GEICO/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki’s Paul Whibley was back for another win as he led almost wire-to-wire at round six of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series in Lafayette, Tennessee followed by teammate Jimmy Jarrett in second and FMF Makita Suzuki’s Charlie Mullins in third. Whibley’s second win of the season has awarded him the points lead, and also scored him the points lead in the Eastern Hare Scrambles series, as the Titan GNCC was co-sanctioned with the opening round of the AMA Hare Scrambles Championship.
“I’m pretty happy with the points race,” Whibley said. “But there is still a long way to go in the series.”
Continuing rain showers in the area had left the track even muddier than the ATV race the day prior. With mud flying high in the air, Jarrett was first off the line, grabbing the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot award. Going into the woods, Jarrett, Whibley and FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang kept together through the deep mud of the tough Tennessee track. At first, the three diced it up, jockeying for position. Am-Pro FMF Yamaha’s Jason Raines was in a close fourth and slowly moved up to join the fight. Strang, who won the last three rounds, began to falter through the mud going into the third lap and Raines moved ahead.
Am-Pro FMF Yamaha’s Thad DuVall was last off the line and well behind the leaders until the third lap but moved ahead to catch up with the top three. DuVall looked like he had a good chance to get on the podium but caught another unlucky break when his chain broke. Strang fell further behind but his teammate, Mullins, began picking up his pace and taking some chances, steadily moving ahead to get into the top three.
“I really struggled those first laps,” Mullins said. “I was angry because I wanted to win so I guess riding angry helped me in the end. I was really comfortable those last few laps.”
The last lap of the race, Whibley increased his lead to come in a good distance ahead of Jarrett who finished second with almost two minutes over Mullins, who rounded out the podium.
Strang held on to come in fourth ahead of Yamaha’s Barry Hawk. Shock Doctor KTM’s Kurt Caselli came in sixth after a last-lap crash with Raines, who carded seventh. Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney came in eighth while DuVall and Husaberg’s Jesse Robinson finished out the top ten.
The XC2 class once again charged hard to put the pressure on the pro riders. Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell put up a hard battle to come in third overall, taking the XC2 Lites class win. Russell grabbed the holeshot and was joined by Monster Energy/Fred Andrew’s Yamaha’s Jason Thomas and Geico/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki’s Scotty Watkins as the class headed into the woods. Thomas moved up to lead the riders through the first lap. Watkins, Thomas and Russell traded in and out of the lead until Russell began a hard charge to take the lead back. Shock Doctor KTM’s Cory Buttrick began a late charge to catch up with the leaders. Russell was able to keep his lead and card another win for the season.
“I can be a mud rider when I want to be,” Russell said. “It’s all mental. It was a good race.”
Watkins came in second followed by Buttrick in third.
“It was definitely tough,” Watkins, who came in fifth overall, said. “On a day like today, I was running as hard as I could and second is ok.”
1. Paul Whibley (KAW)
2. Jimmy Jarrett (KAW)
3. Charles Mullins (SUZ)
4. Josh Strang (SUZ)
5. Barry Hawk (YAM)
6. Kurt Caselli (KTM)
7. Jason Raines (YAM)
8. Glenn Kearney (HSQ)
9. Thad DuVall (YAM)
10. Jesse Robinson (HSB)
XC1 points standings: 1. Paul Whibley (145/2 wins) 2. Charles Mullins (136/1 win) 3. Josh Strang (135/3 wins) 4. Jimmy Jarrett (106) 5. Nathan Kanney (89) 6. Barry Hawk (82) 7. Kurt Caselli (80) 8. Jesse Robinson (61) 9. Glenn Kearney (58) 10. Thad Duvall (55).
1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
2. Scott Watkins (KAW)
3. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
4. Jason Thomas (YAM)
5. Jake Korn
6. Robert Santheson
7. Josh Weisenfels
8. Brian Lawson
9. Andrew Matusek
10. Eric Bailey
XC2 Points Standings
1. Kailub Russell (166/4 wins) 2. Cory Buttrick (133/1 win) 3. Scott Watkins (121/1 win) 4. Jason Thomas (115) 5. Andrew Matusek 6. Jake Korn (89) 7. Brian Lawson (79) 8. Robert Santheson (74) 9. Josh Weisenfels (60) 10. Mat Herrington (54).