Monster Energy Athlete Paul Whibley was a solid fifth at this weekend’s wet and muddy Mammoth GNCC in Park City, Kentucky.
Three straight days of rain left the south central Kentucky area overly saturated, and more rain on the day of the race meant extremely wet and muddy trail, which forced the promoters to shorten the XC1 race to two hours and combine the morning entries. With over 400 riders racing the same trail, the course soon became deeply rutted and nearly impassable. In fact, less than 15 riders were able to finish all five laps of the race. However, Whibley managed to carry on, despite still riding with a sore hand. A testament to his perseverance!
“That’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Whibley. “The mud was so bad that after a while you couldn’t tell one rider from another.”
Not getting his usual holeshot, Whibley fell into third after the start of the race and then dropped to fifth after the first mud hole.
“People were getting stuck all over the place and it was a miracle just getting through,” added Whibley.
At this point, Whibs realized it was going to be a battle of survival and tried to settle into a steady pace for the remainder of the race. In the meantime, both of the series points leaders, Charlie Mullins and Kailub Russell, each dropped out of the race due to mechanical problems caused by the mud.
Out front, eventual winner Thad DuVall and Josh Strang carried on a battle for the lead, while Mullins, Jordan Ashburn, Chris Bach and Whibley battled for third.
On lap four, Mullins watered out of the race, leaving DuVall, Strang, Bach, Ashburn and Whibley in the top five.
At the finish, DuVall claimed his first-ever win, with Strang second ahead of Bach, Ashburn and Whibs.
“It was a tough race,” said Whibley. “It was tough just getting through each lap, and I felt like I did a good job of staying with it. Fortunately, I gained some ground on the points leaders, so that’s a good thing.”
With five races in the books, Whibley sits in sixth overall in the series points standings with eight rounds left to go.
“We’ll go home, get things cleaned up and get ready for the OMA this coming weekend,” said Whibley.
Whibley’s next race is May 12, in Bedford, Indiana, for round three of the OMA National Series.
1. Thad DuVall (Hon)
2. Josh Strang (Kaw)
3. Chris Bach (Yam)
4. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
5. Paul Whibley (Monster Energy Yamaha)