Paul Whibley wins the GNCC championship
October 28, 2009
Whibley will swapp next season his No.2 plate for the No.1 digit after winning his first Grand
National Cross-Country Championship (GNCC) title when the series wrapped up in Crawfordsville,
The 31-year-old former forestry worker - known affectionately in bike racing circles as "The Axeman" - finished a conservative fourth overall at this 13th and final round of the series, easily enough for him to collect the crown he'd been threatening to take since the series kicked off in Florida in February.
"I just can't even believe it," said Whibley (Kawasaki KX450F), who finished a close runner-up in the
championship last season.
"I don't have the words for this right now. This is my ultimate goal, to win the GNCC Championship in the US."
With the championship at stake, Whibley rode sensibly at the final round.
When Whibley had a collision with American Thad Duvall early in the race, the Kiwi backed off to play it safe until the end, where he was promptly presented with the No.1 plate.
So commanding was Whibley's championship lead that he only had to finish inside the top 14 to take
home the championship.
In total, Whibley won five of the 13 rounds and he finished runner-up three times and was also third on three occasions.
"It's been an amazing year working with my new Kawasaki team," Whibley said. "I couldn't have asked for better. This is my job, this is what I live for and this is the ultimate payback for all that hard work and training in the rain and the mud.
"The GNCC is the pinnacle of cross country racing in the world. I came here from (racing the world enduro championships in) Europe and this is my style of racing."
Championship Standings - round 13 of 13
1 KAW PAUL WHIBLEY 304
2 SUZ JOSHUA STRANG 284
3 SUZ CHARLES MULLINS 278
4 KAW JIM JARRETT 189
5 KTM KAILUB RUSSELL 186
6 KTM NATHAN KANNEY 180
7 YAM JASON THOMAS 156
8 KTM CORY BUTTRICK 155
9 YAM BARRY HAWK JR 138
10 KAW SCOTT WATKINS 126