Tucker Hibbert Ready To Race 2011/2012 Season
by Scott A. Sumner
It is always fun to sit down with snowmobile race icon Tucker Hibbert at the Amsoil Duluth National opener of the ISOC National Series. The 27 year old Tucker has dominated the sport in recent times with 66 national wins 10 X Games medals and a World Championship under his belt. This season offers quite a bit of change for the sport and the successful racer.
Tucker are you ready for the upcoming season?
“I’m excited to be here for the first race at Duluth. It has been a lot of time training, practicing and getting everything ready so it is fun to come here to the track and see if all your hard work is going to pay off. This summer I did not race motocross. I had a wrist injury that was surgically repaired earlier in the summer so I spent time getting healthy from that and working on a bunch of different projects to get ready for this winter.”
Last season was a great year for you and your team?
"It was a great year for us last year to win both the ISOC National Championships and also win the X Games again. We were looking forward to kind of putting the icing on the cake in Finland at the World Championships but we had a mechanical issue that kind of took us out
and we ended up third overall which we are proud of. It was good trip over as well and we had lots of fun. The Arctic Cat snowmobiles have worked great but this particular problem we had a drive belt break, which is kind of out of our control, it just happens once in a while. It is a bummer but when you have those bad races you start to appreciate the good races you have had. There are so many things that go on that can determine the outcome of a race for you so when everything goes right you take it for granted. There are so many things that can cause problems during the race or weekend.”
This year will be a different year in snocross as there will be no X Games race?
"The X Games is a big event and I felt it was really good for snocross and snowmobiling in general. To get our sport on a world level outreach was a positive and I was excited about the event. We put a lot of effort each year into going there. It is a bummer but we can’t control that and we just have to concentrate on winning the ISOC championship again and doing well at every race. I wouldn’t be surprised if the X Games race came back or another event of that
magnitude came about.”
Another big change for snocross this season is there is no stock sled race class for pros?
“ This year we will race twice on the mod sleds twice on a weekend versus once on stock and once on mod in the past. That is a big change for us as we have been riding both sleds for a long time. It was something I enjoyed doing as well. I will miss it but it will give us another chance to ride the wild mod sleds. Everything always changes. As a team overall the switch to us is more expensive as the mod sleds cost more to build and are harder to maintain so it is kind of a catch 22. Our team will have 5 mod sleds a couple practice sleds
and 3 race sleds.”
This year you will be racing an entire new sled from Arctic Cat?
“This year it is really exciting with a new machine based on the Procross chassis that consumers could buy. They have extended that sled to the racer and it is totally new for us from the ground up. So far through practice and testing it has shown to be a lot better than
the previous sled so I am excited to get it out on the track. We were involved in testing the new sled a little bit but it was based mainly on consumer feedback and what they wanted, a lightweight, better handing sled and it is a step in the right direction. My dad was involved a little in the sled design. Our race sleds are almost identical to the consumer version other than we run a 600 cc engine and we modify some of the parts to reinforce the sled to handle some of the large jumps we take.”
What do you expect here at Duluth this year?
“ The weather isn’t looking that good but there is a lot of snow and it will be just what the weather throws at us. I have seen conditions worse here but it is great that ISOC and Spirit Mountain put on a lot of work to put on the race. We have been able to get some new sponsors and help grow some attention to the sport I feel. As a business we have seen some growth over the last year and I just hope snocross can continue to grow and go in the right direction.”
Tucker Hibbert finished 3rd and 4th in the Pro Mod classes at Duluth year after winning both classes each year for the last three seasons. The hard work ethic of the Tucker and the team will certainly see improvements as the season moves on and they learn more about the new race sled.