Motocross

Townley back where it all started

Author: Andy McGechan

Posted:

Taupo's world championship-winning motocross racer, Ben Townley, is back where he started, in the green camp, and he's bursting to give the world more of the same surprises on Kawasaki in the United States that he dished up riding KTM in Europe. The 20-year-old Grand Prix star has signed a two-year contract with Kawasaki for a tilt at the United States motocross and supercross championships and, in doing so, he has had to rebuff several big money offers to stay in Europe. Townley began his motocross career racing Kawasaki motorcycles near his family's Taupo home and the latest move merely completes the circle, bringing him back into the Kawasaki fold, albeit still keeping him a long way from home turf. The head of Kawasaki in New Zealand, Pukekohe's Mike Wilkins, said it was fantastic to have Townley back on the green brand. "With his assault this year on the United States Motocross Championships and the US Supercross Championships, he has chosen the best possible team, in my opinion," said Wilkins. "Kawasaki's Team Green has a winning formula in the USA. In fact, they have had it for the past three decades. Ben's motocross career started with Kawasaki, which he rode for more than 10 years in New Zealand before departing for Europe, so it really feels like our boy has come home to us. "For certain, I will be travelling to the USA to see him race the Kawasaki next season," he said.Townley's manager, Glen Dempsey, said the young New Zealander was joining one of the most successful teams in the US, Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Mitch Payton, who owns Pro Circuit, a company that manufactures custom engine and suspension parts for motorcycles, runs the team. "Pro Circuit are a very successful team and have won everything there was to win this year on the US East and West Coast supercross circuits and American Motorcycle Association outdoor nationals," Dempsey said. "Ben has a good set up with them, they are very professional and it is the right environment for Ben to learn in." Dempsey would not reveal what Townley's contract was worth. "He was offered a lot more money to stay in Europe, but it is his dream to go to America and win titles. "All the major manufacturers, including his KTM team, put bids on the table to keep him in Europe, but he chose Kawasaki to fulfil his dream." Townley had met all his goals -- winning the MX2 world title last year and securing a top three finish in the premier MX1 class this year ‰ÛÒ and had always looked at his European sojourn as preparation for crossing the Atlantic. Townley will switch to a 250cc four-stroke Kawasaki in the US after riding for KTM for four years.His team-mates at Pro Circuit will be new signing Ryan Villopoto, of the US, and Grant Langston (22), a South African who won the world 125cc title in 2000, the US title in 2003 and the 125cc US regional supercross title this year, Pro Circuit's 11th 125cc supercross championship since 1991. Dempsey said Townley would be living close to Ricky Carmichael, a multiple US supercross and motocross champion, and would be sharing the same training programme with him. Townley and Dempsey headed for the US after the Motocross of Nations world teams championship in France, last month. "Ben has just attend the US Open Supercross in Las Vegas last Friday where he was be introduced to the media and the industry," Dempsey said. Townley's American season begins in January with the seven-round East Coast supercross series, culminating with a Las Vegas shootout against the leading riders from the West Coast in April, followed by the AMA outdoor nationals over 12 rounds. Main Photo Credit: Andy McGechan

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