News 26 Sep 2014

Door open at Penrite Honda for Townley comeback

Ex-world champion weighing up 2015 MX Nationals assault.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Penrite Honda Racing is working to secure the services of Ben Townley fulltime for 2015 following a number of stunning part-time guest appearances in the Monster Energy MX Nationals this season.

Townley, still just 29 years of age, contested three rounds of the 2014 series at Wanneroo, Conondale and Coolum with a promising haul of results, which sparked speculation that he will mount a fulltime assault next year.

The New Zealand icon starred at Coolum’s final round with the second moto win, marginally missing the podium overall despite limited race preparation throughout the season. He also finished runner-up with a race win at the prestigious Manjimup 15,000.

That form has Honda hoping Townley will opt to contest the full Australian Motocross Championship season in 2015, which commences on 29 March in Victoria.

“Ben will always have a seat at Honda in Australia, so long as he wants to compete and feels he can at the elite level,” Penrite Honda team owner Yarrive Konsky said. “We welcome his input and direction, particularly with the motorcycle through testing at set-up.

“We would like to have our 2015 riders locked in by no later than late October, early November. The plan is to have two 450s outdoors and possibly a 250 again in supercross.”

With the primary position reserved for Townley if he is to stage a comeback, fellow New Zealander Cody Cooper’s return to Australia is uncertain, as the team moves to secure at least one Australian rider in the line-up. Who that is, is yet to be confirmed.

Rumours continue to escalate that Townley is close to a decision and that he will in fact commit to a complete 10-round schedule, but such a decision is still a way off according to the 2004 MX2 World Champion and 2007 American Eastern Regional 250SX Champion.

“It depends on the scenario, because I have to make sure everything is measured out rightly,” Townley told MotoOnline this week. “If I was to come back and commit, I’d need to find a happy medium. I’m doing it for enjoyment now; I will be 30 later this year and it’s a far different outlook.

“I have spoken about it, but that’s as far as it’s gone really. We’re still six months away from round one, so there’s still plenty of time to decide in my opinion.”

Now based in NZ, a return to Australia for Townley would purely be to fulfill his desire to compete regularly again locally, rather than looking to rebuild what already was a hugely successful international career in Europe and the US.

“I raced selected events this year and it’s no secret that I enjoyed it, everybody could see that,” he added. “That comes from the fact that I’ve got my health again. It’s a whole different approach to racing for me now – I don’t have the desire to be an American or world champion now. Those days are gone.”