Things happen very quickly indeed in top-level motorsport and
perhaps no speedier than for New Zealand's motocross man-of-the
moment, Bay of Plenty rider Ben Townley.
The 27-year-old Taupo-born racer took his Honda CRF450 to a
convincing MX1 title win at the fourth and final round of the New
Zealand Motocross Championships in Taupo on Sunday - the new
father-of-two winning 11 of 12 races in the series.
The domestic series was his build-up towards racing the
Australian Motocross Championships for the Carlton Dry Honda Thor
Team, but now, in a dramatic turn of events, he has been released
by his Australian bosses to head across the Pacific Ocean and
instead contest the national championships in the United States
He will ride for the Two Two Motorsports, replacing the injured
Australian Chad Reed on the bike. Reed is the Two Two Motorsports
team owner/rider and he is also a multiple US supercross and
"After surgery and the initial realisation that I would be
sidelined from competition for some time, I needed to consider the
team's ongoing development and if there was a rider that could step
in and be competitive in the role," said Reed.
"Ben has had success at the highest level of motocross. He knows
what it takes to win, and work in a close team environment. I
believe he can be competitive and can be a contender in the
Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing Team owner Yarrive Konsky and
general manager of Honda Motorcycles Australia, Tony Hinton, were
approached by Reed to discuss the possibility of Townley's release
from the factory team.
With Townley's career prospects in mind, both parties agreed to
support the move.
"I have just come off a rebuilding phase and everything is
heading in the right direction, "said Townley.
"I have been working on mental strength and on riding technique
during the (just-completed) New Zealand Motocross Championships. I
have been able to elevate my riding to a new level and I believe I
have really showed - pretty much winning everything I've entered
here - that I am in the best form of my career at the moment.
"It was a tough decision to leave the Carlton Dry Thor Honda
Team because I have been very committed to this team in Australia
and I wish them all the best. It was a delicate process to handle
but they've been great and given me their blessings."
The man who managed the Bel Ray Honda race team during the
nationals in New Zealand, Auckland's Peter Finlay, said it was a
"real pleasure to have Ben race here".
"We knew we wouldn't have him for long in this part of the
world. He's an international star and we were just fortunate to
have him to race here this summer," said Finlay.
Townley will still contest the opening round of the Australian
nationals before he begins pre-season testing in the US.
The 12-round US series kicks off at Hangtown, in Sacramento, on