No immediate full time comeback plans for Townley

Australian MX Champs 2014

maddix park mx   By Alex Gobert

However he's not ruling out additional MX Nationals appearances.

A full time return to competition isn’t on the current agenda of New Zealand’s Ben Townley despite a glowing guest performance at Wanneroo’s fifth round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals on Sunday.

The 2004 MX2 World Champion finished an impressive third in the first of three 20-minute motos on Sunday, eventually credited seventh overall via 9-15 results in the final motos. A crash halted his progress in moto three.

It was a spectacular return for 29-year-old Townley, who retired at the start of 2013, after he was a shock inclusion at Wanneroo to replace injured countryman Cody Cooper at Penrite Honda Racing. He’s considering further national appearances later in the season, but stopped short of committing to an official comeback at this point.

“You can never, say never,” Townley told “I’ve enjoyed not being a full-blown athlete and I’m enjoying my roles with Honda in New Zealand and Australia. If I was to do any other rounds it’d probably be a sand-based round like Coolum or somewhere like that later on in the year.

“As of right now it’s probably too early to say if I plan on doing anything in the near future, which is basically because I’m so busy over the new few weeks – once you stop racing other things become the priority [laughs]. We’ll just see where it all leads.

“One thing that interests me in doing more is that I did really enjoy it and it’s not like I got whooped either. The fact that I can mix it up and stir the pot a little bit excited me, for sure. Hopefully it’s good for the sport, being the spectators and the industry.”

Already confirmed prior to Cooper’s knee injury as a starter at the prestigious Manjimup 15,000 in WA this weekend, the opportunity to compete in the sands of WA under a low-pressure environment was key in Townley’s national appearance.

“It was good fun and I really enjoyed it – I’m a big fan of sand races which is a major reason why I did it,” he explained. “With Cody injured and me coming over for the Manjimup 15,000 anyway, we just decided I’d do that one. I have been helping him a lot, not riding much at all apart from club days at times.

“The track was different to what I experienced in Europe, really flowing and quite fast. Keeping the momentum up helped a lot, so it was good. Overall it was a good event and a really good atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the environment I was in and working with Penrite Honda. Apart from feeling like I’ve been hit by a train today, it was enjoyable [laughs].”

Penrite Honda Racing team owner Yarrive Konsky said a more regular return of Townley would be welcomed, as the team awaits to determine the full extent of Cooper’s injuries – understood to be serious enough to sideline him for the final five rounds.

“Ben’s always got a position on our team so long as he wants to compete,” Konsky said. “He brings great value to our team sponsors and he’s a consummate professional that continues to help the team evolve. Depending on the outcome of Cody, we will determine what we will do for the remainder of the season if his seat becomes vacant.”

Image: Jeff Crow

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