He’s back and he means business.
Bay of Plenty’s Ben Townley has had a hurtful run of luck over the past few years, but now the Kiwi international is back from the brink and putting the hurt on everybody else … on the New Zealand motocross scene at least.
The Taupo rider’s latest comeback from injury saw him completely dominate the Yamaha-sponsored 40th annual Whakatane Summercross the day after Boxing Day.
He took his Honda CRF450 to win five MX1 races from five starts, convincingly out-performing national MX1 champion Cody Cooper (Moto City Suzuki RM-Z450), of Mount Maunganui, former world championship Grand Prix star Josh Coppins (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha YZ450F), of Motueka, and fellow Kiwi international Mason Phillips (Patterson O’Connor Kawasaki KX450F), from Papamoa, and Taupo’s Nick Saunders (Daryll August Motorcycles Kawasaki KX450F), along with the rest of the cream of New Zealand’s open class riders.
“I got really good starts and was able to maintain that. I kept up the intensity, although Cody (Cooper) was close to me in the first three races,” said Townley.
“Although I won all five races today, I really have a lot of respect for Cody and for Josh (Coppins) too. Josh is almost 10 years older than me and for him to ride at this pace after being off the bike with injury these past couple of months, is pretty remarkable too.
“I have to say the nationals (which kick off in South Canterbury on February 12) will be very interesting indeed.”
Honda also claimed top honours in the MX2 (250cc) class with Taupo’s Cam Dillon (Huka Honda CRF250) finishing 1-1-2-2-2 in his five outings.
Runner-up in the class was Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter (Moto City Suzuki RM-Z250), with Hamilton’s Darryll King (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha YZ250), Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont (BikesportNZ.com Suzuki RM-Z250) and Wellington’s Jayden Jessup (TSS Motorcycles KTM 250SXF) rounding out the top five.
“I knew that, to come here and win today, I had to be consistent,” said the 19-year-old Dillon.
“It’s a confidence-booster for me ahead of the nationals but I know the other riders will go away now and get stronger before the nationals start. It’s just going to get harder for me from here on,” he shrugged.
“It’s going to be a good national championships.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com