WHIBS IN CONTROL AT OMA MISSOURI MUDDER

OMA NATIONALS/ROUND 9/MO/OMA NATIONALS.COM/190910

 

Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals, Round 9: Sidi Moonshine Cross-country National

 

Six straight for Whibley with Missouri win, but Watkins holds onto hope

 

By Mark Kariya

 

Though it appeared as though Paul Whibley (1) had the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award in the bag, Shane Klimek (7) used a suicidal pass to get to the designated line first, crashing in the woods right after that. Whibley would go on to win while Klimek reveled in the muck, coming back to a season-best fifth.

In a re-run of several past rounds, AmPro/FMF Yamaha’s Paul Whibley once again showed JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Scott Watkins the  fast way to the finish to win another round of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals.

            This time, the setting was the Sidi Moonshine Cross-country National at the Kirkpatrick Farm outside of Memphis, Missouri, round nine of the 10-event circuit. But unlike most previous races at this classic OMA venue, this one was a mudder, thanks to a storm that raged through the night before.

            But New Zealand native Whibley is no stranger to mud, of course, and by the time the race was three turns old, he was in front to stay.

            The only time he was behind, in fact, was when he approached the designated holeshot line to determine the winner of the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award. That bonus ended up in the hands of opportunistic privateer Shane Klimek, who arrived at the first turn next to Whibley, dropped to the inside of him and then saw his chance: “I knew I was third [into the turn] and I saw Paul go to the outside and I just squared that thing up and held it wide open, man! I ended up crashing out and everything down [in the woods a few feet past the holeshot line], but hey, I got the two hun, man; I’ll take it!” (Klimek would remount and get back into the race in good shape, picking off people throughout the race as they had problems of their own and finally ending up fifth.)

            Once up front, there was no stopping Whibley, who once again dictated the pace and controlled the race with authority. “We were all sort of bunched up on the first lap,” he noted. “After the end of the first lap, I got a bit of a gap when Scotty stopped for goggles. Once no one was [close] behind me, I started to ride my own race and started to pick it up a little bit [and] pulled a little bit of a lead.”

Scott Watkins returned to his usual spot–on the podium and in second place–to stay in the mathematical hunt for the championship with one round remaining.

            The ground that Watkins lost getting clean goggles at the end of the first lap would haunt him, as he never made it up and lost contact with the fleeing YZ450F and finishing some two minutes behind after two hours of racing. But the good thing was that he was well clear of the chase pack behind him. Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer came from behind to claim third for the third time this season, though he had to stop a couple times and clean off his radiators when his bike started overheating. “To be honest, I really don’t feel like I rode very well today,” he insisted. “I kind of attribute my finish to other guys maybe not having their best days either.”

            And a number of them didn’t. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green rookie Pro Jordan Ashburn ran third in the early going, but he dropped out with a smoked clutch. Watkins’ teammate Jimmy Jarrett also called it a day prematurely after losing the rear brake on his bike after also running up in third early on. And Whibley’s teammate Thad Duvall had to come in for an extended pit stop that cost him time after his YZ450F apparently ingested too much of the water that competitors had to slog through.

 

After spending most of the race chasing friendly rival Shane Klimek, Adam Bonneur found an opening on the last lap to steal fourth place.

            K’s Motorsports KX450F-mounted Adam Bonneur equalled his season-best finish when he passed Klimek on the last lap to claim fourth. Open A winner Zach Klamfoth took sixth overall aboard his Sport Cycles Racing YZ250 and was the last rider to complete four laps.

            Then came Jarrett, followed by Open A runner-up Jake Fiddler aboard his Johnnysigns.com KX450F, Hall’s Cycles Gas Gas EC250F-mounted Lite A winner Daniel Janus and A rider Kirk Foster on his KTM.

            With only the season-ending Moose Run to go, Whibley is in the driver’s seat in the point standings, but mathematically Watkins could pull it off if everything goes his way. “They say there’s still a chance so I won’t give up if they say there’s still hope,” he said. “I’ll guess we’ll wait and see how the last round goes.”

Being an enduro racer from Ohio, the mud didn’t faze Nick Fahringer. Though he started on the slow side, he got rolling and chased down a third place for the third time this year. That vaulted him from seventh to fifth in points, unofficially.

 

Though announcer John Wolven tried, he couldn’t stump Paul Whibley with the trivia question ‘when’s your wedding anniversary?’ Third-place Nick Fahringer (left) and runner-up Scott Watkins (right) also got a chuckle when the Kiwi kept his cool and answered correctly, wife Katherine perhaps providing the answer telepathically from the front row.
 

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