Four wins from four starts in a major racing series in the United States, it couldn’t get any better for Pahiatua off-road motorcycle ace Paul Whibley.
The 35-year-old former Manawatu forestry worker, affectionately dubbed “The Axeman” on the motorcycling scene, is unbeaten so far in the 2014 Off-Road Motorcycle and ATV (OMA) competition after he comfortably won round four of the series near Lynville, in Indiana, at the weekend.
Whibley now leads the series by a massive 35 points from American rider Jason Thomas, who was third in Indiana, with Nick Fahringer third in the series standings, just one point back from Thomas.
Now with a four-race win streak and a healthy championship points lead, Whibley is well on target to win the coveted American title that he has already claimed several times before in recent years.
The Yamaha ace simply ran away with the OMA title in 2012, making it five OMA title wins in consecutive years, although he missed out on making it six in a row last season because of injuries.
Now, it seems, the Kiwi ace is truly back to his best.
“Conditions were pretty dry and some of the trail seemed a tad uninspiring with hard packed that was tight, dusty and, in places, quite overgrown,” said the intrepid Kiwi.
“Most of the trail was from the national enduro event that was held there the year before. I knew this would suit (American rider) Nick Fahringer as he is the current points leader in the enduro series. But I also knew that the start was going to be crucial. With tight trails and dusty conditions, passing was going to be really tough.
“Off the start I got a good jump, but so did Nick. I had the slight edge going into turn one and also the inside line. I took the holeshot and control of the race. The morning race had been run through the same track and had done a nice job of squashing a line through the long grass in the overgrown sections.
“I just settled into a good pace and tried to thread my Yamaha YZ450F through the tight trees and stay as clean as possible,” said Whibley.
“Late in the second lap Nick got close to me in one of the less dusty sections and wasn’t too far behind as we came in for gas. But I exited the pits still in the lead and consciously made an effort to go faster through the section had Nick caught me on in the previous lap. The plan worked with a bit more breathing room for me coming into the scoring zone, before we headed out on the fourth and final lap.
“A safe last lap had me collecting win number four at the OMAs this season.”
Fahringer finished runner-up at Indiana, with Thomas third and Whibley’s Yamaha team-mate Jordan Ashburn and fellow American Adam Bonneur rounding out the top five.
Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, AmPro Yamaha, Monster Energy, Shoei, Sidi, Smith, MSR G2, Asterisk, Moto SR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Spectro, Acerbis, DID, JT sprockets, Leatt, Kenda, Sargent Motorcycles, Yamaha NZ, Bikesportnz.com, Unibiker and Tire balls.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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