Ben 2nd in Holland:

Posted: Mon 08 Mar 2004

This report is from Ben Townley`s PR man, Glen Dempsey.

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Townley settles for second in Dutch championship opener.

The sandy and demanding circuit of Gemert played host to the opening round of the Open Dutch Championship today. Thousands of warmly dressed Dutch fans turned out to see the much publicised duel between nineteen year old New Zealander, Ben Townley and his KTM Champ team mate and Dutch sand specialist, Marc De Reuver.

As the gate dropped for the first heat neither Townley nor De Reuver were seen out in front as the raging pack jostled for valuable positions. BT was finally spotted in the top five, as the main bunch entered the Gemert arena with cheering spectators. BT made his move on Belgian youngster, Dennis Verbruggen, placing him in second behind yet another Belgian, Marvin Van Dale. After disposing of both Belgians, BT looked set on taking control of the race. Unfortunately for Townley, De Reuver had been in his shadow and was also recovering from a mediocre start. The two KTM factory riders matched each other lap for lap until the closing stages of the race when the Dutchman capitalised on his sand riding skills and passed BT for the win. One consolation for the Kiwi was that he did post the fastest race lap time.

Heat two would be a De Reuver run away train as Townley could only give chase after once again working his way through the pack into second position. With his team mate out of sight, BT tried to put in some competitive lap times to try and close the gap on the leader but this seemed to be to no avail. BT lost his second position to Van Daele on the last lap due to a loss in power of his machine which would be investigated after the race.

A change of bike and Townley was ready for the Super Final which combined the top 15 points scorers of the 125cc Class with 15 riders of the more powerful Open class. De Reuver loved the home town advantage and checked out from the start of the race. Townley on the other hand was riding impressively and once again showed his amazing passing skills in the opening laps to power his way through the field to second position. He seemed to be settled when a mistake and crash threw away chances of making an impact on De Reuver. Unfortunately BT could not restart his bike in time to rejoin the race and the disappointed youngster returned to the pits.

“Marc was certainly on the gas today and he deserved to win. I was happy with my riding and this has been a brilliant preparation for the first GP in Zolder in two weeks.” Remarked a not too disappointed Townley.

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Results:

HEAT 1
1 Marc de Reuver NL KTM
2 Ben Townley NZ KTM
3 Manuel Priem BEL Suzuki
4 Kristof Salaerts BEL Honda
5 Dennis Verbruggen BEL YAMAHA
6 Rui Gonvalves POR YAMAHA
7 Rinus vd Ven NL KTM
8 Pascal Brons NL KTM
9 Rob van Vijfeijken NL YAMAHA
10 Hans Vogels NL YAMAHA

HEAT TWO
1 Marc de Reuver NL KTM
2 Marvin van Daele B Suzuki
3 Ben Townley N-Z KTM
4 Manuel Priem B Suzuki
5 Rui Goncalves Por YAMAHA
6 Dennis Verbruggen B YAMAHA
7 Jan van Hastenberg NL KTM
8 Patrick Roos NL KTM
9 William Saris NL YAMAHA
10 Nick Tuin NL KTM

Point Standings Dutch Open Championship 125cc:
1 Marc De Reuver NL KTM 60
2 Ben Townley NZ KTM 52
3 Manuel Priem BEL Suzuki 48
4 Rui Goncalves POR YAMAHA 41
4 Dennis Verbruggen BEL YAMAHA 41