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Whibley Wins John Penton GNCC

4 years ago

Paul Whibley is well known for having an intense training program and an even tougher mental game, making the physically demanding conditions of this year’s Wiseco John Penton GNCC seem effortless for the 2009 champ. Whibley powered through the scorching temperatures to secure his third XC1 Pro Class victory and extend his lead to 6 points over Kailub Russell as Round 9 of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series wrapped up in Millfield, Ohio.

Whibley put his Yamaha YZ-450F to work right away, taking the holeshot and claiming an early lead. With only a one-point margin heading into this round, KTM’s Kailub Russell settled in right behind Whibley on the opening lap, hoping to catch pace of the leader early on. However, WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead had other plans, putting himself between Whibley and Russell by Lap 2 and continued to pull a gap on Russell as the race wore on. Russell and Mead came into the motocross section of the course neck-and-neck, with Russell entering the woods in the second place position, putting the pass on Mead. “Kailub and I had a pretty good battle going there and I sort of let him go as we left the motocross track because I felt like he had a quicker pace than I did at the time,” Mead said.

As the white flag came out, Whibley turned it up a notch and increased the gap to second place by nearly two-minutes, which is where Russell finished after six laps of racing. “I’ve been training pretty hard for hot days like this and I think it’s really paying off for me this season,” Whibley said. “I’m really happy with the win today and I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off here when we get to Unadilla in September.”

2010 GNCC champ Josh Strang made his return to GNCC, finishing just outside the top five in the XC1 Class. Strang grabbed a mid-pack start and eventually made his way through the pack to settle in behind Chris Bach and Thad DuVall, who claimed fourth and fifth respectively.

Perhaps the most intense battle of the afternoon came in the XC2 Pro Lites battle between KR4 Performance’s Jason Thomas and F.A.R. Husky’s Andrew DeLong. The former teammates switched the lead back and forth throughout the entire three-hour race, keeping within seconds of one another until the final lap where DeLong put around 25 seconds on Thomas just before the finish. KTM support rider Steward Baylor Jr. didn’t get a front-of-the-pack start but eventually made his way into the third place position, where he chased after Thomas and DeLong for a majority of the race. Thomas and DeLong set a pretty fast lead pace in the XC2 division and eventually pushed their way into the top five overall.

FMF/KTM’s Maria Forsberg clinched the 2012 Women’s Class Championship at The John Penton after taking her ninth straight victory this season. This title marks the third consecutive GNCC championship for Forsberg.

The series now takes a summer break until September 15 and 16, returning with the Unadilla GNCC.

XC1 Pro Results:

1. Paul Whibley (YAM)
2. Kailub Russell (KTM)
3. Rory Mead (KTM)
4. Chris Bach (YAM)
5. Thad DuVall (HON)
6. Josh Strang (KTM)
7. Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
8. Nathan Kanney (HON)
9. Garrett Edmisten (KAW)
10. Mark Fortner (BET)

XC2 Pro Lites Results:

1. Andrew DeLong (HSQ)
2. Jason Thomas (KTM)
3. Steward Baylor (KTM)
4. Jedediah Haines (YAM)
5. Nick Davis (HSQ)
6. AJ Stewart (YAM)
7. Brad Bakken (YAM)
8. Ryan Lojak (YAM)
9. Ricky Mair (KTM)
10. Michael Mcginnis (KTM)

XC1 Pro Standings:

1. Paul Whibley (228/3 wins)
2. Kailub Russell (222/4 wins)
3. Rory Mead (177/2 wins)
4. Thad DuVall (138)
5. Jordan Ashburn (132)
6. Charlie Mullins (129)
7. Chris Bach (123)
8. Garrett Edmisten (116)
9. Nathan Kanney (101)
10. Takeshi Koikeda (100)

XC2 Pro Lites Standings:

1. Steward Baylor Jr. (200/5 wins)
2. Jason Thomas (188/1 win)
3. Andrew DeLong (172/3 wins)
4. Jesse Robinson (155)
5. Jedediah Haines (153)
6. Brad Bakken (130)
7. AJ Stewart (107)
8. Cody Gragg (91)
9. Scott Grills (87)
10. Zach Nolan (84)

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