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5 Minutes with... Ben Townley

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Team New Zealand’s Ben Townley went out and won the second moto overall at this year’s Motocross of Nations. It was his second moto win of his comeback season, with both of them coming in FIM-sanctioned races. The other one he won was at the Glen Helen USGP. Townley is heading home for the off-season and probably won’t be back Stateside until spring, but we caught up with him after the race to get his take.

  • Ben Townley put in a strong performance for New Zealand until a fall in the final moto.
Racer X: I know this is sort of starting on a downer, but you won that moto, but you killed Shorty. What happened there? What was the story with that?
Ben Townley: I was going for it. I wanted to win.

Did you think you would hit or did you think he would let off?
I thought he would let off, yeah. Maybe he didn’t know I was there. I don’t know, it’s racing. It’s motocross. It happens and I don’t know what else to say.

Somebody asked me right afterward why you would do that, and I said, "Dude, I would take out my mom to win a moto at the MXoN."
Without a doubt. I wanted to win. For me, it’s important to get back to that level that I know I can be, and I think I proved that once I got to the front. That little German f&#$er is a fast one...

What was that like battling with a guy who is on a 250F like that? He’s probably taking slightly different lines...
Well, I think he obviously knew the track pretty well from his first moto. I was just saying to some of these guys here that I followed a few of his lines and got into my groove. I went for it after that and felt really good. I had a good moto going and twisted my ankle halfway through the moto, but the adrenaline was going and there was no way I was going to lose that one.

You and your Team New Zealand MX2 guy, Brad Groombridge, both twisted your ankles partway through your motos. What’s the story?
It was just a deep rut. It’s really difficult here with the color of the dirt and the shadow that it casts the way the sun is. When I was going through a turn, my outside foot got caught on the outside of the rut and just ripped it off. It hurt a lot.

Now, this may have been your last Motocross of Nations with Josh Coppins as a teammate...
It won’t be...

It won’t?
No, he’s going to Aussie to race next year and I’m sure he’ll be back. If not next year, in the future. There aren’t many guys in New Zealand. There’s Cody Cooper, but there’s not really anyone else.


Ben Townley won a moto at the MXoN.
Photo: Steve Cox

I just interviewed him and talked to him about you because I know you guys have had such a special friendship for so long. He sort of put you under his wing when you went to Europe. What does it mean to you to know that he’s sort of part-timing it and maybe on his way to being done right now?

  • Townley may have to race the MXoN without Josh Coppins in 2011.
Well, firstly, I owe a lot to him because when I got the opportunity to start my career in Europe, he was a big part of it. He was instrumental in the first couple of years. Then I lived with him and he really took me under his wing. I feel I also helped him a lot as well with speed at some point there in Europe. Then we became enemies on the track, but we still lived together and all that. Our mentality from where we’re from is we go out and we race each other hard and what happens on the track stays on the track. He became a great friend at that stage, then obviously I moved to America. Whenever I need advice or he needs advice, we email each other or talk to each other. We’ve both got families now and I feel like an old man saying that, but our careers have moved on to different stages and although he will become a part-timer, I’m actually glad to see him call it a day. I feel that he’s definitely stretched the limits of his career, but that’s cool. He wanted to do that and he’s a fighter, man. We’ve had a couple of farewell parties for him this weekend and that’s one thing I will say about the guy, which is that the resilience in him is phenomenal. That’s one of the attributes that I probably learned the most from. There are some things that he’s gone through that a grown man would have cried or slit their throat. He’s got a strong, strong willpower and that’s the thing that stood out to me the most that I learned from him. For his career going forward, he’s pumped to get home. Where we’re from, home is where the heart is, and he’s bloody excited to get home and start this next chapter. It’s going to be really cool for him because he’s got a setup; he’s got his farm with a supercross track that’s fully irrigated and a motocross track that’s fully irrigated. You can literally look at the ocean a few kilometers away. He’s got a wicked setup. He’s got the cutest baby girl in the world and another one on the way. I can see he’s excited to get home for sure, so that’s going to be cool for him. I mean, there’s not much else to say, but I hope he really enjoys it.

Thanks for your time, BT.
No problem. 

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