Manawatu’s Paul Whibley is back doing what he does best, winning off-road motorcycle races.
Slowed by illness in recent weeks, the two-time United States cross-country champion from Taikorea, on the outskirts of Palmerston North, surely showed he had finally ‘shaken off the bug’ and was again on the pace when he won the third round of six in the Central Enduro Series at Bideford, near Masterton, on Sunday.
“This was my first race on the new Yamaha YZ450FX. I had done a few laps on the bike at Taikorea, but a farmland enduro race was going to be a little different.
“Starting on minute three, there were only a couple bikes through the course before me, but this was good because the rain had conditions looking pretty slick.
“The first terrain test started in some pines then quickly ran out into farm tracks. Putting in a safe effort, I was able to catch riders who had started on the row in front.
“The second test was really short and was fresh pines. Basically starting at the top of the block and working our way down and out the bottom, I was having a good run until I blew a turn and struggled to get back onto the track.
“My third test went well, featuring a mix of tight pines and fast gravel logging tracks. Being a longer test allowed time to get into a good rhythm.
“With one lap done, it was out into a repeat lap with an extra section for expert riders, although there was only one test this lap, test three again. It had faster speed averages, which kept things interesting. The track was much better the second lap with a few lines emerging.
“The last expert-only section provided the most fun of the whole day with a super tight trail time through the longer third test.
“Overall, the FX worked well and I came away with the win.”
Whibley finished the day ahead of Masterton’s Adam Easton, who was riding a Yamaha YZ250F, and Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson (Husqvarna FE250).
Richardson leads the series after three rounds, ahead of Wellington’s Hugh Lintott (Yamaha YZ450F). Lintott finished fifth overall on Sunday.
Even with just the one round under his wheels, Whibley has settled into fifth overall for the series.
The next round of the Central Enduro Series is set for Waitawhiti, in the Tararua region, on July 23.
Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Sidi, Smith, G2, Asterisk, MotoSR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Darbi Accessories, GHQ, Rosscos Start Up Services, Works Connection, Pro Taper, Race Pace Services, Unabiker, Leatt Brace, Tire Balls, BikesportNZ.com, CarbSport, KettleClamp, Alliance Offroad, Ride Eng MotoSeat, FMF, Kenda, Yamalube, CV4, GYTR, IMS, MSR, Rekluse, Ride Eng, Workshop Graphics.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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