Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals, Round 3: Maxxis Coal Miner Cross-country National
It’s Duvall all day in Ohio heat
By Mark Kariya
Once he got out front, Thad Duvall sprinted away from the field and then maintained a comfortable gap to notch his second win of the series.
Thad Duvall became the first repeat winner of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals when he easily dominated the Maxxis Coal Miner Cross-country National near Rio Grande, Ohio, round three of the series. In doing so, he took a huge leap up in the series point standings after his early retirement from round two and now sits just two points behind JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Scott Watkins, who was third on the day behind Am-Pro/FMF Yamaha teammates Duvall and Paul Whibley.
Scott Watkins (2) got into the first corner a little hot, letting Jordan Ashburn (15) slip underneath to steal the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award, but it was Watkins who finished better, placing third with Ashburn fifth and Cooper Bailey (19) ninth. This was about as far behind as Thad Duvall (989) ran all day en route to his convincing victory.
Though he trailed in fourth off the start (with first-year Pro Jordan Ashburn nabbing the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award for the second time this year), Duvall quickly made his way into the lead, one he’d not give up for the rest of the day. He quickly gapped the field, admitting later, “I tried to get away as fast as I could because I wanted a little bit of a cushion in case my shoulder started bothering me,” referring to the shoulder injury he suffered a month ago. “I just kind of put my head down and charged all day long to see if my shoulder held up and it held up good, and here we are with the first-place win!”
After a frustrating run of bad luck at the first two rounds, Paul Whibley finally had a trouble-free ride in Ohio and got on the podium with his second-place finish.
Those interested in watching good battles had some entertaining spectating. Early on, round two winner Jimmy Jarrett and Whibley went back and forth over second place before Whibley finally made a pass stick. The two-time and defending series champ conceded that it was a relief to finally get on the podium after bad luck thwarted his plans in the first two rounds. “Hopefully, we got all our bad luck out of the way at the start of the year,” he said. “It’s kind of been a little weird, things happening like at the last race getting hit and [losing] the front brake.”
Round two winner Jimmy Jarrett battled for second for a while, but he ran into several issues, with a last-lap crash into a falling bike helping to drop him to fourth.
Things went a bit downhill for Jarrett after that. He dueled with teammate Scott Watkins over third for a couple laps but wasn’t able to hold the position for that last spot on the podium. A spill earlier aggravated a shoulder injury, then two laps from the end, he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. While blasting up the biggest hill on the course, a lapper threw his bike away–and right into Jarrett’s path. The collision was violent. Jarrett tumbled back down the hill and when he was able to scramble and retrieve his KX450F, he discovered a hole in its header pipe and a crushed fork leg. Despite a bike that ran and handled poorly, he managed to repass Ashburn and take fourth for the day, 15 seconds ahead of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green racer.
Privateer Adam Bonneur put his K Motorsports KX450F into sixth, just five seconds in front of Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer who had an off day that found him having to replace the brake pedal on his FX 450 at one point. Lite A winner Michael Williams earned eighth overall ahead of Lite A runner-up Duane Conner, and South Africa Pro Kenneth Gilbert on a KX450F rounded out the top 10.
From left: runner-up Paul Whibley, winner Thad Duvall, third-place Scott Watkins and announcer John Wolven.
The series points battle is now shaping up with Watkins leading Duvall, 71-69, but Duvall has momentum on his side. If he adds more consistency to match Watkins, he’ll be tough to beat. Jarrett sits third with 60 followed by Ashburn’s 55 and Whibley’s 54. Round four takes place in two weeks in Kentucky.