OMA NATIONALS/ROUND 5/WI/OMA/120709
Whibley continues to steamroll OMA opposition with Wisconsin win
By Mark Kariya
Paul Whibley trouncing the OMA’s again
If Paul Whibley impressed you last year when he won his first-ever American championship after taking the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals title, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As the series reached its halfway point this year in Wisconsin for round five, the JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki ace notched his fifth series victory. In other words, he’s won all five races so far and, after teammate Jimmy Jarrett crashed out of the Parts Unlimited Cross-country National at CMJ Raceway outside of Hixton, is looking more and more likely to go undefeated.
“I didn’t count on being dominant [this year],” he insisted after leading from start to finish on his KX450F. “I take each race as a fresh start and do the best I can.”
So far, that best has been more than enough to stay one step ahead of the competition, with his closest challenger more often than not being Jarrett. Unfortunately for Jarrett, the four-time champ had his second bad race in a row. After crashing and limping in for sixth at round four in Michigan—the first time he hadn’t claimed second this season behind you know who—he took a big digger on a rocky downhill in Wisconsin with the KX450F pounding his upper body. He slowly got up after several others stopped to check on him, putted slowly back to the pits and went straight to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken right wrist as well as a punctured lip.
Jarrett crashed and broke his wrist
“I was just jumping down these little rock ledges down this hill and there was this stump,” he remembered. “I knew it was there because I saw it the other laps, but it was just dusty and I couldn’t see [that lap]. When I jumped off [one ledge], as soon as I jumped, the dust kind of cleared out and I saw it and I landed on it right with my front wheel. Before I knew it I was face-down and I think the bike hit me and hit my arm and that’s what broke my wrist. It happened so fast I don’t think I got my hand out [of the way].
“I fly down to [Florida] on Tuesday and [Dr. Augustine’s] going to fix me all up,” he continued. “He said at least six weeks [to recover from the surgery]; he’s hoping that I’m back for the next GNCC, but we’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
In other words, Jarrett will miss at least three OMAs, effectively killing his bid to regain the championship this year.
The team, however, appears ready to maintain its string of 1-2 finishes thanks to OMA newcomer Scott Watkins. He claimed second in Michigan after Jarrett crashed and repeated the feat in Wisconsin. “If I can just finish top-three at the rest of these, I’ll be plenty happy,” he exclaimed. As it is, with Jarrett on the disabled list for a few rounds, KX250F-mounted Watkins will almost certainly improve on his current third place in the point standings.
Team Geico’s Scott Watkins finished second overall to his teammate
Third for the day went to Brian Garrahan who was making his first OMA start this year, having borrowed a MCM Racing YZ250F from his friend Britt Hebenstreit. “I just really haven’t been focusing on my racing; I don’t really have any support this year so I’m focusing on the riding schools—G Brothers University—so that’s what I do with my time,” he revealed. “I’m just kind of a weekend warrior now; I show up to the races just to keep my name out there. I’ve raced, like, three or four WORCS races and stuff. It’s a little bit different. I came out here for a family vacation and this race worked into the schedule so I decided to come out and hit it.”
Brian Garrahan snuck back to the OMA event with excellent success
Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer matched his season-best fourth-place finish despite getting a nearly last-place start on his FE450. “Today I thought I had third locked in after I saw Jimmy go down and I passed Brian Garrahan on the last lap,” he said. “We got to the moto track and his moto experience really surpassed what I was doing.
Nick Fahringer and the ‘Berg tallied a fourth overall placing
“I was having a lot of fun out there; we had a good race together. It burned because I drove him out here!”
Fifth overall and first Open A went to former Pro Chris Bach aboard his Spastic Designs/AP Racing/Shift-backed KX450F followed by Pros Adam Bonneur, Ryan Poulter (the motocrosser making his first OMA start) and Jeff Melik. A-classers Chase Bishop (the Lite A winner) and Matt Stavish (40-49 A winner) rounded out the top 10.