Monster Energy Athlete Paul Whibley was a strong second at round three of the OMA series in Bedford, Indiana. The Am Pro Yamaha rider is finally back to full strength, having been hampered recently by a broken hand, and the Indiana race was his first competition without having to deal with pain and weakness.
The last few races have been a struggle for Whibley, since breaking his hand in a practice accident a few weeks ago, so the Indiana OMA was a good opportunity for the Kiwi off-road star to get back on the podium and show that he belongs running at the front of the pack.
There was no surprise at the drop of the flag, as Whibley grabbed the holeshot to start the race, leading the first few laps ahead of KTM factory rider Kailub Russell.
After several laps around the relatively short course, which featured plenty of off-cambers and ravines, Whibley pitted for fuel. Russell managed to make it one more lap before pitting and at that point the KTM rider took over the lead, as Whibley rejoined the race in the runner-up position.
Further back, series points leader Russell Bobbitt battled with Jordan Ashburn and Nick Fahringer, however, this group was some 40 seconds back from the Whibley-Russell battle.
Whibley stayed within striking distance of Russell for the next few laps, but with two laps to go, Whibs went down on a slippery rock and lost contact with the leader. From there, he maintained his position and finished out the race in second place behind Russell.
Bobbitt was third, with Ashburn and Fahringer rounding out the top five.
“This was a good race for me, an improvement over the last few rounds,” said Whibley. “My hand felt good and I was able to ride strong all race. The course was quite short and when I pitted, Russell was able to make another lap and that allowed him to get the lead ahead of me. I was able to keep him in sight, but then I went down and lost touch with him, so I just brought it in for second.”
Whibley’s next race is May 19, in Indiana, for round six of the Grand National Cross Country Series.
1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
2. Paul Whibley (Monster Energy Yamaha)
3. Russell Bobbitt (Hsb)
4. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
5. Nick Fahringer (Hsb)