When You Think of Snocross Racing You Think Hibbert
by Scott A. Sumner
Each year for the last 14 years I have made the trip to Duluth, MN to cover the Amsoil Duluth National Snocross race for our publication and now web site. The trip would not be complete with out a visit with snocross legend Kirk Hibbert and his son Tucker Hibbert. The Hibbert
name is really like Andretti or Unser in open wheel racing. They are icons in the sport.
“ I have been coming to Duluth for many years since early 90s I think. We have good hopes there will be an improvement with the new ISOC series. They should bring some new excitement, the old crew was getting a little stale I think,” said Kirk Hibbert. “ This year it very
sad about Blair Morgan. As a parent and a racer injury is in the back of your mind scaring you all the time. It just keeps happening. I don’t know if you call it part of racing but it is not good. It is a real shock and I am sure extremely hard on Blair and his family to cope with. As racers we hate like heck to lose any competitor, especially a good competitor.
The 2009 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600 has a new engine package this year. “ We are using the same crankcase but everything else is new with more HP and performance. They have a lot of little changes here and there for durability and stuff like that. There are some suspension changes for performance also. I was involved in the development of the race sled. I used to be in charge but now just help out a little,” noted Kirk Hibbert. “ All winter I work with Tucker on snowmobiles and in the summer I work on his motorcycles. More or less I work with Tucker but I am still an employee with Arctic Cat. I’ m sure Tucker wants to win both races. That’s why were are here. We will have to wait and find out. The competition is unchanged from the past except for Blair not being here. It is pretty much the same crew. If someone has trained or worked harder from last year we will find out. The Arctic Cats will be fine. All the sled are pretty close.”
Tucker Hibbert was very concerned about his former competitor and friend Blair Morgan who was paralyzed this past September. “ It is a bummer that Blair isn't going to be racing with us this year at Duluth. I have a lot of good memories racing with him and it is unfortunate he had an accident and won’t be here competing. It could happen to anyone. It is one of those things we all know can happen and is a risk we take every time we go on the track but at the end of the day you have to put that behind you and focus on being as prepared and
safe as you can. There is not much more you can do.” said Tucker Hibbert. “ I started wearing a Leatt Neck Brace all summer racing motocross. It definitely is something that will reduce injuries. It has helped in motocross and hopefully snocross riders will use it. In
snowmobiling it is something anyone who is riding on the trails should think about. You can have a crash and hurt something just as easy as on the race track so any precautions you can take is a good thing. The trail rider should wear a tek vest, helmet, knee pads- any protection you can get your hands on is a good thing.”
“ We are trying to be involved in as many things as possible to help Blair and his family with his recovery efforts. We are going to be donating our race winnings this weekend to his recovery efforts and pay for their medical bills or whatever they need help with. We are donating my helmet to be auctioned off to raise funds for Blair,” said Tucker. “ Blair has been around for along time and has been a large part of snocross for the past 15 years or so pushing it to get where it is today. Without him I think it would be a much different sport.”
Tucker Hibbert is the only racer involved at the highest level in both motocross and snocross racing. “ This summer I had a really good finish in motocross at Millville,MN my best finish ever when I ran 12th overall- 14th in the first moto and 12th in the second moto.
I seemed to be somewhere every summer weekend doing some racing. It was a long summer where we did 7 AMA nationals in the US and 2 CND Nationals as well as few handful of regional races in MN and ND,” said Tucker. “ My wife Mandy and I have been working on remodeling a old farm house we bought so it had been a side project when we get time away. We are planning on doing the first 4 ISOC Nationals and the Winter X Games so it should be a year with lots of excitement.”
“ The new sled is a improvement on last year. We have a little more power with a better engine package. Being the second year with this chassis we have really had time to dial in our suspension and the handling of the sled has got a lot better. Compared to where we were at this time last year we are way ahead of the game. We are sitting really good with a good Arctic Cat Sno Pro for this year. At this point last year we were just trying to figure out the sled and learn how to make it handle correctly. We have had a whole year under our belt with
the Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600 and have been able to refine on what we had at the end of last season which we felt was really good. Now that puts us in a better position,” noted Tucker. “ I have been riding for about 3 weeks on the new sled and got in a lot of testing and practice. We rode in S Dakota and the last two weeks at the Christian Bros practice track.”
“ I feel really good. This summer I did a lot of motocross racing and carried my fitness program through the off season and the beginning of snocross. The last couple of weeks I have been focussing on riding more than anything- just spending time on the sled. The training hasn’t been as intense the last few weeks bringing it back down a bit to get
recovered for Duluth. I spend a lot time on a bicycle with road and mountain bikes and do a lot of strength work outs,” said Tucker. “ Right now everything is looking good. The new ISOC people have a lot of good ideas and we have heard good things, but now we are at the race so we will see how things go. Ithink the track is extended and has good snow. I will do 4 ISOC races and X games and then switch focus and start practicing and get ready for next summer. My class will be called the AMA Motocross 250 class.The 450 is the other class. I just started riding a 450 at home for practice last summer but have never raced it yet, starting to play with it. I am happy racing the 250 and think I will be there for a few more years at least. The goal is to improve each year. It would be good to win. I am sitting around the top 10 right now so need to keep working hard at it. Motocross for me is a lot tougher.There is a lot more competition there.”
In typical Tucker Hibbert style he ran away with both Pro Stock and Pro Open classes at the opening Duluth Snocross race. This 24 year old racer adds so much to each event he is at so lets hope he continues on in the ISOC series this year. I'm sure all fans would enjoy seeing Tucker at the racetrack near them!