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"Dirt Rider", March 1, 2013

WHIBLEY TAKES GNCC TITLE

Photo: Shan Moore

Paul Whibley led every lap of the series finale at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch in Tennessee to claim the 2012 Grand National Cross Country Series title by a four-point margin over Kailub Russell in one of the closest championship battles in years.

Whibley led early in the series standings after winning the opener in Florida aboard his Am Pro Yamaha, an advantage he would hold until the penultimate round in Indiana, where he ran out of gas while leading the final lap of the race. The snafu moved Russell to first place in the standings with a one-point advantage that he carried into the finale at Loretta Lynn’s.

The series finale was decided early, however, as Whibley grabbed his 13th holeshot of the season, while Russell went down in the first turn after tangling with another rider.

And though Russell was able to work his way back into fourth by the end of the opening lap, Whibley was long gone by the time Russell moved into second at the halfway point of the race. After three hours of racing, Whibley took the checkered flag with two minutes to spare over Russell; the win gave Whibley the title for the second time in his career.

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