250 Words: Hangtown

May 21, 2007 8:55am | by:
Ever since Tony Cairoli won a moto at the 2006 Motocross des Nations, there’s been a subtle debate about who the fastest 250F rider on the planet right now is: the Italian GP hero or America’s Lites MX Champion Ryan Villopoto. After the 39th Annual Hangtown Classic yesterday, it’s time to add Ben Townley’s name to the conversation. Townley put in a masterful ride in his first visit to the Sacramento area track, taking the first round of the 2007 AMA Toyota Motocross Championships with a 2-1 showing.

  • Townley's 2-1 gave him his first-ever AMA National win.
That’s not to say that Villopoto is out of this debate because he lost the second moto—he was fantastic in a first moto win as he debuted the AMA’s #1 motocross plate. But in the second-moto duel, Townley proved that he is a fast-learner, taking to the fast and rough Hangtown track with as much ease as fellow Grand Prix star Grant Langston did when he first arrived here in 2001. It was the New Zealander’s first-ever win, and it served notice that he has plans on giving RV a challenge this summer.

Further back, Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey was impressive, Lucas Oil Yamaha’s Broc Tickle was a revelation, and SoBe No Fear/Samsung Honda’s Josh Grant showed some signs that he might be finally turning his season around.

But coming from way, way back in both motos was Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence. The class clown proved that he’s got some heart, fighting out of the hole he was placed in by the AMA off each start after Saturday’s theatrics. If J-Law had started with the top guys, here’s betting he would have finished with them as well.