New Zealand’s Paul Whibley is looking ahead to the final round of the Grand National Cross-country Championships in the United States this coming weekend.
He is currently leading the GNCC series after 12 of 13 rounds and just needs a solid ride at the final round at Crawfordsville, Indiana, this weekend.
The Pahiatua rider is 23 points clear of his nearest challenger, Australian Suzuki rider Josh Strang.
Strang won round 12 of the GNCC series in North Carolina a fortnight ago, while Whibley finished solidly in third to preserve his points lead.
So, as a final “warm-up” for the GNCC finale, he packed up his Kawasaki KX450F and headed to Indiana to race an IXCR cross-country event last weekend.
“On arriving at the track I realised I had been to this venue before. It was the same place that I raced my first OMA event about four years ago.
“The morning was frosty and cold and the sun was a welcome sight as it breathed some warmth into the still air. Watching the kids race in the morning showed the track was slick.
“The clay soil had been packed down hard and the moister from the morning frost just made it so slippery.
My race started around 12, thankfully it had warmed up some by then. I grabbed the early lead but found the track so slippery that pushing hard was impossible. I had my Vortex ignition on my bike and switched maps to a very smooth one via the switch on the bars after the first mile of the track.
“This made it a lot easier to control the big KX. I now begin to slowly build a lead but still conditions made it really tough to go fast.
“The track had some fun features with the rock drop-off attracting some spectators and catching a few riders out.
“There was also a creek jump that provided a brief break from the slick trails. Plenty of rocks also kept riders on there toes and on one rocky slick hill I seen a pool of oil. I’m guessing someone wasn’t having a good day.
“With the white flag coming out and having a comfortable lead the last lap was completed safely.”
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com