Whibley To Fill In For Ricky Russell At Palatka GNCC
The 2019 Grand National Cross Country Championship gets underway this Sunday, March 10, and the AmPro Yamaha Racing Team will be without one of its star riders, Ricky Russell. But former champ Paul Whibley will fill in for Ricky Russell at the Palatka GNCC.
AmPro Yamaha Prepares For Palatka GNCC opener
Russell suffered a spiral fibula fracture, March 1, while practicing in Florida. He will be out of action for an estimated six to eight weeks. The team’s trainer, two-time GNCC champ Paul Whibley will fill in for Russell in the XC1 class aboard a Yamaha YZ450FX.
“I’m really disappointed to be missing the first race of the year,” said Russell. “We had my Yamaha YZ450FX dialed in and I’ve never felt so confident heading into a race season. As of now, I just have to deal with it and see how the healing goes.”
“I’m pretty excited to be back on the front line,” said Whibley. “I feel extremely privileged to be given the role of filling in for the weekend, but I’m definitely bummed to see Ricky hurt. As his trainer, he was 100 percent ready to go for this race but that’s how it goes. We’re going to have a fun time in the sand and I’m pumped to see all the GNCC race fans and bLU cRU riders.”
Whibley Filling In For Russell
The team has also recruited former off-road champ Corey Buttrick. Buttrick was a rising star on the GNCC race circuit but a series of injuries forced his resignation in 2013. In 2018, he made his return to the series as a privateer and impressively finished in the top 10 overall.
“I’m unbelievably excited for this opportunity,” says Buttrick. “The last couple years have had their highs and lows but with the recent birth our son and becoming a father, I’m more focused then I’ve ever been. I’ve known everyone on the AmPro Team including Randy since I was a kid and this really is an awesome program to be joining on a professional level.”
Buttrick Returns To AmPro Yamaha
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger, the 2018AMA 250cc Motocross Champion, will act as the races’ grand marshall. Plessinger is a former GNCC racer and is the son of hare scrambles champion Scott Plessinger.