Newly crowned New Zealand Supercross Champion and former MX2 World Motocross and AMA Supercross Lites Champion Ben Townley has secured a ride with the factory Honda team that will see him race in the first three rounds of the MX1 World Championship alongside American Jimmy Albertson.For Townley, 25, the Bulgarian Grand Prix on April 4 will mark his first appearance on European soil since he represented Team New Zealand in the 2006 Motocross des Nations in England. After completing the first three rounds of the GP Series, Townley will return to the U.S. to take part in the AMA National Motocross Championship.Townley won the 2004 MX2 World Championship for KTM. In 2005, he won four MX1 Grands Prix, battling with the likes of Stefan Everts and Josh Coppins before ultimately finishing third in the championship behind those two."I'm really looking forward to coming to Europe," Townley said in a release. "It is perfect fit for me right now to get back to racing and will help me prepare for the outdoor championship in the USA. I‘ve also been racing in New Zealand and getting back to speed, which has been part of my plan to get myself back into racing shape. I raced in Sevlievo [Bulgaria] and Valkenswaard [The Netherlands] before so I know those tracks well and have been on the podium in Sevlievo and twice in Valkenswaard. Fermo [Italy] will be new to everyone so I hope to continue the result there too. The Euro fans are so passionate about racing and I have good fan base there, which will be a great way to get back into international racing. I have no doubt that Paulo [Martin - the team owner], Lorenzo and the Honda Racing MX Team will support me in the best possible way and make it an easy transition for going back to America. They will be able to help me test my legs while in Europe. "

Team owner Martin is excited to have come to an agreement with the Kiwi."It will be great for us to have Ben in our team," he said. "This is a great opportunity for us to improve and develop our bike - Ben is an experienced rider and his advice and feedback will be precious."

Townley will team up with Albertson on the factory CRF450s."I'm really excited to have Ben on the team for the first three races," Albertson said. "I believe I can learn a lot from him in those three races with him being the incredible racer that he is."

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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