Parts Unlimited Off-Road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals, Round 8
AmPro/FMF Yamaha’s Paul Whibley pushed his win streak to five in a row after dominating the Maxxis Hoosier Cross-country National in Bedford, Indiana, round eight of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals. Combined with an off day suffered by Scott Watkins of the JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki team, Whibley stretched his series points lead further, the spread now growing from seven to 22 ahead, 204-182.
“It’s definitely good to be back getting some wins under the belt and buffering the points lead now,” the two-time and defending series champ Whibley declared.
Watkins saw his streak of podium finishes finally broken after a frustrating sixth-place finish.
“I don’t know what the deal was. I’ve ridden in dust before; it’s not my favorite, but it’s nothing that I was losing sleep over at the hotel last night,” Watkins lamented. “It was just all bad today. Couldn’t get into a rhythm. I’d try and go and I just couldn’t even stay in those dust ruts. I was riding out of them and just bad technique all around.”
The one man who seemed to cope well with the dust, heat and traffic best--after Whibley--was his young teammate Thad Duvall. After getting a poor start, he charged his way back into contention, grabbing second place a little less than halfway into the two-hour race. Once there, he reeled off a couple laps quicker than Whibley, but it was the champ who clocked more laps in the 12-minute range to stay well out of range.
“The first three or four laps, I couldn’t see at all! It was like first, second gear the whole way around,” Duvall said. “I think I [eventually] got within a minute of Paul, but it was just rough and tough all day; I got a little bit tired toward the end so I kind of backed it off. I’m tickled to death with second; it was definitely a hard-earned second today!”
Duvall’s second podium finish in a row (after his third place at round seven) further cemented his third place in series points at 154.
After a string of finishes a place or two off the podium, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Jordan Ashburn got the race started in the best possible manner by taking the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award, though he ceded the lead to Whibley on the first hill climb. The rookie Pro was a fairly consistent 30 seconds a lap slower than Whibley in second place for about 45 minutes before Duvall passed him, but Ashburn kept putting down laps in the mid-13s to hold onto third place--his first podium finish since round one (coincidentally also in Indiana, about a half hour away) where he was also third.
“The bike was loading up at the end of the day; I know the filter’s got to be caked!” Ashburn exclaimed.
Watkins’ teammate Jimmy Jarrett started off running behind Whibley and Ashburn for the first few laps. After Duvall went by both him and Ashburn, Jarrett remained a solid fourth, Ashburn about 30 seconds ahead for the rest of the afternoon. It was his best finish since round four where he was second. Since then, of course, he’s been hit by a truck while training on his bicycle and crashed out of round seven, so this was his best result in a while.
“I’m happy with how my body feels, but I would’ve liked to have done a little better,” he said. “But, I guess baby steps at this point.”
After riding the GEICO AMA EnduroCross in Indianapolis on Friday night, Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer was a bit more fatigued than he’d expected, but he still pulled off a fifth-place finish, just over two minutes ahead of Watkins who was the last racer to complete 10 laps of the hilly course.
Sport Cycles Racing Yamaha-mounted Zach Klamfoth got the holeshot on the Open A start and held it the rest of the day to earn the class win for the third time this season and hold onto his points lead. He was seventh overall, almost 45 seconds ahead of Lite A winner Michael Williams aboard his Barry Heath Racing Kawasaki. For Williams, who’s won all seven rounds he’s entered, the class championship is now his, as amateur class entrants are allowed three throwaways.
Pros Cooper Bailey on his new Munn KTM and Suzuki-mounted Shane Klimek rounded out the top 10 overall.
1. Paul Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F)
2. Thad Duvall (Yamaha YZ450F)
3. Jordan Ashburn (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Jimmy Jarrett (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Nick Fahringer (Husaberg FX 450)
6. Scott Watkins (Kawasaki KX450F)
7. Zach Klamfoth (Yamaha YZ250)
8. Michael Williams (Kawasaki KX250F)
9. Cooper Bailey (KTM 450 XC-F)
10. Shane Klimek (Suzuki RM250)