Building on the momentum he established last weekend, Monster Energy Athlete Paul Whibley claimed a decisive win at round two of the Bush Riders Cross Country Series in New Zealand, just outside of Dannevirke.
As per his M.O., the Ax Man grabbed another holeshot, pocketing the holeshot bounty put up by Waitawhiti Perendales. "Some nice bulldozed tracks led us around the edge of a creek early in the lap before we got into some of the more open farmland," was Whibley's assertion of the start of the race.
Behind Whibley came fellow Kiwis Ben Exeter and Callan May, who kept the Am Pro Yamaha rider honest during the course of the opening lap. Exeter was still within striking distance at the end of lap one, which finished in a pine tree section before funneling down into the scoring chicane and pits area, so the Ax Man upped his pace in an effort to put some distance on him.
A few sections of the course were starting to get nasty and some bikes were getting stuck in one bog near the end of the lap and the creek crossing got deeper as the race progressed. However, after three laps, Whibley was safely in and out of the pits as Grant Christie lent Katherine a hand with the refueling drill. Back on course, Whibs pulled clear of the chasing riders and was back on track before they came into sight.
Parts of the course were getting quite nasty and Whibley turned in three more cautious laps before the checkered flag came out.
"The creek crossing got pretty tough with bikes stuck in the ruts that climbed out the far bank and seeing a bike endo as it dropped in, a careful approach was taken," said Whibley.
So, another race win and a feather in the cap for Whibs as he continues his off-season training in preparation for the upcoming return to the U.S. to defend his GNCC and OMA titles.
The plan now is for Whibs and Katherine to return to the States on Feb 3rd to get setup and start preparing for the first race of the year, round 1 of the OMA series on February 23-24 at Tuscumbia, Alabama. After that, it's off to Florida for the opening round of the GNCC series at River Ranch, Florida.
1st: Paul Whibley
2nd: Ben Exeter
3rd: Charles Alabaster