If put into a big screen movie, the life of Paul Whibley would probably be in the box office list because it has so much drama – in a good way. When he decided to retire from his career back then in 2014, he had accomplished a lot, so his return to his hometown, New Zealand, was like a victorious celebration closing off the sweet ending.
Whibley had made his own career in America for 12 years, and his achievements include 6 OMA titles, 2 GNCC championships, 17 sweet consecutive winning, 1 impressive OMA season, and many holeshots. After he decided to retire, he started organizing demo rides as well as promoting races for Yamaha. For his personal life, he married the love of his life, Katherine, and soon after, Colton, their son, was born. But a tragic event in December 2015 changed everything when Katherine passed away in a car crash.
Since then, Whibley has started to get busy with the demo rides and races promotion. It was difficult for him since Katherine’s death but he had to be strong for Colton. A year after the passing, he got a phone call from Randy Hawkins, who is his friend and a former boss. Hawkins offered him a job, responsible for training young racers if he would return to American. Not long afterwards, with Colton with him, Whibley was ready for the training, and then GNCC series was announcing the 125 class which is pretty new. And then Corey MacDonald, the chief of AmPro Yamaha Crew declared an idea to put Whibley back racing again.
Hawkins and the rest of the team might have their own reasoning to bring Whibley back and put him back in the racing line. It is obvious that Hawkins has a lot of admiration for Whibley, thinking that he has a lot of potentials for the team. Considering Whibley’s condition and family, Hawkins understands that busy schedule is good to keep his mind occupied with a lot of things.
Moreover, Hawkins understands the determination that Whibley has. He has sponsored several bikers before, but it is Whibley that shows true determination. He understands the fact that he may not be the most gifted biker but he can win everything if he works super hard. For Hawkins, having someone like Whibley in the team would be quite precious and handy for the team – as a rider and a coach. It would teach the young riders about determination and hard work.
With this kind of settlement, MacDonald was preparing Yamaha YZ125 for Whibley in the XC3 class. Whibley managed to show a quite good performance during the GNCC opening race in South Carolina by finishing in the third spot after Jack Edmondson and Jason Thomas. For Whibley himself, the experience to race with the 125 class is definitely something new. He began with XR100 and then continued to CR250, completely missing out the 125.
Whibley is definitely the oldest rider with his age, 38 years old, for XC3 class. But he remains one of the most promising contenders despite the fact that he needs some time to get used to the machine. The first attempts were quite awkward but Whibley knows that he needs to have more practice and also time to get used to the new machine.
It’s definitely a good start for Whibley and for the whole team for the season. Whibley should be racing for the first three racing rounds. Afterwards, he will go back to New Zealand, continue organizing demo rides and promoting races. For the AmPro Yamaha’s training work, he will do it remotely. Whibley are grateful for Hawkins forever for the chance to get back to the team as well as racing for fun.