a poor start, Paul Whibley worked his way gradually to the front and, in his
typical style, let no one get close to take his second consecutive OMA victory.
leads Yamaha sweep of Tennessee podium
Whibley led a Yamaha sweep of the podium at the Motion Pro Hangman
Cross-country National, round three of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle
and ATV Nationals, near Hanging Limb, Tennessee. He had to battle back from a
poor start to do so, but once he got in front, it proved impossible to dislodge
him from his accustomed position over the punishing 11-mile-long course with
its abundance of rocks and hills.
Am-Pro/FMF Yamaha champion ended up beating teammate Thad Duvall by just over a
minute with Obermeyer/Am-Pro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn third.
it was Whibley’s fellow Kiwi Rory Mead leading the first three laps in his OMA debut. Unfortunately for Mead, he
would not make history aboard a YZ450F he borrowed from Whibley. Since he
didn’t count on leading, his strategy was to pit for fuel when Whibley did.
Being in front, however, meant he did an extra lap and his tank didn’t have the
capacity for that, leaving him stranded out on the course and out of the race
after a swift three laps.
took the lead after that. “It was just one of those days where you’ve got to
keep plugging away because there was so much rock and danger out there that
anything could happen, anything could take you down,” he said. “I think people
had a lot of problems. It was a bit of a survival run.”
Duvall made his first OMA start of the season and proved he hasn’t forgotten
how to ride gnarly trail. After making a bid for the lead, however, a destroyed
rear wheel forced him to settle for second.
quite a few competitors besides Mead didn’t survive, GEICO Powersports/American
Honda/JG Off-road’s Jimmy Jarrett--the victim of a crash that rang his bell
hard--among them. Duvall feared his hard-fought, come-from-behind ride to
second might be for naught when his rear wheel started coming apart as he got
the white flag, leading some observers to believe he had a flat. “I didn’t
really notice it until the two-mile marker on the last lap,” he insisted, “and
I just couldn’t hardly ride in a straight line. I didn’t think I was going to
make it to the finish.” He would end up just over a minute behind Whibley,
2:29:30 to 2:30:34. Ashburn was another four-plus minutes back on his YZ450F to
complete the blue sweep while Jarrett’s teammate Scott Watkins was the first
non-blue machine on his CRF450R in 2:36:20. Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer took
fifth 32 seconds later on his FX 450 after a slow start due to arm pump. Husaberg-mounted
Kenneth Gilbert, Dustin Gibson (the $200 FMF Holeshot Award winner),
Obermeyer/Am-Pro Yamaha’s Chase Bishop, 30-39 A winner Marty Michels and Lite A
winner Daniel Janus rounded out the top 10.
Ashburn gave the hometown crowd something to cheer for as he led most of the
first lap, eventually finishing third for the third round in a row.
Watkins missed round two and returned to the OMAs in Tennessee, but he could
only muster fourth after a slow first lap.
Fahringer also found it difficult to get rolling in the early going after a
case of arm pump; he got faster later and finished fifth.