“There’s nothing like getting your butt handed to you at an event now and then to provide good motivation during the following week of training.”
So said Kiwi Yamaha ace Paul Whibley after being beaten into third place at the Mid East Harescramble Championships at Yadkinville, North Carolina, this week.
A couple of Whibley’s rivals from the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series – Kailub Russell and Stu Baylor – also raced this event and these riders took first and second respectively, giving the Kiwi just the spur he needed with the next round of the GNCC series coming up this weekend at St. Clairsville, Ohio.
“Racing at the old GNCC venue at Yadkinville bought four top 10 GNCC riders to the line in the off weekend before we head into the last month of racing this season,” Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F) explained.
“Stu Baylor, the current XC2 class points leader in the GNCC, was there and so was Kailub Russell, who sits just behind me in the GNCC points, along with GNCC No.9 Jesse Robinson, riding his factory Beta machine.
“It was a super short start straight, all of about 8-10 metres, and this saw a lot of bumping going on in turn one.
“Sometime in the first turns I think a foot peg went through my front wheel and broke some spokes. During the first couple of laps they were making a lot of noise and I was nervous as to how many were broken and how long before my wheel was going to collapse and send me over the handlebars.
“Kailub Russell got past me and took the lead, setting a blistering pace that I wasn’t able to match. Also Stu Baylor was riding quick and moved into the number two spot. At the pit stop (my mechanic) Scotty Brooker assessed the wheel and said it should last.
“I re-passed Stu a lap later when, I think, he tangled with another rider. Traffic was really busy on the track. There were no bottlenecks as the track had nothing too tough, just a lot of bikes on a short track. Stu got back by me again when I got hung up behind a lapped rider.
“Trying all that I could to get back by but more traffic slowed my progress with crashes and collisions taking a toll on the bike with bent bars and damaged brakes.”
Whibley was forced to settle for third, hot on the heels of Baylor.
Pahiatua’s Whibley is running third in the GNCC series but well within strike range of the leaders and this event at Yadkinville was ideal preparation for the next round this coming weekend.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com