Mullins Again at OMA Nationals

Mark Kariya | May 5, 2008

Team FMF/Suzuki Off-road didn’t sweep the Sidi Indian Bluff Cross-country, round two of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals at the Royal ATV Trails park near Millerstown, Kentucky.

But like round one, Charlie Mullins led teammate Paul Whibley to a Suzuki 1-2 on a tight, technical course made even more demanding by a storm two days before. They finished 50 seconds apart, with Mullins on his Maxima/Dunlop/THOR-sponsored RM250 completing six grueling laps in two hours, 28 minutes and seven seconds over Whibley and his DP Brakes/Zip-Ty Racing/Moose RM-Z450.

This time, Brian Garrahan—an early challenger for the lead—broke the Suzuki podium stranglehold with his third-place finish in 2:32:47 aboard his Valli Construction/Maxxis/Answer YZ250F.

Mullins got it started by stealing the $200 Vemar Helmets Holeshot Award in the event co-sanctioned with the local Kentucky Off-road Hare Scrambles circuit, but Garrahan badgered him enough that Mullins yielded on the first lap. “He was picking really good lines so I just followed him,” Mullins said. “I think I got around him [on] the second lap and made it stick and tried to pull away.”

After that, Mullins stayed in front and largely out of trouble until the fifth lap when he got stuck momentarily in a mud hole. By that time, Whibley owned second spot and closed ground, but when Mullins turned around and spotted him on the grass track section, the eventual winner clicked it up a notch and put more distance on his teammate.

Whibley had to work his way up after falling a couple times on the opening lap and having to fight through armpump due to riding with muddy gloves. Once he exchanged those for fresh gloves, he began to flow and eventually made it up into second place. “It was kind of fun; it was kind of pretty tight and hard work,” he acknowledged.

Garrahan also had his problems in the early going, though at least they took place in full view of pit row for the entertainment of many. When he came through pit row leading the first time around, he spun out on the new bike he dubbed “The Karate Kid,” but he held on, completed a 360 and jumped back on board. The next time around, he hooked a length of course ribbon on his boot and towed that to the scoring chute where workers there pulled the tangled mess so hard, they pulled Garrahan off his bike. “We had an adventurous ride today,” he noted of his third-place finish in 2:32:47.

Several spills slowed four-time and defending series champ Jimmy Jarrett and he settled for fourth on his Works Connection/Driven/Sidi RM250 in 2:37:17 while Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer found the enduro-clone course to his liking as he took fifth in 2:38:53 on his Pirelli/Castrol/Moose FE 450e.

Local favorite Alan Westerfield pulled off a well-deserved sixth on his KTM 250 XC, passing Suzuki’s Josh Strang on the final lap. Adam Bonneur claimed eighth on his YZ250 ahead of KX450F-mounted Brett Zofchak and Aaron Wegner on another YZ250.

But the day definitely belonged to Mullins, who declared, “It feels good to win two in a row.” He’ll go for three when the series resumes in three weeks in his home state of Ohio.

Mark Kariya | Contributor

Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.