Motocross: Townley set to take on world
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Ben Townley's temporary return to the top level of international motocross has found some winning momentum.
The Tauranga-based 2004 MX2 world champion - who retired from full-time professional racing in 2013 - says he is well prepared to contest the final round of the MX1 World Championship in California later this month and play a role in the New Zealand challenge at the Motocross of Nations teams event in France.
Townley, 30, warmed up for the two events with a late season foray into the Australian MX Nationals.
He finished on the podium at the Toowoomba penultimate round on August 23 - riding to second and fifth placings for third overall - and then stepped up with final round overall victory last weekend.
Townley rode his Honda to victory in the opening moto at the Coolum final and followed up with second place the race two.
The Queensland races confirmed Townley was on track with his pace and fitness to challenge at the United States GP at Glen Helen, California, and the MX of Nations.
"My plan was to be winning by the end of the Australian races, so I'm on target," said Townley.
"I'm going with quite a lot of confidence. Speed-wise, I'm happy. The biggest thing is getting my set-up from the bikes in New Zealand and Australia on to two different bikes for America and France.
"There's a lot to it - suspension settings, chassis set-up, engine tuning and just getting myself comfortable in the cockpit. It's so important because all the little details snowball and give you momentum. I've got three days of ride time in California before Glen Helen to get that done but only one day before the Motocross of Nations.
Townley now has a short time at home before making the trip to California.
"I've done a massive amount of training compared to what I'd been doing in the last two years and now it's time to be smart and listen to my body. So I'll do a little bit of riding and training in the next few days and a lot of organising."
The US Grand Prix is at the Glen Helen track, near San Bernadino, on September 20 and the annual Motocross of Nations is at Ernee, France, on September 27. For the international teams event, Townley teams with reigning New Zealand MX1 champion Cody Cooper (Papamoa) and Mangakino's Kayne Lamont.