TLD/Lucas Oil Honda Race Report: Southwick
The shifting sands of Southwick were good to the Troy Lee Designs squad. The team''s premier 450-class rider, Ben Townley, matched his season best moto finish with a second. Wil Hahn posted a career best moto finish with a third and overall finish with a fourth. Cole Seely matched his career best moto finish with a ninth and Tarah Gieger continued her podium streak with a third place overall.
Townley''s day started well as he posted the quickest time in qualifying. He hadn''t done that all year and it seemed evident immediately that he would do well in the sand. BT rounded the first turn in second position in the opening moto and was searching for a place to pass Brett Metcalfe for the lead. He tried forcing a move on the second lap, clipped Metty''s rear tire and went down. He would connect with Andrew Short on the next lap and fly off the track again. Ben wasn''t done yet though. After charging all the way back up to eighth position, Townley rolled to a stop on the side of the track. A puncture hole in the engine cases drained the oil and seized the engine. Okay, now he was finished.
The second moto went much better, however, as Ben led for much of the moto. It wasn''t until the halfway point in the race that Ryan Dungey found a way by for the win. Ben would finish second in the moto and seventh overall.
"I felt great out there today," said Townley. "I knew it would be a good day when I qualified well. It''s too bad I made those mistakes in the first moto because I felt like I should have been up on the podium. All I can do is learn from the mistakes and move forward now. I have two races left and I want to be on the box in both of them."
The team''s 250 riders both started up front in the first moto. Wil Hahn pulled another holeshot and Seely followed him in sixth position. Hahn led for about half the race and then eventually fell back to third, his best moto finish ever. Seely rode well and finished the moto in ninth.
The second moto started with a Hahn holeshot again! This time Wil could only hold on to fifth by the checkers giving him fourth overall. Seely fell over a couple times and could only muster a seventeenth in the moto for thirteenth overall.
Tarah Gieger was right at home in the sand and was making a run at the win in the first moto. And then she ejected, at speed, and cart wheeled through the sand. She still got up and finished third. She backed that up with another solid third in moto two for another podium finish. She is now, you guessed it, third in the point standings.
The TLD team heads to the great state of Pennsylvania now for the Steel City national. Be sure to come by the team truck if you are going to be there. The entire team will be present signing posters and giving out free hugs to everyone.
Follow the Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Honda team at www.troyleedesigns.com