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Tucker Hibbert Talks 2013

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FIM World Champion Tucker Hibbert Talks Snocross

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 by Scott A. Sumner

   A tradition for me each year is to have a nice sit down interview  with Tucker in his hauler at the season opener at Duluth. Here is our  interview.

    How has the off-season been for you Tucker?

    “The off season was good, better than recent years. I had an  injury at the end of the season at Lake Geneva that I had to deal  with which took a while. Fortunately I healed up well and was able to  get on the motocross bike and do some racing, which I haven’t done  for a few years. I am happy to be healthy and ready to rip on the  snow again.”

    The crash at Lake Geneva last season looked pretty bad?

    “ It was gnarly crash at Lake Geneva, pretty high speed down the  big drop where I got swapped out and crashed. I didn’t think it was  that bad at first just getting the wind knocked out of me. I felt I  may have cracked some ribs but it got worse from there and I ended up  at the hospital. It wasn’t much fun. I have had my share of injury in  recent years and am ready for a healthy season.”

    Do you feel like a veteran rider out there now?

   “  This is my 10th year as a pro at Duluth. I started racing at 8  years old and am 28 now. It has been 20 years and 11 as a  professional.  I feel like I am well experienced but I don’t feel  like I am old. It is always exciting to come to Duluth each year for  the start of the season. Being in shape and prepared for racing is  what gets you through injuries and keeps you from getting injuries  and pushing forward at the head of the pack. I have been focused on  being fit and training all year round. Right now I feel I am at the  top of my game and ready to go racing. I don’t have a set plan as to  how many years I have left to race but just going to do it until I am  not enjoying it or something like that. I feel I am still in my prime  and the next few years should be my best. I just have to focus on  getting through the season healthy and having a good off-season  training.

 It means a lot to be healthy as a snocross racer then?

   It is like a snowball effect when you are healthy and keep training  you just move ahead. When you have injures you have to regroup and  start over. I had a lot of years with a lot if success but the  injuries slow you down a bit. You just have to get going again to be  100% where I am now and I want to stay there. My fitness is my own  secret. I work really, really hard. This racing deal I take very,  very seriously and I want to be prepared to be the best I can be and  to avoid injury. Racing and training for me is a 100% all the time,  full time.”

 How do you like the 2013 Arctic Cay SnoPro 600 race sled?

  Our race sled this year, the SnoPro 600, is really, really good. I  felt last year we struggled a little bit with the set up and just  trying to figure out how to make the sled work the way we wanted it  to. It was super challenging with the season starting in November and  not much time to test with the warm temperature. We learned last year  what we needed to know to make the sleds better and took all of our  notes and improved the sled a lot. We have been working super hard on  it to come to this race prepared to win. I have been spending lot of  time testing and spending time on the sled and honestly it didn’t  take that long. I think we made some great improvement and it showed  up right away. That shows up in our confidence as well. When  everything works well from the start it gives you time to fine tune  instead of trying to regroup. My goal is to improve the sled and  rider so you are going round the track faster. It is crazy the amount  of work that goes into being prepared to gain 1/2 second a lap here  and there. At this level it is not like you are going to go out there  and be way faster than the next guy. It is a ton of work and the  engineers at Arctic Cat and my team and sponsors have been working  super hard to come here and battle for the win and I think we are  ready.”

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 What makes you be able to perform so well on the track at these races?

 “ Experience is the biggest thing on the track. Having been in  situations a lot in my career, it prepares me for circumstances that  come up. The practicing and testing allow you to be out there and on  autopilot where everything is on reactions. The testing, practice and  preparation allow you to be ready for anything. I feel we have done a  good job at preparing and can go out there and take on whatever comes  up.

 What do you enjoy the most about racing?

    “ I enjoy the checkered flag the most! All the work and time  during the week isn’t always fun but when you are on the racetrack  that is what it is all about and you are having fun. The preparation  is difficult.”

 This year Arctic Cat has produced a Tucker Hibbert replica sled, the  F800 SnoPro. That must make you proud?

 “ We are excited to do the Tucker Hibbert replica snowmobile and  launched it at HayDays. People are starting to get them this week I  hope. I worked on the line last week helping them put some parts on  the sled. Hopefully I didn’t mess things up! It is fun to go to the  factory, see the sleds go down the line and talk to the people  building them. It was a big day for me and hopefully the consumers  will enjoy riding it. It is about giving something back to my fans  that have followed me over the years. If they want  they can be part  of the race team. The chassis and a lot of the stuff are parts and  things that just come off my race sled. We worked on it for quite a  long time to get some of the products I race with every weekend to  give it a unique appeal. Our 600 motors are pretty fast when all  tuned up so the replica 800 engine is pretty close to the race  engine. Maybe one day I’ll get it out and see if they let me line it  up at one of the races. I got number 1 and 68 serial number sleds and  will ride one and keep the other for collection.”

 What will be your race schedule this season?

 We will race the full ISOC National series, be back at Winter X  Games, which is exciting for us, and then at the Clash of Nations in  Sweden at the end of the season.  We are still uncertain on the World  Championship, which I won last year. It is a three race series this  year with two races in Russia and one in Finland.  One of the three  races conflict with ISOC so we will have to see.

  How do you feel the competition will be this year?

 Every year there is somebody new racing. I try not to worry too much  about that and focus on my own program and be ready to go. Last year  was one of the best years that we have had with a good group of fast  guys. I like it better when I am winning more races but it is good  for the sport and fans when we have a lot of guys battling at the  top. It was something that I wasn’t real excited about, only winning  at most two races last season when in past years I have won almost  every race. I am out there to win the races.  Last year I made some  mistakes and we had some issues but this year is a new season and it  has re motivated me and our team to push even harder and get back   towhere I was.”

 Tucker Hibbert finished 5th on Saturday and Sunday at Duluth. It will  be fun to follow his progress this season!

 

 Follow me on twitter Scott Sumner @tbay25



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