Monday 17th December: Tracks Closed.

Townley Makes It 3/3

Tarawera 100

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley (Honda CRF450, centre of photo), now with three wins from three starts at the Honda Tarawera 100 cross-country marathon. Sharing the podium are Brad Groombridge (runner-up, left) and Hadleigh Knight (third, right). Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

 

JULY 5, 2015: Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley has now made it three wins from three starts at the fabled Honda Tarawera 100 cross-country motorcycle marathon on Saturday.

 

The 30-year-old former world and national motocross champion from Tauranga took his Honda CRF450 into the lead soon after the start of the 140-kilometre (100-mile) race from which the event gets its name.

 

But it wasn't a case of Townley disappearing into the horizon, but rather a virtual repeat of the race of last season where Taupo's Brad Groombridge hunted him down and applied pressure right until the end.

 

There was virtually nothing to separate the pair at the start of the fourth and final lap of the afternoon and it was Groombridge in front, thanks to a slick final re-fuel in the pits giving him an advantage of several bike lengths as they exited.

 

But, despite the race typically pushing competitors to eye-watering speeds, even over treacherous ground getting rougher by the minute, it was actually a pass made at walking speed that handed the initiative back to Townley.

 

"I stayed behind Brad through the first part of that last lap and then we came up on hillside that was snagged with lots of riders unable to get up.

 

"Brad went right and I went left, both of us trying to find a way though, and we were actually only going at walking speed when I edged past him to take the lead," said Townley.

 

"This win was tough. Brad really gave it to me hard and kind of flustered me when he caught up to me on lap three.

 

"I'm glad I got the win in the end and would certainly love to come back and make it four in a row next year," said Townley, the winner on debut in 2013, successful defending champion in 2014 and now a three-time consecutive winner of the great race.

 

Third overall was Reporoa 18-year-old Hadleigh Knight, with Pahiatua's national cross-country champion Paul Whibley, Rotorua's Scott Birch and Waitakere's Ethan Martens rounding out the top half dozen finishers.

 

Townley was naturally also credited with the over-300cc four-stroke class win.

 

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

 
Bookmark and Share