Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals, Round 6: Maxxis Spring Creek Grand Prix
Hat trick for Whibley with Millville win
By Mark Kariya
While Paul Whibley (1) got into the first turn in good shape, he lost ground getting sideways, giving Cooper Bailey (19) the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award. But that was the last time ‘Whibs’ put a wheel wrong as he quickly moved into the lead and checked out for his third straight victory. Bailey would end up sixth Pro and seventh overall.
The “Whibley Express” is back–and back in force. As the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals kicked off the last half of its 10-round tour with the always popular Maxxis Spring Creek Grand Prix, Paul Whibley earned his third consecutive victory and moved into the series points lead for the first time this season.
“Yeah, it’s where I would have liked to have been earlier on in the series, but it’s been good [lately],” Am-Pro/FMF Yamaha’s star said. The two-time and defending series champion continued, “We’ve had some bad luck [in the first two rounds] and now [we’re] working our way back to the front. I guess it’s good to be hitting the second half of the season with the lead.”
About the only time Whibley found himself behind was through the first turn when he got sideways, allowing Factory Performance KX450F-mounted Cooper Bailey to steal the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award.
Scott Watkins laps Bryan Johnson en route to second overall, though he lost his series points lead and now trails race winner Paul Whibley by two points, unofficially. Johnson earned second in 30-39 A.
But that was seemingly the last time Whibley put a wheel wrong on his Monster Energy-backed YZ450F at the world-famous Spring Creek Motocross Park in Millville, Minnesota, and he would end up a minute and a half in front of Scott Watkins, the JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki racer the runner-up for the fourth time this season. However, he also fell from the series points lead for the first time since the opening round, with Whibley holding a slim two-point lead, unofficially, 144-142.
“I had a good start–I was third off the line,” Watkins said. “I got into the woods second, I think, behind ‘Whibs.’ He just pinned it! He put a few seconds on me here and there, and then we stayed pretty much even.
“Every race, he just seems to creep away a little bit. He definitely is doing something right; his training and his practicing is paying off.
“But I’ve still got hope. I’m not getting absolutely slaughtered out there so I think there’s hope for me to win one of these yet.”
Nick Fahringer seems to be getting faster as the season flies by. After battling with Jordan Ashburn in the first hour, he took control of third place in the final hour for third place–his second podium in a row.
Third-place Nick Fahringer is also hopeful, the Husaberg FX 450 racer ending up on the podium in third for the second round in a row and on a roll lately, it seems. “I attribute that to working so hard in the beginning of the season and here in the second half, just having some fun with it, learning what I can get away with doing and not doing–really just trying to be smooth with everything.”
Actually, he battled for the spot with Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Jordan Ashburn for a while early on, but a tip-over and a stall relegated him to fourth, followed a few minutes later by Open A winner Jake Fiddler aboard another KX450F.
Adam Bonneur put his K’s Motorsports KX450F into fifth Pro, sixth overall after coming back from a three-kick start. Bailey ended up sixth in class and seventh overall, his great start ruined when he cased the triple on the motocross track, which rotated his handlebar down and completely changed the way he could control the bike.
Just five weeks after a crash in practice that required removal of his spleen, Michael Williams was cleared on Wednesday by his doctor to race. Not satisfied to merely show up, he returned where he left off, destroying Lite A for his fifth win of the series, putting him eighth overall.
After missing the previous race due to recovering from spleen removal following a practice crash, Michael Williams was anxious to get back to racing. Not satisfied with merely riding around despite getting on the bike on Tuesday (the first time in five weeks) and being medically cleared to race on Wednesday, Williams smoked the Lite A class aboard his Barry Heath Racing KX250F, winning for the fifth time this season. “The only problem is my chest protector at the bottom just rubbed the [surgery] scar a little bit, but other than that, nothing’s hurting,” he insisted.
Steve Leivan topped 30-39 A for the fourth time this season and claimed ninth overall aboard his Ozark Foam WR450F with Open A runner-up Tim Nienow rounding out the top 10.
Promoter Bill Gusse interviews third-place Nick Fahringer while winner Paul Whibley (center) and runner-up Scott Watkins (right) wait their turns.
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