The following is from Ben Townley's publicist...

Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil/ Honda rider Ben Townley suffered a minor setback to his return to racing this week. While practicing at a local facility in New Zealand Ben hit a false neutral going up a hill. The sudden drop in acceleration threw him forward and his abdomen slammed into the handlebars. He didn't crash in the incident but he could feel that something wasn't right. A trip to the hospital revealed a small perforation in his bowel. The injury was surgically repaired on Monday evening and given a four to six week timetable for healing.

"This is definitely a bummer for me," said a disappointed Townley from his hospital bed. "I was really looking forward to racing in Europe in April. Obviously, that isn't going to happen now. I have a lot of friends over there and I'll definitely race some GP's again someday."The good news is that Ben will be completely ready to race on May 22nd. Townley will now forego his European trip and return straight to California next month to begin preparation for the opening round of the Lucas Oil/ AMA Motocross Championships that kick off in Sacramento."The good news here is that Ben was finally back to where he needed to be," explains TLD team manager David Pingree. "I spoke with him over the weekend and he was truly ready to race. He said he finally found the speed and level of riding that he had several years ago and he was excited about it. That is what he needed. This is a small, unfortunate hiccup but you have to look at this big-picture: he's going to be ready to race at Hangtown."

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