, 51
9. Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Suzuki, 43
10. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 37
250 Class (moto finish)
1. Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki (1-5)
2. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (6-1)
3. Dean Wilson, Canada, Kawasaki (3-3)
4. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha (8-2)
5. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (4-7)
6. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (2-11)
7. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda (9-6)
8. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (5-12)
9. Max Anstie, England, Yamaha (15-4)
10. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (10-8)
250 class championship standings
1. Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 86
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 77
3. Dean Wilson, Canada, Kawasaki, 69
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 68
5. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 61
6. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 58
7. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 56
8. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 54
9. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 50
10. Max Anstie, England, Yamaha, 40
WMX Class (moto finish)
1. Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (1-1)
2. Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda (2-2)
3. Tarah Gieger, Winter Gardens, Fla., Honda (3-3)
4. Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (4-4)
5. Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki (5-5)
6. Erica Cook, Natalia, Texas, Yamaha (7-10)
7. Mariana Balbi, Brazil, Yamaha (10-8)
8. Tatum Sik, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (8-11)
9. Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM (12-9)
10. Shelbie Brittain, Rockwall, Texas, Kawasaki (11-12)
© Photo by Joe Bonnello