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Whibley Makes It Two From Two


APRIL 14, 2015: There was simply no stopping Pahiatua's Paul Whibley at the weekend.

Heavy rain leading up to the final round of the Central Cross Country Series near Eketahuna on Sunday had organisers scrambling to reroute parts of the track to make sure everyone could actually ride the course, not that two-time former American cross-country champion Whibley would have been expected to struggle with the conditions.

And so it proved, with the Yamaha ace from Pahiatua running away to a convincing win on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Whibley, now resettled back in New Zealand after a 12-year international racing career, therefore made it two wins from two starts in the five-round series.

Palmerston North's Charles Alabaster won the series, his 1-1-1-2-4 score-card easily enough for him to take the overall series trophy ahead of Eketahuna's Daniel Christie and Stratford Yamaha rider Karl Roberts.

But this final round of the series on Sunday belonged to Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F).

"I got away well from the Le Mans-style start and quickly moved into the lead," said Whibley.

"The trail led down a gravel creek bed before we turned out and weaved our way along some flowing, bulldozed tracks. A short run along a ridge top reminded the riders just how strong the wind was, but before you knew it, we dropped back down into the gulley and towards the scoring zone.

"Daniel Christie kept me in sight for the first shortened lap but, after the pits, we ran through the gorge and the pine section, where I started to edge away.

"The pine trees were pretty slick the first time through, but, after getting stirred up, the soil got better and better. The gorge also benefited from a few bikes powering through, with a line forming through the loose rocks and everyone's confidence grew with the realisation that the wall-to-wall water section was not that deep.

"I managed to pull clear of Daniel and run my own race out front. I really enjoyed the track with a balanced mix of bush, pines and farmland."

Masterton's Jacob Hyslop held on to finish third, ahead of series champion Alabaster.

In the junior class, Marton's Josh Pilet won the series outright, finishing ahead of Kotemaori's Reece Lister, who was a no-show on Sunday because he was instead racing at the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships at Te Kuiti. Third overall in the junior grade was Chris Dickson.

A total of 60 juniors and 150 seniors took part in the series.

The final prize-giving saw 34 trophies handed out, including product prizes for every entrant and a spit roast pig and lamb meal for all.

Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Freedom Moto Yamaha, Monster Energy, Shoei, Sidi, Smith, MSR G2, Asterisk, Moto SR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Spectro, Acerbis, DID, JT sprockets, Leatt, Kenda, Yamaha NZ,, Unibiker and Tire balls.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,