Submitted by Andy McGechan
Wednesday, 25th January 2017
Viewed 1029 times

CAPTION: Taikorea's Paul Whibley (Yamaha), heading back to the United States. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JANUARY 18, 2017: Taikorea's Paul Whibley is heading overseas again and this time the world-renowned dirt bike racer hopes to make an impact there in a slightly different way, by helping others to win races.
The 38-year-old former Manawatu forestry worker, affectionately dubbed “The Axeman” on the motorcycling scene, twice won the Grand National cross Country Championships in the United States (in 2009 and again in 2012), as well as becoming a six-time former US Off-road Motorcycle and ATV series (OMA) champion.
Even though he's now nearly three years into his retirement from international competition, he still finds himself in very high demand.
He was the New Zealand cross-country champion in 2015 and still races major domestic events around New Zealand, but now he's been called to cross the Pacific Ocean and settle back into South Carolina, on the east coast of the US, where he will begin working as trainer and mentor for the AMPRO Yamaha Race Team.
Whibley's contract is only for two months and he'll be working to get the team's two riders – Ricky Russell in the XC1 class and Josh Toth in the XC2 class – fully fit and up to speed before the start of the 2017 HGNCC season kick-off.
"AMPRO Yamaha team owner Randy Hawkins knows how hard I trained," said Whibley. "He saw that when I was over there and he wants me to impart some of that wisdom and knowledge on to his riders.
"I've already been in contact with the riders by the internet and email and we've worked out a training regime for them, but when I get over there I will crack the whip a bit more," he laughed.
"It's only a short-term thing and it's the first time that Randy has tried to have a dedicated trainer do this job for him. It's a scheme that he may expand in the future.
"I won't be there this time as a sponsored racer, but I hope I might be able to enter the odd race anyway too."
Whibley will be back to New Zealand in April and then pick up again with his role as a demonstrator for Yamaha in New Zealand, as well as racing the occasional event.
Whibley is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Arai, TCX, Oakley, G2, Asterisk, MotoSR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Rossco's Start Up Services, Unabiker, Leatt Brace, Tire Balls, Renthal, Bikesportnz.com, CarbSport, KettleClamp, Alliance Offroad, Ride Eng MotoSeat, FMF, Michelin, Yamalube CV4 GYTR, IMS O'Neal, Rekluse, Workshop Graphics and Silverbullet.co.nz
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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