OMA Parts Unlimited Off-Road Dirt Bike Race, Round 9
After several rounds of summer heat and blinding dust, Mother Nature doled out the sort of rain and mud last seen during the winter when the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals visited the Kirkpatrick Farm near Memphis, Missouri, for the Sidi Moonshine Cross-country National, the next-to-last round of the 10-round tour.
That seemed to matter little to Paul Whibley, though, as the two-time and defending series champ seemed to revel in the slop as he rolled to his sixth consecutive series victory. That gave him a comfortable but not mathematically unchallengeable lead in series points over persistent rival Scott Watkins with just the finale to go next month. Watkins rebounded from his uncustomary sixth place at the previous race in Indiana and finished in the second spot for the sixth time this season (his eighth podium finish), while Nick Fahringer rounded out the podium in third place for the third time this season.
AmPro/FMF Yamaha’s Whibley got a great start and led out of the first turn, but privateer Suzuki pilot Shane Klimek stole the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award.
“This is the first time this year I’ve got the holeshot and it was a wild one, man!” Klimek exclaimed. “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!”
When Klimek went tumbling, Whibley shot back into the lead, one he’d keep for the rest of the afternoon.
“We were all sort of bunched up on the first lap,” Whibley said. “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.”
Watkins agreed that stopping for clean goggles at the end of the first lap probably doomed him to a certain runner-up finish, but the JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki racer had no choice. Fortunately for him, he had enough of a gap that he didn’t need to push it to remain in second place, keeping himself in the hunt mathematically for the championship with only the Moose Run remaining.
“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.”
This round went very well for third-place Nick Fahringer, the Husaberg rider equalling his season-best finish for the third time this year. In addition, he also leap-frogged his way up to fifth in points, unofficially, before throwaways are tallied.
“To be honest, I really don’t feel like I rode very well today,” Fahringer lamented. “I kind of attribute my finish to other guys maybe not having their best days either.” Having to stop to clean his radiators when his bike started overheating didn’t help matters, of course.
Attrition did play a big part in the results. For example, Watkins’ teammate Jimmy Jarrett timed his stop for goggles equally badly and then lost his rear brake, so he called it a day, though it ended up not hurting his final result. What did hurt was Fahringer’s third-place finish. In addition, K’s Motorsports Kawasaki-mounted Adam Bonneur had a solid day with his fourth overall, so instead of being tied in points with Jarrett, Bonneur now has sixth to himself with Jarrett seventh.
Again, the Pros get one throwaway before their final series points are tallied, which will take place after the season-ending Moose Run in Illinois next month.
1. Paul Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F)
2. Scott Watkins (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. Nick Fahringer (Husaberg FX 450)
4. Adam Bonneur (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Shane Klimek (Suzuki RM250)
6. Zach Klamfoth (Yamaha YZ250)
7. Jimmy Jarrett (Kawasaki KX450F)
8. Jake Fiddler (Kawasaki KX450F)
9. Daniel Janus (Gas Gas EC250F)
10. Kirk Foster (KTM)