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Whibley Wins Final Round Of Central XC Series

 It's been a busy season for Taikorea's Paul Whibley, especially for a man who is now describes himself as retired.

The 38-year-old former Manawatu forestry worker, affectionately dubbed “The Axeman” on the motorcycling scene, has raced in the United States this season and at home in New Zealand too, juggling his time between being a dad, running his dirt bike park at Himatangi and working as a rider fitness trainer.

The two-time former outright winner of the Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC) in the United States (in 2009 and 2012) and a record six-time winner of the parallel Off-Road Motorcycle and ATV (OMA) series as well, he has been settled back in New Zealand since 2014, before clinching the New Zealand Cross-country Championship title in 2015.

He races only occasionally these days, but retirement is not really something that sits well with the "racing addict" and he just can't help himself but to get out on a race track whenever the opportunity arises.

And so it was possibly no surprise that he turned up to race the fifth and final round of the Central Cross Country series at a slippery and wet Tinui, near Masterton, on Sunday, eventually taking a comfortable win on his Yamaha YZ450FX.

"Conditions had dampened down the enthusiasm of many, but the sun did keep making brief appearances between light rain," he explained.

"We were lined up in rows of five and set off in waves since a suitable start paddock was not available. This system worked well. I was on the front row with fellow Yamaha rider Adrian Smith.

"I got a good jump on the FX and led the way. I think we all had a hairy moment in the first turn just over a blind brow. The unexpected left turn was littered with ruts. I managed to swap my way through but I think others had problems and missed the turn or went down.

"I was able to complete the lap safely and push out to an early lead.

"Although the track was incredibly slick in a lot of places I only had one tip over and extended my lead with consistent laps.

At the end of the fourth lap I came in for gas and goggles. Set for the final stretch I was able to put in some good laps. The Yamaha 450FX was working perfectly with the MotoSR suspension and Carbsport helped me to muscle the bike through the slop.

"After two hours on the clock, I took the win. It turned out to be a pretty fun day with the track getting better as the day went."

Runner-up was Masterton's Jacob Hyslop, with Eketahuna's Daniel Christie claiming third place.

Mokau's Smith finished fourth on Sunday and this was enough for him to claim the series win outright, while fellow Yamaha man Allan Gannon, from Masterton, rounded out the top five.             

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, Bikesportnz.com, CarbSport, KettleClamp, Alliance Offroad, Ride Eng MotoSeat, FMF, Michelin, Yamalube CV4  GYTR, IMS, Rekluse, Workshop Graphics, Silverbullet.co.nz and O'Neal.

Credits: 
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

Bike Torque Taumarunui

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PO Box 324
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Telephone: (07) 895 7994
Email: bike.torque@xtra.co.nz

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Bike Torque are stockist of Yamaha new bikes in Taumarunui. We have earned Yamaha New Zealand's No.1 Rhino dealer several times. Bike Torque Taumarunui was opened and established by Russell Josiah in 1986, so with over 30 years serving the King Country region you can trust our experience in the motorbike industry.

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