Pahiatua’s Paul Whibley is the national champion in the United States and in recent weeks he’s been back home for a break and to recharge his batteries.
While the holiday was sweet and well-deserved, it was also very short — the break is definitely over now for the 31-year-old because he’s been riding and racing most of January, and winning each time.
The former Manawatu tree feller, known affectionately in motorcycling circles as “the Axeman”, is busy preparing himself for another crack at the Grand National Cross-Country Championships in the US.
He heads back to the east coast of America immediately after the annual Woodville Motocross in less than two weeks’ time (on January 30-31).
His latest conquest was on Saturday at the third and final round of the popular Bel-Ray Cross-country series at Rangiriri, in the Waikato.
“My Yamaha YZ450F fired up quickly at the start and I took the holeshot and control of the race right from the beginning,” said Whibley.
“Conditions on some parts of the track were very dusty, especially where the juniors had raced just before us. It was very powdery in some of the gateways.
Although, with one lap behind me, it was clear some effort had been made to lay out a fun and challenging track for the riders. There were some off-cambers and a couple of sections darting through some native bush, as well as the typical flat out rolling farmland found at all Bel-Ray Cross-country events.
“I opened up a lead quickly and maintained it throughout the race. I was impressed by the handling of the new YZF through the rough chop that developed on many of the uphills.
“Because of the length of the lap I opted to pit twice.
“After gassing for the last time, only two laps remained and, with a good lead, there was time to enjoy some of the natural jumps over the rolling hills.”
1. Paul Whibley (Yamaha)
2. Luke Ramsey (Kawasaki)
3. Michael Vining (Suzuki)
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com