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Chatter Box: Ben Townley

Fans around the world were eager to see Ben Townley succeed in his return to racing but, alas, things have not gone quite as well as expected. That is not to say there have not been bright spots, as his speed in Thailand reminded everyone just how capable he is. Some significant internal injuries have put an end to his season though and, ultimately, his career. 

MX Vice: We have you here at Blaxhall, which is a bit of a surprise. How long have you been out of hospital and where are you at with injury now?  

Ben Townley: I was hoping to stay under cover from having one of these in my face today [laughs], but I have been out of hospital for probably a couple of weeks now. I have lost track of time. I spent quite a while in hospital, probably twelve days. I got out of hospital and I have just been in the UK recovering to be honest.

Are you in the UK out of choice or is it a case of you are not allowed to get on a long-haul flight just yet?

No, it is out of choice. I obviously have a lot of good friends and support over here, between a couple of families that I know. I have been staying with the Church family in Marshfield and then I popped up here to stay with Jake [Nicholls] for a few days as well, so it is absolutely by choice. It took a lot out of me, because it was a hell of an injury, so I am just trying to recover really and keep it pretty steady.


Townley's Thai performance was undoubtedly his best of the season.


Are you under any strict orders at the moment or is it just a case of making sure that you do not put too much strain on your body? 

I have, unfortunately, got to take it easy on the eating, which is hard. I could not eat for ten days and was already on my weight limit at the time, so I just faded away to nothing. There is nothing left of me. That is, specifically, the only thing I have got to be careful of, making sure that I don’t over eat. It is quite hard on the injury that I have in my bowel. I just want to make sure that I do not put too much stress on it.

You have obviously had some pretty big injuries in your time, so where does this one rank? Can you relate it to anything you have done in the past? 

It is a hard one. It is not something that they cannot really see or feel, to a certain extent. It is not like an arm or something, where you can just see the plaster. It is quite an intense injury. The fact that you hit the stomach and there is a lot going on in there that does not really start working for a number of days, so you just have got to be quite careful.

Obviously your season is over now and, coming in, I guess your goal was just to make it through the season, so it is a bummer that you are in this position. In Thailand you proved that you have the speed to run at the front and achieve whatever you would have hoped for, but ultimately you maybe struggled to sustain that pace back in Europe?

Yeah, it has just been a well-below average season for me. I guess frustrating would be the right word for me to use, to be honest. I am extremely frustrated due to the fact that I came off of last year where I did a whole lot of work, training and preparation to come to the Motocross of Nations and it all went really well. I went home and did the same thing again, after the Motocross of Nations, and came back with such a great structure around me, but I have not been able to do what I thought I would be able to do with that structure and those people. It has been extremely frustrating from my point of view.


Townley flies high at the penultimate MXGP round of his career.


It is easy to say it but, story of your life, it does just seem to be down to bad luck. The speed was there at points, but it is just the little crashes that are sometimes out of your control after another guy falls or whatever.

I don’t know if my speed was completely there or where I thought it could have been, honestly. My expectations were really high and I only managed to do that on two days of the entire season. My speed was not quite what I wanted and I was not able to put that whole package together each week. Again it was just extremely frustrating.

It was frustrating, but are you happy that you took a chance and gave it one last shot?

Oh, absolutely. I put myself through a huge programme to get back in that position. I literally peeled back all the layers and started again. I got to the Motocross of Nations, proved my worth and then got that opportunity. If I was sitting behind the fire in New Zealand right now and had not taken that opportunity, I probably would have been a little bit gutted. That is why I can sit here now and say that I had a crack at it. I had one of the best opportunities with the race team, bikes and structure. There is no point in lying about it; I could not cut the mustard.

Does this fuel a fire within you to give it another go or are you now in a place where you are content and can walk away?

I think the big thing for me was to have this opportunity, to be honest. It was a huge sacrifice for my family and my wife especially, but she supported me to do that. The goal was, between both of us, to come over here and achieve some goals, but we have not been able to do that. The writing is on the wall really; I need to just draw a line under it and move on with my life now. Ultimately I had that opportunity to do it and that is why we can now draw that line under it.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Image: ConwayMX

MX Vice Editor || 25

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