Defending premier class champion Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat) talks about the upcoming season & his title defense
Contact: Pat Schutte
PR Director, ISOC Racing
Minneapolis (Nov. 29, 2013) – Coming off his best season ever racing pro motocross, which was prefaced by one of his most successful years racing a snowmobile, Tucker Hibbert (Monster Energy/Arctic Cat/Ram) says he’s pumped, primed and more than ready-to-go this week when the opening round of 2013-’14 AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram, kicks off at Duluth’s (Minn.) Spirit Mountain, Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
This past snocross season Hibbert was pretty much unstoppable, winning the king’s share of races through the eight-round AMSOIL Championship Snocross series and wrapping up the title in advance of the season finale this past March in Lake Geneva, Wis.
So dominant was Hibbert that regulars at the races would secretly hope that the champ would get caught up or run off the track at the start – just so they could see him charge through the pack, methodically picking off the world’s top professional snocross racers until he’d reach the lead pack and battle rivals Tim Tremblay, Ross Martin, Emil Ohman and Robbie Malinoski.
This year Hibbert enters Duluth with 80 pro snocross victories in 150 starts. And, as you’ll read here shortly, he’s got a good shot at breaking friend/fellow competitor Blair Morgan’s all-time pro snocross victories record (which stands at 84 victories).
ISOC: Yeah, Tucker. How’s things? You park that dirt bike yet?
Tucker Hibbert: It was a good summer for sure. I was pumped to get out and ride and race my motorcycle a bunch. I haven’t been able to do that a lot in recent summers with injuries and such, so it was good to get out. Kept me plenty busy because I forgot how much work it is to race a lot. Definitely consumes a lot of time.
ISOC: What Nationals did you do?
Tucker Hibbert: RedBud, Millville, Washougal, Salt Lake and Lake Elsinore.
ISOC: What was your best finish?
Tucker Hibbert: I’m gonna say 19th at Washougal.
ISOC: Crossing over from pro motocross, did you jump in on some races on your mountain bike like you have in the past?
Tucker Hibbert: Yeah, for sure. I raced some toward the end of the summer and into the fall – but I didn’t do a lot. With racing motocross I wasn’t able to do as many mountain bike races as I’d have liked to. Just a juggling act as to where I spend my time. But yeah, I was able to get some good riding in and did manage a couple races, wish I’d have had time to do more.
ISOC: Was there any race of note on your mountain bike that stood out?
Tucker Hibbert: I raced some local stuff, pretty small … fun, laid back. Lot of people that I enjoy hanging out on the weekends with and stuff. I did the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, which I’ve done every year for some time. Forty miles cross country. Not super-technical, but it’s pretty cool.
ISOC: How’d you place?
Tucker Hibbert: I don’t keep track too much of where I place. That race is so big, like 2,000 people (Hibbert pauses) I finished like 150th? … somewhere in there. I did OK. Definitely not a professional mountain bike racer, but I had a lot of fun doing it. And it’s good training for snow.
ISOC: You turned 29 this year and have been racing snocross professionally since you were 16. So entering the 2013-’14 AMSOIL Championship Snocross campaign do you feel you’re right where you should be fitness-wise?
Tucker Hibbert: Yeah, I feel really good for sure. I think every athlete will tell you it could be better and they wish they could do more, but for me – having a full plate all the time – trying to find a balance between training and riding and everything else is kind of tough sometimes. But this year I feel that I definitely as good as I have in year’s past coming into the season and have a lot more riding (MX) under my belt coming into the season than I have in the past couple years.
ISOC: Speaking of training for snow … we heard you actually got out on the snow a lot earlier this year than you have in the past.
Tucker Hibbert: Were able to start riding in early October, which is really early for us. I saw that storm coming on the news (the one that hit the Dakotas) and pretty much decided right there to load up all of our stuff and headed out. We ended up making three different trips to South Dakota, built two different tracks at some friends and contacts that we’ve made over the years and rode ‘til the snow was gone!
ISOC: So, generally speaking, what are some of your thoughts heading into the 2013-’14 competition season?
Tucker Hibbert: I’m excited about it for sure. Coming off last year, which was one of the better seasons of my career I think, we’re starting the season this weekend and I’m feeling as good as I ever have. So I’m really looking forward to getting on the track and picking up where I left off last season. Have a good, solid, consistent year and come away with another championship. Every year it’s a new season, you see riders moving around switching stuff up and my program’s stayed the same year after year. And that benefits me, my team and my sponsors – having a team that we’ve fine-tuned over the years. Makes me comfortable and confident coming into the start of the season. I’ve done it so many times it’s kind of like auto pilot. We know what to do and how to do it so it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
ISOC: You had an interesting acquisition to your team in the off-season when you brought pro racer Garth Kaufman on board. Talk about that.
Tucker Hibbert: Garth’s been working with us for about a month now and it’s going to be great. He’s definitely fitting right in with our team and it a hard worker and knows the ins and outs of being a pro racer and what we need done. He’s really motivated to help us achieve our goals and win races. So yeah, I think it’s going to be a good thing for sure.
ISOC: So one of the points of the upcoming season that AMSOIL Championship Snocross fans will find interesting is that you’re chasing the all-time pro snocross record of 84 wins set by your longtime friend and fellow competitor Blair Morgan. Talk a bit about chasing that record. (Note: Tucker has 80 wins heading into this season.)
Tucker Hibbert: It’s definitely going to be an exciting moment if I can get to that level where I can beat Blair’s record. He set the bar really high and I’ve been chasing it down for a number of years now. The chance of getting there this year is exciting for me. Not something that I’ll think about all the time, but it is something I’m motivated by. Blair’s an awesome guy and an awesome rider and I’ll be a little bit bummed that I have to pass him, but at the same time I’ll be happy.
ISOC: Anything new with the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 R sled this year?
Tucker Hibbert: Naw, not really. Nothing major, pretty much just starting this season where we left off at the end of last season. This’ll make it easy to transition for us. We did so well on it last year that there’ll just be some minor tuning, along with developing some new stuff throughout the season.
ISOC: Talk about Duluth this weekend and how it is to open the year on such a tough, demanding bull ring-style race course.
Tucker Hibbert: Duluth’s a pretty cool race. Being the first race of the season it’s always exciting. Everyone’s kind of nervous and excited and a lot of people haven’t been on the snow practicing that much, so it can make for an interesting race. And also, with the weather, you never know how much snow we’ll have or what the conditions will be like. (Editor’s note: There’s TONS of snow at Duluth this year!) But it’s always an exciting race for all of us, as well as the spectators.
ISOC: Thanks, Tucker, and good luck this weekend at Duluth.
Tucker Hibbert: Thanks. Looking forward to seeing all the fans that show up for Duluth. It’s definitely one of the bigger races for us all year.
Backing Tucker Hibbert’s run at the 2013-’14 AMSOIL Championship Snocross title this year include: Monster Energy, Arctic Cat, Ram Truck, Castle X Racewear, Stud Boy, FLY Helmets, Speedwerx, FOX, Leatt Brace, SPY Optic, Hot Stuff Pizza, APV Synthetic Oil, TekVest, Kicker, Digital Ink Design & Graphics and CTi.
2013-’14 AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram
1 – Nov. 29-Dec. 1 Duluth, Minnesota
2 – Dec. 6-7 Bessemer, Michigan
3 – Jan. 3-5 Shakopee, Minnesota
4 – Jan. 31-Feb.1 Deadwood, South Dakota
5 – Feb. 7-8 Salamanca, New York
6 – Feb. 21-22 Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
7 – March 7-8 Fargo, N.D.
8 – March 14-16 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Beginning with AMSOIL Championship Snocross’ season-opening round in Duluth, Minn. and running through the season finale in Lake Geneva, Wis. CBS Sports Network will air 16 half-hour programs of the ACS races.
Tucker Hibbert photo courtesy of Lissa Marsolek/ISOC
About ISOC Racing
The International Series of Champions (ISOC) is the premier snowmobile race sanctioning organization in North America and sanctions national AMSOIL Championship Snocross, in addition to affiliating with nine regional circuits. Visit snocross.com for more information, fan and racer memberships, schedule details and more.