still perfect with six straight after Millville win
By Mark Kariya
Who else but Whibley? If you count last year's streak
of winning the final nine rounds en route to earning his fourth OMA
championship, Paul Whibley stretched that to 15 in a row by winning the FMF
Spring Creek Grand Prix, round six of the current Parts Unlimited OMA
Nationals, held on a very warm and humid day (but with almost ideal course
conditions) near Millville, Minnesota.
Yamaha’s Paul Whibley started the last half of the Parts Unlimited Off-road
Motorcycle and ATV Nationals season doing what he’s been doing all along:
winning. (If you take his nine victories in the final nine rounds last year,
Whibley’s now got 15 consecutive OMA wins as he seeks to be the first man to
win five straight series championships.)
FMF Spring Creek Grand Prix at the always popular Spring Creek MX Park near
Millville, Minnesota, provided outstanding course conditions following a gentle
rain on Friday night/Saturday morning and a bit of drizzle on Sunday morning.
But the clouds parted before the race and let the sun bake the area with heat
and humidity that tested all competitors. (Adding to the challenge was the
length of the race: The white flag is thrown after the leader completes one
hour and 50 minutes, but when Whibley showed up at the scoring chute at 1:49,
it guaranteed two more laps, with the winner completing seven grueling circuits
in two hours, 33 minutes and 51 seconds.)
Russell Bobbitt did beat Whibley to the first turn,
thus earning the $100 FMF Holeshot Award. But later on the first lap, the enduro
star got out of shape and surrendered the lead. Whibley would not and Bobbitt
settled for second for the third time this season.
carefully walking the start straight and first turn as is his usual practice,
Whibley found himself trailing the extremely quick 300 XC of FMF/KTM Factory
Off-Road Racing Team’s Russell Bobbitt, who was only too happy to pocket the
$100 FMF Holeshot Award.
not long afterwards, Bobbitt uncharacteristically bobbled on a downhill. When
he did that, Whibley reported, “I just snuck past him.
stayed pretty close for a couple laps--it was like four seconds, [then] nine
seconds I think I remember seeing on the pit board--then when he gassed, I got
away from him and he never closed back in again.”
at the finish, Whibley had a very comfortable lead of two minutes and 21
seconds over Bobbitt while Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer pulled up to the finish
and additional 2:09 behind.
Zach Ingram made his first OMA start of the season and earned fourth place
followed by 40-49 A winner Matt Stavish, 30-39 A winner Steve Leivan, privateer
Pro Shane Klimek (who’d proved a difficult guy to pass for Fahringer earlier),
Nate Ferderer (making his first start in the Pro division), Open A winner Cody
Bollinger and Open A runner-up Keith Zaagman.
seven in two weeks in Indiana promises to provide more of the same--at least in
heat and humidity--but Whibley will undoubtedly try to keep his name atop the
Never bet against Matt Stavish at Millville. Now 44 years young, he rode
like he was 10--or more!--years younger, dueling
hard with eventual 30-39 A
winner Steve Leivan for much of the race (after starting on the same row).
shook free to take 40-49 A and end up fifth overall, the
first A overall.