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Whibley Leads Yamaha 1-2-3 At NZXC Round Two

Taikorea's Paul Whibley was in scintillating form at the weekend as he scored his second consecutive round win in the NZXC Cross-country Series.

Whibley led a Yamaha 1-2-3 in the Woodhill Forest, near Muriwai, on Sunday – the event doubling up also as round one of the popular Woodhill Two-Man Series – the 38-year-old Manawatu man taking his Yamaha YZ450FX to comfortably cross the finish line ahead of Titirangi's Callan May (Yamaha WR450F) and Cambridge's Ashton Grey (Yamaha WR250F).

Only solo riders were eligible for NZXC Series points and, although it was a gruelling three-hour race, the first half dozen finishers were all "ironman" solo riders.

Cambridge's Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna TE250) finished fourth on Sunday, with Hamilton's Sam Brown (KTM 250 XC-F) and Muriwai's Luke Mobberley (Yamaha YZ250) rounding out the top six.

The first of the two-rider teams was Raglan pair Jason Dickey and Brandon Given, finishing in seventh position overall.

"I was on the third row for the start on Sunday and, knowing that Callan (May) was just behind me on the fourth row, I had to push hard to ensure I have a good gap over him.

"I think I had a buffer of about three minutes when I started my final lap, but I still couldn't be sure that he wasn't catching me, so I continued to push."

With two rounds of the NZXC Series now complete and five rounds still to come, Whibley is in serious danger of winning his own competition, the NZXC Series a competition that he created two years ago as "something that would assist young riders to properly prepare themselves for similar competitions overseas".

To form the NZXC Series, Whibley has "cherry-picked" the best races from similar, parallel competitions and then stitched them together.

The opening round of the 2017 NZXC Series was raced in forestry near Tokoroa last month, that event held in conjunction with the first round of the parallel-but-separate Dirt Guide Series, and Whibley also won that day, on that occasion riding a 2013-model Yamaha YZ125 motocross bike.

"The NZXC Series is kind of my 'pet project', but I don't really want to win it myself," said Whibley.

"It's something I'd like to see grow for the benefit of future New Zealand champions."

Although he has now won rounds one and two, he said it was "not my intention to win my own series".

"I will not contest all of the seven rounds. This series has been created for others, not for my benefit."

Round three of the NZXC Series will be held near Tokoroa on July 9, with rounds to follow at Taikorea (August 20), Matata (October 14), Riverhead Forest (November 19) and, finally, Pahiatua (December 3).

Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Arai, TCX, Oakley, G2, Asterisk, MotoSR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Rossco's Start Up Services, Unabiker, Leatt Brace, Tire Balls, Renthal,, CarbSport, KettleClamp, Alliance Offroad, Ride Eng MotoSeat, FMF, Michelin, Yamalube CV4 GYTR, IMS, Rekluse, Workshop Graphics, and O'Neal.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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