Hibbert flying high into Duluth National Snocross
By: By Jon Nowacki, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
The Hibbert family gathered at home in Goodridge, Minn., for a Thanksgiving feast complete with all the trimmings two weeks ago.
None of that would seem unusual except that the Hibberts, like just about every snowmobile racing family in the Upper Midwest, usually are in Duluth on Thanksgiving preparing for the AMSOIL Duluth National Snocross.
That changed after the Duluth National was postponed two weeks until this weekend because of warm weather. That will give the 18th running of the event a different feel, but some things never change: a Hibbert will once again be the man to beat.
Tucker Hibbert had the most dominating partial season in snocross history last winter, sweeping the professional races at all four International Series of Champions events he entered as well as the prestigious Winter X Games before departing to concentrate on his motocross career.
Hibbert, 25, plans on racing in five of nine ISOC events this year, as well as the X Games.
“I’m just going to try to win all the races I can, and since we added a race to the schedule this year, if I can win them all again, that would even top last year,” Hibbert said with a laugh. “But it’s not really something I’m focused on. I want to win every time I go out on the track, but we’re just focused on doing the best we can and then let it go from there.”
Hibbert’s 2008-09 domination started in Duluth, where he won his first title in 2000 as a 16-year-old. He now has won six Duluth National pro titles.
“Tucker definitely has a big target on his back, but he handles the pressure well,” said Polaris rider Levi LaVallee. “I can’t say enough good about the guy.”
Hibbert was so dominant last winter that he won not only all eight of the Pro Open and Pro Super Stock finals he competed in, but the Arctic Cat racer also never lost a heat. Hibbert hasn’t lost since Brainerd during the 2007-08 season.
Racer Robbie Malinoski compared it to Jimmie Johnson’s domination of NASCAR.
“Tucker raced with so much confidence last year,” Malinoski said. “He raced at such a high level, and that’s good for the rest of us. That pushes you to get even better, and if you can beat him, you earned it. It’s legit.”
Hibbert sat with his father, “Captain” Kirk Hibbert, a snowmobile racing legend in his own right, in their race trailer last week while practicing at Planet X in Aurora.
Kirk Hibbert was busy working on his laptop. Last year was the first year he remembered that he didn’t race the Duluth National, and he didn’t plan on racing it this year, either. He’s been too busy helping his son get ready for the season, as well as leading Arctic Cat’s sled development team.
It’s a win-win situation for the Hibberts, so long as Tucker keeps winning.
“There is a little more pressure on me this year coming off the season we had,” Tucker Hibbert said. “There is a lot of pressure when you have sponsors and people pushing you to try to win, and you want to support them.
“It’s hard not to smile when you win. That’s what we all want to do, but unfortunately, only one person can win at a time. I just hope we can have a season like we had last year, and then we’ll all be smiling again.”