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GNCC – NZ’s Paul Whibley finishes second at the Limestone 100

3 years ago

New Zealand’s Paul Whibley finished up second at Round 6 of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) at the Dunlop Limestone 100 – the second new stop on the year’s 13-round schedule.

Factory KTM’s Kailub Russell put in another flawless ride to take victory of the day while Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong put a buzz throughout the pits as he put himself into contention for the overall lead from the XC2 class, giving Steward Baylor the most competition he’s seen all season long.

The southern Indiana terrain hosted a slick set of trails with plenty of rocks and tree roots, which made for a gruelling three-hour battle through the woods of the Lawrence County Recreational Park. Paul Whibley grabbed yet another one of his seemingly patented $250 Motosport.com Holeshots. Factory FMF/KTM’s Charlie Mullins and JG Offroad/American Honda’s Jimmy Jarrett set in just behind Whibley on the opening lap, but it didn’t take long for the defending champ to move into the lead position. Mullins showed every indication that he was ready to take his first win of the year as he battled hard with Russell and Whibley early on, but a little bad luck plagued the defending champ and he was eventually forced to pull off the track in order to fix his bike. Although Mullins missed a lap, his crew was able to put the bike back on the track and Mullins finished the race with a few points.

Kailub Russell and Paul Whibley are tied for points.

Meanwhile, Andrew DeLong headed the XC2 trio that was rapidly approaching the overall lead on adjusted time each lap. Steward Baylor Jr. has a history of dominating the XC2 field and occasionally holding the overall lead at times, but F.A.R Husqvarna’s DeLong left Baylor very little room for error this time. Baylor ran into bike issues while battling with DeLong in the final stretch and things only got worse for Baylor when he crashed on the final lap and lost all hope of maintaining a perfect record in the XC2 class this season. DeLong picked up the pace even more and got within five seconds of Russell’s overall lead time, but Russell claims, “I had a feeling that I was riding good enough to take the overall win but I’ll definitely have to pick my pace up a little to make sure those XC2 guys stay back.” DeLong wasn’t able to best Russell for the overall win, but the rookie landed second place overall and his first XC2 class win this season.

DeLong says he wasn’t necessarily focusing on the overall win. “I was just focusing on not making mistakes out there,” DeLong said. “It wasn’t about who was the fastest, it was about who was the smoothest and made the least mistakes.”

Kailub Russell’s fourth victory brought him to the top of the overall point standings, where he is now tied with Whibley at 147 points. Mullins sits within striking distance of the leaders as he still awaits his first win of the season. Round 5 winner Rory Mead finished sixth in his class after experiencing a dramatic week of last-minute travel to his home country of New Zealand. Mead still holds fourth overall in the standings, ahead of DuVall’s consistent string of finishes this season.

XC1 Pro Results:

1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
2. Paul Whibley (YAM)
3. Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
4. Thad DuVall (HON)
5. Chris Bach (YAM)
6. Rory Mead (KTM)
7. Takeshi Koikeda (KTM)
8. Garrett Edmisten (KAW)
9. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
10. Steven Squire (KTM)

XC1 Pro Standings:

1. Kailub Russell (147/4 wins)
2. Paul Whibley (147/1 win)
3. Charlie Mullins (121)
4. Rory Mead (105) (1/win)
5. Thad DuVall (97)
6. Jordan Ashburn (89)
7. Chris Bach (79)
8. Garrett Edmisten (78)
9. Cory Buttrick (77)
10. Nathan Kanney (65)

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