Monday Conversation:  Paul Whibley

Monday Conversation: Paul Whibley

July 11, 2011 5:20pm
Am Pro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley began the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series with bad luck and a minor injury, which set the New Zealand native, and 2009 GNCC Champion, back in points early on. But he's making a comeback. After capturing the win at the Wiseco John Penton GNCC over the weekend, Whibley now holds the most wins in the XC1 Pro class and sits only eleven points behind FMF KTM’s Charlie Mullins for second place in the standings. Sunday's win may have been his most impressive of the year. After three hours of battle in the woods, the win came down to Whibley versus Kailub Russell on the motocross portion of the course. Whibley got to the section in second, but Russell was out of energy after three hours of pushing the pace. Whibs pulled out a big double jump, getting past Russell’s KTM just feet before the finish. We caught up with Whibley to hear how it all went down.

Racer X: It was extremely hot out there; did the heat affect your riding?
Paul Whibley: A little, I didn’t push too hard early on but then again, I usually don’t. I like to go slow and ease into it and look at the track a little before we go too fast. I didn’t really do anything different because of the heat; I just knew it was going to be a tough day. I think the John Penton section [single track] was where I noticed the heat the most because it was so tight and you’re pushing pretty hard and you’re only moving a little bit at a time so that was probably the toughest section in the heat.

Whibley (3) battles Kailub Russell (557) and Nate Kanney (116) off the start. Whibley and Russell stayed this close for the entire three-hour race!
Photo courtesy Krista Shaw /

You and Russell switched off leading the race all day. Explain what went down in the woods.
Kailub was riding really good, he was pushing pretty hard and riding really well.  We passed in so many different places it’s hard to remember. This morning I remembered another spot that we swapped positions that I forgot about yesterday. He passed me one time at the mud hill after the creek passing. He got a good drive up the hill and when he got to the top, he passed by me there. I think the time I passed him he might have washed his front wheel out on some roots in the John Penton section and I got around him there. It was kind of weird, we passed each other so many different times, and it’s hard to remember them all. It was definitely fun racing though.

You guys were literally battling all the way to the end, take us through what happened.
He got around me on the muddy hill and it was probably two to three miles before the finish and I couldn’t get back past him before we got to the moto track. I could see Kailub was pushing it pretty hard and maybe getting a little bit tired because he was making a couple mistakes and getting a little bit loose but he was still holding it wide open. I was just pushing it as hard as I could on the moto track and it came down to those last couple of jumps, I actually closed in on him in the corner before that and I didn’t really have a plan. I just came out of that corner and I didn’t really have a plan but I came up to that jump and just tried to get a wheel in the air to get in front of him and that worked out for me. I jumped the double from almost like the corner. Usually I’d roll that first jump and then double the next one but this time I jumped from the first jump up the side with enough momentum to get it. It wasn’t really planned or scripted, I was just close enough to him to make an attempt to pass on the last lap and it worked out good.

Whibley celebrates win number three on the year, flanked by Kailub Russell (left) and Josh Strang.
Photo courtesy Krista Shaw /

What did you think about the non-traditional finish with the moto track?
It was a little bit different than the usual finish to the track but it is kind of good because it if the race is close like it was people can see a little bit of the action. It’s a little bit nicer for the spectators so they can see some passing attempts or some actual passes for the lead or positions during the race. Usually it doesn’t suit me too much since I’m not really the fastest motocross rider but it worked out well for me today.

After a rough start, you’ve closed the points gap to only eleven behind Charlie Mullins for second, and another fourteen up to the leader, Josh Strang.
Yeah, we had a little bit of a bad start there at the beginning with a damaged radiator and now we’re playing catch up from there. We had a couple of bad rounds with an injury after that so it feels good to finally close in and start to chip away at Josh Strang’s lead a little bit. He’s still got a few points on the lead but I think if we can keep putting in good results and winning races after the break, hopefully it will bring it down to the last few races and we can make an exciting championship and it will be a nice and close finish. I’m going to do the OMA Series during the break and race a few local races and just stay prepared for Unadilla when we return in September.