Sunday, March 6


Tauranga's Ben Townley has qualified fastest for the Thai round of the World Motocross Championship.

'BT' won the qualifying race in sweltering 36 degree Celcius temperatures - and high humidtity - with a time of 24 minutes 39.205 seconds. That was 3.5 seconds faster than Frenchman Romain Febvre who finished second on his Monster Energy Yamaha YZF450F and almost five and a half seconds ahead of multi-world champ Antonio Cairoli on the first of the factory KTMs.

Slovenian Tim Gajser, who won both motos at the opening round of the MXGP championship in Qatar last Sunday, qualified fifth fastest on his Team Garibaldi Honda CRF450, with a race time 20 seconds slower than Townley's winning effort.

Scoring his pick of position on the starting grid for today's two MXGP races is a nice boost for Townley, making his comeback to world championship racing after an absence of ten years.

He will be aiming to add a decent haul of championship points after scoring two 11th place finishes in Qatar.

Townley knows this is a long championship and consistently scoring points in the early rounds will set him up for a serious shot at the title mid-season.

He is racing an RM-Z450 for Team Suzuki World MXGP, the same brand he started with in world championship racing as a teenager back in 2001 when he raced for the German PHASE Suzuki team on an RM125.

His pole position winning effort in Thailand is only the second time he has qualified fastest in the premier class.  The last was at England's Matchams Park in 2005.

For a post qualifying interview with MX Large's Geoffrey Meyer, click here