We gave Ben Townley a call today thinking he was probably in Florida, just few hours ahead of the time here at the Transworld offices. I wanted know the latest on his recent injury and what was in store for him this upcoming season. Turns out, he is in New Zealand and not just a few hours ahead. But Ben, being the cool guy he is, took my call anyway and chatted with me even though it was the crack of dawn down under. Here’s what he had to say…
So you are in New Zealand right now?
Yeah…it’s 7:30 in the morning right now…
Oh damn, sorry about the early call.
For those who don’t know, what happened at Motocross of Nations?
I went down in practice, but it wasn’t too serious. I was examined by the Asterisk crew and I had my personal doctor out there as well, but it turned out to not be really serious. So I have just been taking some time off back in New Zealand…It’s a perfect place to get healed up.
Have you been on the new Honda at all?
No, actually. I am just concentrating on rest right now. It is such a long season, and it was my first full season, and doing Supercross and Motocross was another first for me as well, so I am just taking a break from riding. Riding all summer long is not an easy feat, so I am just taking a breather.
You are running Lites in Supercross and MX for outdoor next season, right?
Have you decided on East or West series?
We haven’t talked to far into it yet. I am just going to get back on the bike and on to a supercross track, and then see how we progress from there. I would like to do the West, but we will see how it all plays out.
Will you be based in Florida again this upcoming year?
Yeah, no changes there. I have a good setup down there and I really enjoy it. I am going to be riding with Millsaps and I think Tedesco is going to come down and do some riding as well. It’s a good setup.
Do you know Ivan well?
I know Ivan pretty well, actually. I am still getting to know a lot of people in the U.S. but I have spent a bit of time with him when he was with Suzuki. He is pretty laid back and overall just a cool guy, I like being around him. You’ve got to have the right people around you and I think he will be a good guy to ride with.
Have you been able to get a feel for the Honda team? Have you really felt the change from Pro Circuit to Honda, or is it too early yet?
I am still in that transition period. I am kind of nowhere right now. I have finished up with Pro Circuit, but I haven’t really started with Honda yet. I have dealt with some of the guys over there, management mostly. But I am excited to start working with the guys I will deal with on the weekends racing. There is a great group of riders, and I hope we get a good team atmosphere going and win some races.
As for other sponsorships, are there any companies you are working with that you can tell us about at this time?
I really don’t know too much right now. I am a little disconnected from the rest of the world down here in New Zealand. I will be staying with Thor and Alpinestars, but we will work those out as we get closer to racing.
So what’s on the agenda while you are in New Zealand?
I am going to do some fishing. I am also going to watch some New Zealand MX racing and get back in touch with some of the motocross guys here, catch up with some friends. I have a pretty good following of fans here, so I want to spend time with the people who support me.
We’ve noticed your countrymen that have come to support you at the U.S. nationals, Glen Helen in particular. There were tons of New Zealand flags waving on the infield of the track. It must feel good to see that kind of support.
It’s a good bunch of guys. I know most of them. The motocross scene in New Zealand is pretty small, so I know them all pretty well. It was cool to see them come out. None of them are American residents; they came over to watch the race. Throughout the year, I have had people come to the races to support me, because America is more accessible to New Zealand than Europe. At Glen Helen I knew about twenty people that were coming over, but it ended up being about double, so that’s was cool.
Well, thanks for chatting with us, Ben. Sorry about the early call.
No worries at all. I was already up, so I can’t complain.