The battle for the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Championship between Paul Whibley and Kailub Russell came down to the final round and when all was said and done, Whibley, on the Am-Pro Yamaha, emerged victorious to claim his second GNCC title of his career, his first coming in 2009.
FMF KTM’s Russell held a one-point advantage over Whibley going into the final race of the year at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, November 3,which basically meant that whoever finished ahead of the other would take the crown.
Paul Whibley captured the 2012 GNCC title.
Whibley got off to a fast start and jumped into the lead, while Russell tangled with another rider putting him deep in the pack, pretty much sealing his fate. While Whibley cruised up front, Russell had to work his way up through the pack. The KTM rider eventually got into second place, but the damage was already done.
Whibley went on to take the win, while Russell finished second. Only four points separated the two riders for the championship.
“I can’t really compare this championship to the last one in 2009, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into back then,” Whibley said. “To win the championship it was a dream come true and then to get it taken away the next year consumes you and all you want is that number-one plate back. So to finally get there, it’s awesome. It’s hard to put into words the feelings and emotions and what we’ve been through to get here and hold this number one plate again.”
For the second time in his rookie season, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn finished on the podium in third place, while Shenandoah Honda/Offroadchampions.com Thad DuVall took fourth.
KTM rider Takeshi Koikeda rounded out the top five.
Rory Mead claimed the XC2 Championship.
Rory Mead (KTM) finished out the season in third, followed by DuVall and FMF/KTM’s Charlie Mullins.
The XC2-class Championship also came down to the wire, with KTM riders Steward Baylor Jr. and Jason Thomas going into the final separated by just one point. F.A.R Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong would score the wire-to-wire victory, but a second-place finish gave Thomas the class championship.
Baylor, who was bothered by a previous collarbone injury, started off in 17th and eventually worked his way up to fourth, behind DeLong, Thomas and Obermeyer Yamaha/Raines Riding University/Offroadviking.com’s Jedediah Haines.
DeLong, who missed some of the earlier rounds because of an injury, finished out the season in third, while Haines ended up fourth.