Monster Energy Athlete Paul Whibley finished an impressive fourth at round seven of the Grand National Cross Country in Millfield, Ohio, this past weekend. The Am Pro Yamaha rider was pleased with his performance, noting that he was ‘in the mix’ for most of the race, and that a last minute pit stop most likely cost him a podium finish.
‘It was actually a good race for me and I ran with the leaders all day,’ said Whibley. ‘For sure, my race was better than the results show.’
Continuing his history of great starts, Whibley grabbed the holeshot to start the three-hour race and he held the lead for most of the first lap before eventual winner, Kailub Russell, went by near the end of the lap.
There was plenty of passing back and forth for the next few laps, and during that time Whibley stayed within striking distance of the two leaders, Russell and his KTM teammate Charlie Mullins. In the meantime, Whibley kept pace while battling with Josh Strang and Chris Bach over third on the fast and slippery course.
‘There was a bit of rain a few nights before the race and Saturday’s four-wheeler race kind of polished up the course and made it quite slippery,’ said Whibley. ‘It was pretty tricky in some places and you had to watch your lines.’
After the first gas stop, Whibley moved into third place, however, a final unscheduled pit stop for fuel dropped him to fourth behind Strang.
At the finish it was Russell with the win, followed by Mullins, Strang, Whibley and Bach.
‘It basically went down to gas stops and we had planned for a six-lap race and it went into seven laps,’ said Whibley. ‘We had to stop on the final lap to get a quick splash of gas so we could finish and Strang got by me at that point, otherwise we would have been on the podium.’
Midway into the GNCC schedule, Whibley now sits sixth in the XC1 standings after a somewhat disastrous start to the season.
With no major races on the schedule for next weekend, Whibley will take a much need and rare weekend off.
The next race for Whibs will be the Mountaineer Run GNCC on June 15th in Masontown, West Virginia.
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