Townley prepared and one off MX e-magazine
News Monday 23th December 2012 By motoonline
Townley has expressed his satisfaction with Honda’s all-new 2013 model CRF450R following his initial test session of the bike in Australia earlier this month.
The New Zealander, who will enter his second season with the Melbourne-based Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team next season, believes it will be a clear improvement over his race bike from this year when Australian Motocross fires up in April.
Townley was pivotal this year in transforming the factory Honda effort into a title threat upon his signing, now looking to build upon that momentum with an injury-free campaign for next year.
“I’ve spent about four days on it really, with two big days at Broadford for the initial shakedown and then I’ve done another couple of days on it at home with my setting,” Townley told MotoOnline. “We started out with a stock unit, using my handlebars and tyres, then built the bike up from there.
“We went through all the controls to get me comfortable and because it’s a new chassis, we actually ended up going to a lower ‘bar bend just because the seat area is a little bit lower, but to begin with we went to a raised seat. My initial reaction was to try and make it feel similar to the 2012, but they got me away from that mindset after I didn’t really feel that comfortable with that set-up.
“I ended up sticking with the standard seat height, lowered my handlebars and I feel really, really comfortable. Cornering-wise, especially at Broadford on the hard-pack track, I felt really solid in the turns – especially in the sweepers. It was really consistent and predictable.
“With that bike, when you’re moving around, the thing that stands out the most is that it’s very nimble. Whether you’re standing on the footpegs or sitting, I was able to move the bike quite easily underneath me – it felt more 250-ish than any other 450 I’ve ridden and is just so agile.
“A lot of people would want to know about the air-fork and we definitely made some big changes in terms of valving. We ended up sticking at 34 psi for me and it is a neutral balanced feeling from the bike. After that we did out valving and testing from there.
“I wouldn’t say right now I notice any huge better differences, but I wouldn’t say there are any negative differences either. What I will say is that it’s got a small difference in feedback compared to the spring. I haven’t had enough time or been on rough enough tracks to give a real lot of feedback on that.
“Overall I really feel comfortable already in terms of how I gelled with the chassis and how the seat area feels. I definitely feel like we have a good base already, so with the racing I do in the summer at home I feel we’ll come to the line at Raymond Terrace with a better bike than our 2012 was. That’s all you can ask for, really.”
Townley was dominant last year at Conondale’s Australian season opener with a clean sweep, but was injured during practice at round two – a serious hip injury forcing him out of the season. Now back on the bike and with a conservative Australian Supercross series under his belt, Townley is aiming to reproduce the type of form that he rose to at this time last year.
“I’ve got a mixed opinion at the moment, not that I won’t be fast, because by all means I will be at a good level,” he explained. “I really want to have a solid build-up in New Zealand and that was the whole intention of supercross this year as well, just to get some gate time.
“I have no doubt in my mind about the speed I can produce, it’s just a matter of making sure my total package is back together. That’s having the bike right, having my fitness and strength, plus racecraft. Going into last season I had only lost two motos from around 28 races in the NZ summer, so that was a lot of racing that went on beforehand.
“If I can stick to the same plan as last year then I have no doubt that I will be ready to go come Raymond Terrace in April. If I’m not quite at that level, I’m confident it will come within a few rounds of the Australian series.”
Townley will be joined by reigning MX2 champion Ford Dale aboard the 2013 Honda CRF450R in the Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team for 2013.