GEICO/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki’s Paul Whibley was back for another win as he led almost wire-to-wire at Round Six of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series in Lafayette, Tennessee followed by teammate Jimmy Jarrett in second and FMF Makita Suzuki’s Charlie Mullins in third in an intense two-hour race. Whibley is now the points leader.
“I’m pretty happy with the points race,” Whibley said. “But there is still a long way to go in the series.”
Continuing rain showers in the area had left the track even muddier than the ATV race the day prior, making the course even more challenging for the riders.
With mud flying high in the air, Jarrett was first off the line, grabbing the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot award. Going into the woods, Jarrett, Whibley and FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang kept together through the deep mud of the tough Tennessee track. At first, the three battled neck and neck, changing in and out of positions. Am-Pro FMF Yamaha’s Jason Raines was in a close fourth and slowly moved up to become a hard contender. Strang, who won the last three rounds, began to falter through the mud going into the third lap and Raines moved ahead.
Am-Pro FMF Yamaha’s Thad DuVall was last off the line and well behind the leaders until the third lap but moved ahead to catch up with the top three. DuVall looked like he had a good chance to get on the podium but caught another unlucky break when his chain broke. Strang fell further behind and his teammate, Mullins, who had been behind in the pack, began picking up his pace. Raines crashed hard with Kurt Casselli going into the final lap and was unable to recover. Mullins began to take his chances and steadily moved ahead to get into the top three.
“I really struggled those first laps,” Mullins said. “I was angry because I wanted to win so I guess riding angry helped me in the end. I was really comfortable those last few laps.”
The last lap of the race, Whibley increased his lead to come in a good distance ahead of Jarrett who came in second and almost two minutes ahead of Mullins, who came in third.
“I’m happy to be up here,” Jarrett said. “I would have liked to have won it but there’s still more to come. There’s still work to do.”
Strang held on to come in fourth ahead of Yamaha’s Barry Hawk. Shock Doctor KTM’s Kurt Casselli came in sixth after crashing with Raines, who came in seventh followed by Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney in eighth. Duvall and Husaberg’s Jesse Robinson finished out the top ten.
The XC2 class once again charged hard to put the pressure on the pro riders. Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell put up a hard battle to come in third overall in all classes and first overall in the Pro-Lites class.
Russell fired off the starting line and got the $100 Cometic Holeshot Award and quickly raced into the woods.
“It was an all out sprint to the first corner,” Russell said.
Monster Energy/Fred Andrew’s Yamaha’s Jason Thomas and Geico/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki’s Scotty Watkins joined Russell in leading the class in the woods. Thomas moved up to lead the riders through the first lap. Watkins, Thomas and Russell traded in and out of the lead until Russell began a hard charge to take the lead back. Shock Doctor KTM’s Cory Buttrick began a late charge to catch up with the leaders. Russell was able to keep his lead and finish with another first place finish for the season.
“I can be a mud rider when I want to be,” Russell said. “It’s all mental. It was a good race.”
Jarrett took home an extra $250 with the MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot award.
Watkins came in second followed by Buttrick in third.
“It was definitely tough,” Watkins, who came in fifth overall, said. “On a day like today, I was running as hard as I could and second is ok.”
Buttrick said he was happy to catch up with a few of the XC1 riders in the woods again.
“I was trying to go as fast as I could and not make mistakes,” Buttrick said. “It was pretty tough out there.”
Thomas finished fourth, followed by Jake Korn in fifth. Robert Santheson on a KTM came in sixth followed by Monster Energy/Fred Andrew’s Yamaha’s Josh Weisenfels in seventh. Brian Lawson came in eighth and Andrew Matusek and Eric Bailey rounded out the top ten.
Top Amateur Honors went to Levi Clemens in the 4 Stroke A class.
In the AM Race, Corey MacDonald took first followed by JT Bennett in second and Randall Riggs in third. Hix Hagan took the $100 Coppersmith Holeshot Award.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues on May 16 -17 with the Geico Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, Pennsylvania. For more information on the series, and complete results from the Acerbis Loretta Lynn’s GNCC, visit www.gnccracing.com.
1. Paul Whibley (KAW)
2. Jim Jarrett (KAW)
3. Charles Mullins (SUZ)
4. Josh Strang (SUZ)
5. Barry Hawk (YAM)
6. Kurt Casselli (KTM)Josh
7. Jason Raines (YAM)
8. Glenn Kearney (HSQ)
9. Thad DuVall (YAM)
10. Jesse Robinson (HSB)
1. Kailub Russell
2. Scott Watkins
3. Cory Buttrick
4. Jason Thomas
5. Jake Korn
6. Robert Santheson
7. Josh Weisenfels
8. Brian Lawson
9. Andrew Matusek
10. Eric Bailey