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Whibley Wins His Own Trophy By Accident


DECEMBER 8, 2015: Some people just can't help themselves.

Manawatu's Paul Whibley is one of those people - despite bending over backwards to ensure that he did not win the cross-country motorcycle series that he created at the start of the year, he was forced to accept the main trophy on Saturday.

You could say that the Yamaha ace won the inaugural NZXC cross-country series by accident.

"I didn't create the NZXC series to be something for me to win personally," said Whibley.

"I thought it would be bad form to win a competition of my own creation. I don't want to win this series and I did what I could to make sure I didn't win. I sat out of two of the five rounds and rode a Yamaha YZ125 in one round too, thinking the smaller bike would handicap me ... but I won the race that day too," he shrugged.

"I wanted to still ride a few races, just for the fun factor, but I didn't race the final round (near Pahiatua) on Saturday, thinking that one of the two riders who were closest behind me in the points, fellow Yamaha men Adrian Smith and Adam Reeves, would easily do enough to take out the series overall."

But Palmerston North's Reeves, a three-time former national cross-country champion, was a no-show on Saturday and Mokau's four-time former national cross-country champion Smith failed to finish the race, credited only with 58th place.

That meant that Whibley had earned more points in three rounds than many of the other riders had in five, and so the trophy went to the man who was actually providing it.

"I didn't even know I'd won until quite some time afterwards," said Whibley. "I was out riding on the track, taking down the marker arrows and tidying up at the end of the day and, when I rode back to the pits, I was told I'd won the series. It's a bit embarrassing really. I won it by accident, not by design. I'm still happy to win, but it certainly wasn't planned.

"The main thing is that the series was a success. The feedback from riders has been great. We had a good mix of terrain, co-sanctioning with several other parallel series that were going on around the country and everyone seemed very enthusiastic about it.

"There are a couple of things I'll work on to improve it for next season, but, on the whole, it has been a great success. I could not have done it without the help and support of points scorers John and Jane Rushworth, so I really want to thank them."

Saturday's senior two-hour race winner was Pahiatua's Charles Alabaster (Honda CRF450), while Otaki's Jake Wyman (Yamaha YZ125) won the 90-minute junior race held earlier in the day.

It would perhaps be some consolation for Smith that he did win his individual class for the series, taking the XC2 class trophy, while Wellington Husqvarna rider Jake Whitaker won the series in the XC1 category.

Overall junior winner for the series was Hamilton Yamaha rider Lachlan Bishop.

Whibley and the NZXC series were supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Sidi, Smith, G2, Asterisk, MotoSR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Darbi Accessories, GHQ, Freedom Moto, Rosscos Start Up Services, Works Connection, Pro Taper, Race Pace Services, Unabiker, Leatt Brace, Tire Balls,, CarbSport, KettleClamp, Alliance Offroad, Ride Eng MotoSeat, FMF, Kenda, Yamalube, CV4, GYTR, IMS, MSR, Rekluse, Ride Eng, Workshop Graphics.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,