Paul Whibley claimed a spectacular win at the Amsoil Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana – the 13th and final round of the 2010 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series.
The win was Whibley’s second in a row and it was witnessed by over 10,500 spectators; the largest crowd to attend a GNCC in recent times.
The Am Pro/FMF/Yamaha-backed Whibley was pressured late in the race by newly crowned XC1 champ Josh Strang, but in the end the cards fell in Whibley’s direction and the New Zealander went home with the checkers and the check.
“This was a really good way to finish off the year and it’s good momentum for next season,” said Whibley. “It will give me confidence and good motivation over the break.”
Whibley led most of the three-hour race, but it was newly crowned XC2 champion Kailub Russell who kicked off the race by grabbing the $250 MotorcyceUSA.com Holeshot Award on his FMF/KTM. Since he had wrapped up the XC2 title at the previous round in Ohio, Russell decided to jump to the XC1 class for the Ironman, and he led Whibley and FMF/KTM’s Cory Buttrick into the woods to start the opening lap. Russell’s day was short lived, however, after he drowned out in a waterhole on the opening lap, leaving Whibley with clear sailing for the rest of the lap.
Due to the extreme drought that Indiana has experienced over the summer, dust played a factor in this year’s race, as a few top riders, including Strang, suffered problems due to clogged air filters. Strang closed in on Whibley at the midway point of the race, and he took the lead in one of the fastest areas on the track. However, Strang’s bike started to sputter shortly afterwards, and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider limped in for an eventual 11th.
Obermeyer/Am Pro/FMF Yamaha’s Charlie Mullins suffered a similar fate after running as his as second at one point.
Second overall went to Am Pro/FMF/Yamaha’s Thad DuVall, who held off a late charge by third place finisher Chris Bach.
DuVall came into the race wanting to get a win, however, he lost at least a minute to the pack when he got stuck on one of the event’s gnarly uphill climbs, which severely hurt his chances.
“I knew I blew a chance at the win when I got stuck, but I just kept my head down and charged,” said DuVall. “I got a second wind on that final lap and I saw Bach was coming so I picked it up and was able to get second.”
After getting off to a mid-pack start, Bach worked his way steadily to the front and was able to come away with third on his Clockwork/Ride PG-backed KTM with a strong push on the final lap. “It was sketchy out there,” said the Indiana native. “But all in all it was a good day. It’s good to get up on the podium, I was worried there for a while I wasn’t going to get on the box for my hometown people, but I dug down deep and got it done.”
Glenn Kearney blew the start, as well, but managed to find has way into fourth by the end of the race. The factory Husqvarna rider crashed on the first lap and got mud on his gloves, but picked up the pace in the late stages of the race.
“My bike didn’t start on the first kick, so I was about 10th going into the woods,” said Kearney. “It was tough to see that far back, but we got to a muddy place and I thought I might be able to make a few passes but I ended up crashing. I struggled for the first couple of laps trying to get things sorted, but I started rolling pretty good after that.”
Meanwhile, fifth went to Buttrick, who heads to Mexico this week for the ISDE. “I got off to a decent start, but on one of the big hills I hit a root at the top of it and the bike slid out on me,” said the first year XC1 rider. “It was a tough day, but I’ll figure this stuff out. This is the type of terrain I need to work on.”
In the XC2 class, Monster Energy Andrews Cycles’ Jason Thomas claimed his third win of the year, beating out KTM rider Jesse Robinson by just under a minute. “I wanted to go out with a win and I could see Jesse back there and I kept crashing but I just kept going and I’m happy I could get the win,” said Thomas. “I was dead last off the start but I just rode smart and I was able to work to the front and finally catch up to Jesse.”
Robinson, who was sick with a cold on the morning of the race, led during the early going, but couldn’t hold off Thomas’s late charge. “Once I got in the lead I put my head down but when I would charge I would start coughing, so I was never able to ride like I wanted to ride,” said Robinson.
Steward Baylor Jr. rounded out the XC2 podium on his KTM, despite also suffering from a clogged filter.
“I was getting off the bike and pushing up the big hills because I didn’t have any power,” said Baylor. “Then, I hit a big kicker out in the field and went end over end, so it wasn’t my best day.”
2010 Amsoil Ironman GNCC Results:
1. Paul Whibley (Yamaha)
2. Thad DuVall (Yamaha)
3. Chris Bach (KTM)
4. Glenn Kearney (Husaberg)
5. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
6. Jimmy Jarrett (Kawasaki)
7. Jarrod Bewley (KTM)
8. Justin Williamson (Kawasaki)
9. Kenneth Gilbert (Kawasaki)
10. Eric Bailey (Kawasaki)
1. Jason Thomas (Husaberg)
2. Jesse Robinson (KTM)
3. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
4. Ted Mullins (Yamaha)
5. Morgan Moss (Yamaha)
6. John Maschino (Yamaha)
7. Brian Maschino (Yamaha)
8. Gregory Funk (Kawasaki)
9. Cody Gragg (Yamaha)
10. Daniel Sims (Yamaha)