Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Townley Always a Proud Kiwi Battler

Townley Always a Proud Kiwi Battler

Bay of Plenty rider Ben Townley should feel right at home when he lines up to represent New Zealand at the annual Motocross of Nations in France at the end of this month.

The 30-year-old came out of retirement recently to become one of the three riders who will fly the silver fern flag at this "Olympic Games of motocross" at Ernee, in the north-west of France, on the weekend of September 26-27.

And despite listing his status now as semi retired, the former world, United States and New Zealand champion adds a great deal of experience and plenty of punch to the Kiwi campaign.

He has been New Zealand's most successful individual at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) as the only Kiwi to celebrate a race win (two of them in fact) and, perhaps significantly, it was exactly 10 years ago, in 2005, that the MXoN was last held at the undulating Ernee circuit and Townley performed there with much credit as well.

Riding a KTM in the open class, Townley won one of the three finals races at Ernee in 2005, claiming victory in the combined open class/MX2 (250cc) class race, and then backing that up by finishing runner-up, behind American legend Ricky Carmichael, in the open class/MXGP leg. Team New Zealand finished fourth overall on that occasion.

The following year, when the MXoN was staged near Winchester, in southern England, Townley was on the smaller 250cc Kawasaki and had his work cut out against the 450cc open class and MXGP bikes, but it was better overall result for the team.

The team's MX2 (250cc) class rider in England, Townley managed 3-5 finishes in his two outings and, as a team, the Kiwi trio claimed a podium finish, third overall of the 20 qualifying nations.

Townley scored a race win again when the MXoN was staged in Denver, Colorado, in 2010, this time riding a 450cc Honda to win the open class/MX2 clash.

But it all went sour in Townley's next race when, while running in second place, he severely twisted his ankle and was forced to withdraw.

Unfortunately, as a team, the Kiwis ended up only eighth overall that year.

But, if Townley can be even half as good this time around as he was in France in 2005 or in the United States in 2010, then New Zealand's hopes will definitely be bright in less than two weeks' time.

His team-mates for the 2015 campaign in France are also vastly experienced MXoN riders, Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper and Mangakino's Kayne Lamont.

Unfortunately, neither Townley, nor Cooper or Lamont were available for the MXoN when it was staged in Latvia last year, where Team New Zealand failed to qualify among the top 20 countries and therefore slipped well down the world rankings.

But with generous support for this year's campaign coming from Kiwi companies WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics, and with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event adding to the coffers, the Kiwi contingent leaves for France in a confident mood.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland