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Kiwi Yamaha Riders Still Plugging Away

Kiwi Yamaha Riders Still Plugging Away

SEPTEMBER 23, 2014: Pahiatua’s Paul Whibley and Titirangi’s Callan May continue to battle for glory near the front of the pack as the Grand National Cross-country Championships in the United States head towards a conclusion.

The two Yamaha men both finished among the leaders at the 11th round of 13 of the GNCC series at Mountain Ridge, in Somerset in Pennsylvania, at the weekend and have cemented their positions among the top 10 of the XC1 (open class) and XC2 (250cc class) championship divisions respectively.

Whibley finished fifth in the XC1 class and May finished eighth in the XC2 class as conditions rapidly changed from dry and dusty to slick and muddy, an extreme test for both man and machine alike.

“We had looked to be in for yet another rocky, fast, dusty and dry race,” explained 22-year-old Aucklander May (Yamaha YZ250F).

“But, an hour before the start, it rained a fair amount, and it helped slightly by keeping the dust down.

“I lined up and was feeling good and ready for a day’s racing. The flag dropped and I got a good jump off the line coming around the first corner in around seventh.

“After settling in for a couple of miles, I felt comfortable to start making some passes, we pulled out into a field section and I overtook four riders, putting me into third, so I was pumped. I came into a technical rocky section with a decent gap over fourth but, unfortunately, I hit a rocky funny splitting my rear brake line.

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“I carried on and did three laps until I pitted and changed the rear brake system out. Once going again I was in 10th position and managed to work my way back to eighth. Even though it wasn't the result I wanted on the day, I was happy that I carried on and didn't give up. This now puts me into fourth overall in the XC2 pro championship standings.

“I'm really looking forward to the next race in two weeks’ time, to be held in Ohio (on October 5).”

For 35-year-old Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F), it was another tough assignment.

He holeshot the race, before dropping back when he became embroiled in a fierce battle for the lead. He held on to finish sixth overall, good for fifth in class, and this was enough for him to retain his hold on to fifth place in the XC1 championship standings.

Meanwhile, American Kailub Russell clinched his second consecutive GNCC XC1 Pro Championship title two rounds early after taking the overall win at the weekend.

Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, AmPro Yamaha, Monster Energy, Shoei, Sidi, Smith, MSR G2, Asterisk, Moto SR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Spectro, Acerbis, DID, JT sprockets, Leatt, Kenda, Sargent Motorcycles, Yamaha NZ,, Unibiker and Tire balls.

May is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine,, MotoSR, Golden Tyres, Fox, Graphic Creation, GYTR and Yamalube.

by Andy McGechan,

© Scoop Media

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