“I set my own pace and came into the lead,” Paul Whibley said. “I was pushing hard at the end. There were so many lines down there it was hard to tell which were the fastest ones. I really want to win this year. It would be nice to win it.”
Rain the day prior made the track a battlefield of deep ruts and mudholes, added in with the already challenging 15-foot creek jump. The bikes started on a grassy incline and Whibley quickly grabbed the $250 Motorcycle-USA.com holeshot award. But Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney quickly edged in front around the second turn to take the lead. By the creek jump, Whibley had moved into first place but Kearney stayed close behind, followed by Strang and Mullins. Whibley’s teammate Jimmy Jarrett, Jason Raines and Nate Kanney followed close behind. By the third lap though, Whibley began to move away from the field with Strang 50 seconds behind in second and Kearney in third.
Strang knew he needed to top Whibley in order to close the series point standings back up. He put in a charge and made up time, and by the white flag he had cut his margin in half, to 25 seconds. Mullins followed a few minutes behind, after passing Kearney.
“It took me a couple of laps to get going,” Strang said. “But I got going and put my head down.”
But Strang ran out of time as Whibley finished about 20 seconds in front of him. “It’s hard feeling like I’m the faster rider out there, but I keep making little mistakes here and there,” Strang said. “Second place is good but not where I need to be.”
Mullins finished in third,minutes behind.
“I felt like I rode well,” Mullins said. “It is good to get third but I really wanted a win. I felt like I rode well.”
Kanney moved up to finish fourth, followed by Kearney in fifth. Hawk finished sixth in front of Jim Jarrett in seventh. Kenny Gilbert, Husaberg‘s Jesse Robinson and Jason Davis rounded out the top ten.
In XC2 action, Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell clinched his first professional championship after finishing first in front of teammate Cory Buttrick and GEICO/JG Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Scotty Watkins.
Russell took the $100 Cometic Holeshot Award but Buttrick passed him to take the lead early in the race. The GNCC 200 A Champion, Stewart Baylor, in his XC2 debut, moved easily into second, passing Russell who was in third. Buttrick and Baylor kept the lead but eventually Russell was able to move back past them.
“Steward rode really well,” Buttrick said. “The race started off well.”
Buttrick and Russell set a blistering pace for the rest of the XC2 race as they made their way into the top five overall positions on adjusted time. Buttrick and Russell were able to rub elbows physically on the track with many of the XC1 riders, passing up Hawk and Kanney at one point.
Russell held on to win, and was awarded with his number-one plate on the podium. Previous Champion Thad DuVall, who now races in the XC1 class, presented him with the award.
“It feels pretty good,” Kailub Russell said. “It was a good year. There were a few races I could check out but most of these races these guys kept me in check.”
Buttrick finished in second followed by Watkins.
Chris Bach took the Top Amateur Award and topped the Open A class.
In the morning race, 4-Stroke C Lites rider Justin Sode took first, followed by Brandon Bollinger in second and Tyler Macdonald in third. Sode also collected the Coppersmith Suspension Amateur Holeshot Award.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues next weekend with the ITP Tires Power Line Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Whibley has an opportunity to lock up the GNCC Title at that race, putting pressure on Strang and Mullins to finish ahead of him and keep their championship hopes alive for the final GNCC round, the Klotz Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on October 24-25.
1. Paul Whibley (KAW)
2. Josh Strang (SUZ)
3. Charlie Mullins (SUZ)
4. Nathan Kanney (KTM)
5. Glenn Kearney (HSQ)
6. Barry Hawk (YAM)
7. Jim Jarrett (KAW)
8. Kenneth Gilbert (KAW)
9. Jesse Robinson (HSB)
10. Jason Davis (KTM)
2. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
3. Scotty Watkins (KAW)
4. Josh Weisenfels (YAM)
5.Jason Thomas (YAM)
6. Jake Korn (KTM)
7. Eric Bailey (118)
8. Brian Lawson (YAM)
9. David Snyder (YAM)
10. Bob Santheson (KAW)