UPDATE: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th December. Closed. Unfortunately torrential rain has now made the tracks too wet.

Townley Added to Honda Strike-Force

NZ MX Nationals 2015

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley (Honda CRF450), ready to line up alongside the men from The Honda Shop Racing Team in Rotorua. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

FEBRUARY 24, 2015: The next round of racing in the New Zealand Motocross Championships has just been spiced up considerably.

Former Kiwi international Ben Townley retired from fulltime racing in 2013, but he has revealed that he will make a rare appearance and race the MX1 class at the third round of four of the JT Racing-sponsored nationals in Rotorua in just over a weeks' time.

The 30-year-old former world and United States champion will ride a Honda CRF450 and line up alongside the cream of the country's MX1 class riders at the Rotorua circuit, about 20 minutes' drive outside Rotorua on March 8.

Two riders from The Honda Shop Racing Team currently lead the series after two rounds and there is a distinct possibility that Townley's inclusion at Rotorua could make it a Honda 1-2-3 on the day.

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper, the defending champion in the MX1 class, and Rotorua's John Phillips are first and second in the championship chase, the two Honda stars separated by just three points at the top of the standings.

Both Cooper and Phillips have been mentored by 2012 New Zealand MX1 champion Townley and it will be fascinating to see all three riders go head-to-head on the race track.

"I have not raced a major motocross event in New Zealand since giving up in February 2013," said Townley, an horrific crash in Timaru that day putting paid to his national MX1 title defence.

"But I've been doing a bit of fitness work with Japanese rider Makoto Ogata (currently ninth in the New Zealand series standings) and riding is in the blood for me anyway. You never can really give up can you?

"It will be a slightly different approach for me now. Winning would be good, but it's really just about me enjoying myself. If I can get a couple of holeshots, maybe I can hold the boys up for a bit," he laughed.

"I ride at the Rotorua track quite regularly with Makoto at the moment, but I have never actually raced there before, if you can believe that."

The Tauranga-based father-of-three will have his work cut out, however, with Cooper and Phillips finishing 1-2 in every race at round two near Timaru last weekend.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

 
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