In a huge coup for Australian motorsport, Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing today confirmed International motocross star Ben Townley to the team's 2012 line-up.
Townley will join British MX1 Motocross Champion Brad Anderson at the factory Honda team, with the duo to contest the Open class on board Honda CRF450 machines.
The 27-year-old New Zealander, who won the 2004 MX 2 World Championship & Dutch MX Championship, boasts 12 New Zealand national titles, 13 World Motocross Championship Grand Prix wins and was the 2007 AMA Supercross Lites East Coast Champion.
While Townley suffered injury setbacks in 2008 and 2009, he proved to be an impressive force in 2010, finishing fourth overall in the 450 class of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship and winning the opening race of the MX of Nations.
"It has taken some time to reach this point," Townley admitted. "I was intent on racing in the USA again but things didn't work out there, and during that time I'd had on going talks with Yarrive about racing for Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing if things didn't work out in America.
"I'm excited about 2012, it will be a new chapter for me and this team has already started to make some big changes that will put us in a position to be Australian champions. Honda make great motorcycles and with the equipment and structure they have here for me on both sides of the Tasman is great.
"Personally, I've watched the Aussie scene from afar for a while now and it seems like the whole sport and scene has elevated to a very high level from the events to the teams and also the exposure of it which I'm looking forward to being apart of, plus the bonus of living at home full time is pretty cool!
Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing Team Principal Yarrive Konsky acknowledged Townley's signing would give his team the best possible chance at championship success.
"I am a fan of racing, and have followed Bens career with great enthusiasm and appreciation for his achievements," Konsky said.
"His attitude towards his racing, training and fans fits the teams dynamics perfectly. Having Ben on the team will only help. His wealth of knowledge and experience is priceless.
"Ben truly is the consummate professional and we look forward to mutually chasing after our common goals and objectives next year," Konsky continued.
Tony Hinton, General Manager, Honda Motorcycles is thrilled that Ben Townley will be on board a Honda in 2012.
"To have secured such an international talent is exciting for the Carlton Dry Thor Honda team and in fact for the whole motocross community in Australia," Hinton said.
"Ben Townley's experience and talent will put the team in a great position to challenge for the title and will also boost the profile of the sport, we are very excited about this."?
Townley will make his first official appearance for the Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing Team at North Ipswich Stadium today for the final round of Super X where he will meet with sponsors and observe the team.
Ben Townley Career Highlights
1st Place Race One, MXdN Lakewood CO, USA
2nd Place, Lakewood National, CO
3rd Place, Red Bud National, MI
4th Place, AMA Pro Motocross Championship
Off due to injury
AMA SX Lites East Coast Champion
AMA MX Lites Vice Champion
3rd Overall, Glen Helen AMA Motocross Lites
2nd Overall, MX2 Motocross of Nations
3rd Overall MX1 World Championship
Winner of 4 GP's: Bellpuig (Spain), Castiglione Del Lago (Italy), St Jean d'Angely (France), Isle of Wight (Great Britain)
MX2 World Champion and Dutch MX Champion
Winner of 9 GP's (from possible 16): Zolder (Belgium), Agueda (Portugal), Valkenswaard (Netherlands), Lichtenvoorde (Netherlands), Isle of Wight (Great Britain), Uddevalla (Sweden), Loket (Czech Rep), Ballykelly (Ireland), Sun City (South Africa)Winner of 21 out of 32 motos
Winner of 6 GP doubles
11th Overall 125cc World Championship
Two podiums: Loket (Czech Republic), Gaildorf (Germany)
6th Overall 125cc World Championship
2nd at round one GP in Valkenswaard (first podium finish
Winner GP of Sweden, Uddevalla- Gained 3 more podiums: Moscow (Russia), Castiglione del Lago (Italy), Sevlievo (Bulgaria)
Debut season in World Championship