Photography By: Shan Moore
Crawfordsville, Indiana (October 21, 2012) – Charlie Mullins finally got the win he’s been looking all year for in GNCC competition at the Ironman GNCC – round 12 of the Grand National Cross Country Series in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Mullins’ first win of the season didn’t come easily, however, as the FMF/KTM rider battled race long with former series points leader Paul Whibley and round 10 winner Thad DuVall. In the end, however, both Whibley and DuVall succumbed to problems, with Whibley running out of gas while leading on the final lap, and DuVall dropping off the pace with clutch problems, leaving Mullins to carry on by himself.
“It feels good to get a win,” said Mullins. “The track was really tough and it took a lot of energy out there and I was happy to see that checkered flag. It was a tough day, and Paul and Thad didn’t make it any easier. I made a lot of mistakes out there, but nothing too major, so I was able to hold on for the win.”
Despite Mullins’ strong performance, most of the focus of the race was on the two title contenders: Whibley and Kailub Russell. Whibley came into the race with a three point lead in the standings, and on the final lap he looked like he might extend that lead considerably when he overtook Mullins to take the lead. However, the Am Pro Yamaha rider ran out of gas midway into the lap and finally finished fifth.
Russell was running back in fifth heading into the final lap, but moved up one spot when Whibley ran out of gas and then moved into a podium spot when he passed Chris Bach late in the lap.
Whibley’s Am Pro Yamaha teammate Jordan Ashburn finished sixth, with WMR’s Rory Mead in seventh, Japanese KTM rider Takeshi Koikeda eighth, Yamaha rider Adrian Smith in ninth and JG Off-road’s Jimmy Jarrett in 10th.
With only the series finale at Loretta Lynn’s left to go, Russell holds a one-point lead over Whibley, 291 to 290.