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250 Words: Washougal

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  • Ben Townley keeps finding ways to come out on top in his battle with rival Ryan Villopoto.
If any battle has shown how many different paths there are to success in motocross, it’s this summer’s Toyota AMA Motocross Lites fight between Ryan Villopoto and Ben Townley. The two are teammates and are nearly equal in their performance this year, both with Lites Regional Supercross Titles, and both with nearly the same amount of points after eight rounds of AMA Toyota Motocross Championship racing this summer. But beyond that, they are completely different.
 
For starters there’s the background, with Villopoto graduating from the top of the U.S. amateur ranks, while Townley, a New Zealander, built his name in the GPs in Europe. Then there’s the riding style, as Villopoto sits down on the bike and hammers it harder than anyone, while Townley stands up on the pegs and keeps it smooth.
 
Finally, there is the racing strategy. Villopoto has been the aggressor all season, riding at max speed at every point of every moto, especially in the early laps of the races. That American style of sprint racing has allowed Villo to notch some dominant rides, winning motos over his teammate by a large margin. But it has also bit him, as a series of washouts have cost RV overall wins.
   
BT hasn’t shown the sprint speed to match Villopoto through the early laps of the motos, especially the first moto, but he has been virtually error free all summer long. Whenever Villopoto makes a mistake, Townley is there to capitalize.

Does that make Townley lucky or just good? Which strategy and style is ultimately going to result in a championship? Even with all their differences, this one is too close to call.
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