Whibley Leads Suzuki Sweep at GNCC Mudder

Millfield, Ohio (May 11, 2008) -- One of the muddiest, toughest Can-Am Grand National Cross Country races ever ended up with a surprise finish and a podium sweep for the FMF Suzuki team. New Zealand’s Paul Whibley made a pass on his teammate Josh Strang on the last lap to take the win at the Wiseco John Penton GNCC, with Ohio’s own Suzuki talent Jimmy Jarrett third. Strang led most of the race, and he had no idea how or where Whibley got by him, just as Whibley had no idea how he took the lead.

“I think this was the muddiest, sloppiest race I’ve ever been in,” said Whibley, a veteran of off-road racing around the world. “I don’t even know what happened. I thought I was in maybe third, and I got the pit board that said Josh :52, and I thought that meant he was catching me. I guess he was ahead and I passed him somewhere.”

Strang was confused and dejected after missing his chance for a first GNCC victory, instead taking second for the third-straight race. Regardless of order, the event marked a 1-2 finish for the new EFI Suzuki RM-Z450. Jarrett, who took the Racer X Holeshot Award, rounded out the podium on his RM250.

Series leader David Knight rode fast through the mud and water, but eventually took in enough of it through his airbox to slow his bike. At one point he climbed to second and looked ready to challenge Strang, until his machine stalled. Later he had stop in the pits for a new filter, as did his teammate Nathan Kanney, and those problems cost the duo a few positions. Unofficially, Knight was credited with fourth, with Am-Pro Yamaha’s Jason Raines in fifth.

In XC2, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall took yet another win, ahead of Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Scotty Watkins and Steel City Honda’s Ryan Echols. Powersports GrafX/KTM’s Kailub Russell took the Thumpertalk.com Holeshot Award in the XC2 Class.

“I thought it would be awesome in the mud, but I wasn’t going anywhere early on and I was over it,” said DuVall. “All of a sudden, I got to hill and I just saw the whole class there! So I knew I was back in it.”

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with The Weekend Warrior Spartan GNCC in Sparta, Kentucky.

Wiseco John Penton GNCC
Millfield, OH
May 11, 2008

XC1 Pro
1. Paul Whibley (Suz)
2. Josh Strang (Suz)
3. Jimmy Jarrett (Suz)
4. David Knight (KTM)
5. Jason Raines (Yam)

XC2 Pro-Am
1. Thad DuVall (Yam)
2. Scott Watkins (Kaw)
3. Ryan Echols (Hon)
4. Eric Bailey (KTM)
5. Josh Weisenfels (Yam)

About GNCC Racing:

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round championship series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions and has run since 1973. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC Racing will air weekly television shows on the Versus network starting August 2. GNCC featured sponsors include Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose Racing, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Acerbis, Elka, Geico, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Weekend Warrior, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Alpinestars, Cometic, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, Ogio, Rekluse, and MotoTee’s. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.