Paul Whibley came to the GNCC series a few years ago and since making his debut in the series, has become one of the top riders in the series. He proved this even further by winning the 2009 GNCC Championship. For 2010 Paul signed with the Am-Pro Yamaha team and has had what many consider to be an up and down season. I caught up with Paul to see how things are going.
Hey Paul, how are you doing today?
Awesome. How’s your summer break been so far? What have you been up to?
Racing and training. I have a break from GNCC racing but the OMAs continue right through so we are focusing on those at the moment.
At least you’re staying busy! Being the defending GNCC champion, coming into 2010 did you feel any added pressure from anyone?
Only pressure from myself. All I want is to get results and win races and Im not really happy unless that’s happening.
Right on. Sometimes you’re just so good you have to beat yourself… um.. in a race I mean. There’s been talk from some people saying you’ve had a ‘down season’ adjusting to the new team, but you’ve made a lot of podiums this year. What is your response to the critics out there?
I have had a bad season. Im far from happy overall with the results I have gained so far this season. Im never really happy with just podiums, I want to be winning races. We have seen a little light at the end of the tunnel. Winning the last two OMAs and closing in on the points lead is good. All I can do know is try and get some wins on the board in the GNCCs. There are a lot of guys going fast but I know I can still be up there and compete for a win.
How has the Yamaha ride been going so far?
Am Pro Yamaha has been a great team to be apart of this season. Randy Hawkins has made us very welcome and we have a great base here in S.C. Some great facilities like the well equipped workshop with the on-site gym and some cool tracks to ride on. Sun is out and its hot.
Gotta love that South Carolina heat! What was hardest thing for you in the switch?
Leaving the GEICO team. I had a good relationship with JT and Gretchen and all my personal sponsors. To win the title and then move on was something that was tough to do, but there were factors beyond mine or JTs control that prevented the relationship continuing. We still get along good with the whole GEICO team so that’s cool.
You’ve been riding the YZ450 recently, is that what you’ll be racing when the GNCCs start back in September?
We have started testing and racing with the YZ in preparation for the 2011 season. If the bike is ready and we get the green light to race it at the remainder of the GNCCs then that’s what we will line up with at Unadilla.
Cool. Everyone has been wondering about the YZ’s all year haha.. What has been the biggest challenge for you in 2010?
Overcoming the seemingly endless and crazy bad luck that plagued me throughout the start of the season. Its tough to keep breaking yourself week in, week out in training just to have things fall apart at the races. Its hard to keep going when results are all I live for here in the states. But now we seem to be past all the craziness and things seem to be improving.
Now you’re known for racing nearly every single weekend. Out of all the local series you’ve been to, which is your favorite up north and which is your favorite in the south?
I have had some good races at the IXCR races in IN, and at the KORHS in KY. The FTR races are always fun and for me it signals the start of a new season.
Good choices! How did you get your start in the offroad racing world?
My parents had a farm back home in NZ and they got me a little PW 50 to play on when I was young. There were a lot of top NZ riders in the local club and some good events not to far away. I progressed through the ranks, eventually winning NZ titles and exploring options to race overseas. Its pretty hard to break out of NZ and land a ride or gain some support. I was lucky to get a good ride with Husky when I first went to Europe to race the World Enduro Champs in 2003. Also Scott Summers and Fred Bramblett went out on a limb and gave me a shot at the GNCCs when I first came here a few years back.
Who has been the biggest inspiration for you in racing?
A lot of people have helped me through my career. I have been lucky to have worked for and rode alongside many great champions. I rode for Paul Edmonson in Europe for a year. With Scott Summers and Rodney Smith at Honda and Suzuki. Now working with Randy Hawkins. All those guys have won a lot of races and titles and are a wealth of knowledge.
Yeah, having guys like that behind you definitely can’t hurt. I saw you watching some karaoke at Snowshoe. If you would’ve sang, what song would you have chosen?
I doubt I will ever sing karaoke, but if I had too maybe Sick Puppies, You’re going down. It would take a lot of alcohol to get me anywhere near singing.
Ha! Yeah, most of the karaoke participants had consumed a fair amount of alcohol. Would you have danced to it as well?
Hell no!!! No co-ordination.
At Yadkinville in 2008 you gave my friend Derrick one of your jerseys. He’s still has it hanging up on his wall last I knew. Can I have a #1 jersey sometime so I can out do him? I’ll even give you a whole dollar, but we don’t have to tell him that.
Sure, no worries.
Boom! In your face Derrick! Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you. Anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to?
All the fans who have kept cheering me on at the races and of coarse all the sponsors.
AmPro Yamaha, Monster Energy, Shoei, Sidi, Smith, Ohlins, G2, CTi, Moto SR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D
FMF Kenda Yamalube Asterisk Cannondale CV4 Cycle Gear E-Batt EBC Brakes Factory Connection Fastway GYTR IMS Jonny Signs Leatt Brace Matrix Racing Products Motion Pro MSR Pro-Clean Rekluse Scott Slavens TM Designworks Twin Air Wiseco ZipTy Racing
Perfect. Thanks Paul.