The delayed return of New Zealand’s Ben Townley to GP racing saw an impressive turnout of more than 30,000 motocross-mad spectators line the St Jean d’Angely GP hillside circuit for the fifth round of 15 in the FIM Motocross World championship in France.
The CLS Pro Circuit Kawasaki team was excited to have Taupo man Townley completing the three man team once again and the resilient Kiwi more than delivered on their expectations at their home GP.
Townley improved every time he went out on the KX450F and with his confidence growing he rolled onto the line for moto one of the talent packed MX1 class.
Grabbing a good start he was just outside the top five and running a consistent pace, with a gaggle of riders hot his heels. Townley defended his position well and only lost two spots to finish 8th, just behind Max Nagl and Russian youngster Evgeny Bobryshev.
An even better start in Moto two saw Townley challenging for the hole-shot but he was pushed wide to the steep bank exiting the first turn.
Townley turned in some impressive lap times and fended off challenges from defending world champion Antonio Cairoli and then in the latter stages from Nagl. Going into the final lap Townley occupied 5th spot but then collided with Nagl as the two riders crossed lines and went down. Townley retired unscathed.
“The team found better settings this weekend and my riding improved every time I went on the track. It was a building exercise and it’s just disappointing that I missed one vital lap, the last one of the weekend.
“The result was a lot better than what you see on paper, and I’m pretty happy with the progress. Starting the last lap of the second race, Nagl passed me at the finish line. I kept my line but he crossed it and we collided which was unfortunate. I still have a long way to go concerning my physical shape, so I was pleased to achieve what I did this weekend and know that more is still possible.”
A heavy schedule awaits Townley as he heads to Portugal (Agueda) and Spain (La Baneza) which will complete the three back-to-back GPs over the next two weeks.
© Main photo by Stefan Paetow, eons netmedia
Photo below by CDS