Classic Win for Whibley in Kentucky at Dirt Bike OMA National
If you overlooked the color of Paul Whibleys bike, the FMF Whiskey Run Cross-country National--round four of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals--seemed like a re-run of an OMA from last year.
Up front, two-time and defending series champion Whibley, four-time series champ Jimmy Jarrett, Scott Watkins and Thad Duvall battled for the lead with frequent position changes during the first half of the race at Mountain Parkway Off-Road in Clay City, Kentucky. In addition, newcomers Nick Fahringer and Jordan Ashburn also stayed in the mix.
But as the race wore on during a very hot, humid day, attrition cut those numbers at the front as inevitably happens. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Greens Ashburn, whod started the race by clearly grabbing the $200 K&N Filters Holeshot Award for the third time this season before throwing it away a few seconds later, ended up on the side of the trail with a broken chain and a DNF. Am-Pro/FMF Yamahas Duvall found himself stopped by a stout stick in his rear wheel that only budged after he summoned two others to help and he would end up seventh overall, fifth in the Pro class. Husabergs Fahringer crushed his foot between a stump and right footpeg; naturally, the pain took precedence and his pace slowed him to an eventual distant fourth.
Watkins held on in the lead pack longest, but the JG Off-Road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki racer simply couldnt run the pace when Whibley and Jarrett kicked it up a gear, and he had to settle for third.
The last half of the race saw Whibley take control, the Am-Pro/FMF Yamaha competitor breaking away with a series of searingly fast laps that Jarrett came closest to matching, but on this day, the JG Off-Road/GEICO Powersports/Monster Energy Kawasaki star was just a bit slower and had to accept runner-up.
The more I tried [to catch Whibley], the more mistakes I made and I was getting more tired and hot so I just backed it down and let him go, round-two winner Jarrett explained. I knew we had a pretty good gap on third.
And Whibley kept moving away from Jarrett to triumph for the first time since the season finale last October--a much longer dry spell than anyone ever expected.
I knew we could do it, but its been little things that have held us back in the first part of the season, Whibley said. Hopefully, Ive got all my bad luck out of the way and I can kind of continue moving forward from here and get some more good results.
The Kentucky results tightened up the points race considerably. Though Watkins remains atop the table with 92, Duvall and Jarrett are now tied for second at 85, and Whibley vaults to fourth with 84. Ashburn sits in fifth with 68 as they head to Michigan in four weeks for round five of the series.
1. Paul Whibley (Yamaha WR450F)
2. Jimmy Jarrett (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. Scott Watkins (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Nick Fahringer (Husaberg FX 450)
5. Zach Klamfoth (Yamaha YZ250)
6. Michael Williams (Kawasaki KX250F)
7. Thad Duvall (Yamaha WR450F)
8. Adam Bonneur (Kawasaki KX450F)
9. Jake Fiddler (Kawasaki KX450F)
10. Shane Klimek (Suzuki RM250)