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    AMSNOW EXCLUSIVE: Facing Up with Tucker (T-Train) Hibbert

    Posted by Ross Halvorson
    on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

     This year at the AMSOIL ISOC Duluth snocross opener, we got the chance to sit down with the Arctic Cat’s main race man, Tucker Hibbert.  He is the 2014 ISOC Pro Open Champion and pilot of the #68 Monster Energy / Arctic Cat Sno Pro, also known as T-Train. We went behind-the-scenes here just before he headed out for the Amsoil Dominator Cup race.

    AmSnow: So what did you change for 2015 that you think will help continue to have the advantage on the track?

    T-Train: Honestly, nothing really is new for my program this year. We’ve just been focused on getting things organized and sleds dialed for Duluth as we try to come with a setup we know works, and get the season started right and build from there.

    AmSnow: Duluth has always seemed to be a struggle for many riders because it is the first race of the year. You can’t win a championship at this event but you can sure put yourself in a deep hole. What is your goal for Duluth?

    T-Train: Our goal is to get through the weekend safe and make sure we don’t have any issues with the sled, and start the season off on a good note. Consistency is what our focus is throughout every weekend.

    AmSnow: The 2014 season was a very good season for you. You had the red number plate that signifies the point’s leader. How long have you been able to retain that red number plate?

    T-Train: I came into Duluth as the 2013 Pro Champion, so I started out the season with the red number plate and we never lost it the entire season. The 2013 season, I didn’t take over the red number plate until Canterbury in January 2013. But basically I haven’t lost it since then.

    AmSnow: The 2012 season was one that you seemed to struggle more than most. It was the first year of the new Pro Cross chassis. How much did that affect your on-track performance? 

    T-Train: Yeah, that is always a challenge when you bring out a whole new chassis, it took some time to get things dialed in to where we needed it. The ProCross chassis has been a great sled for us over the past three seasons, so now we feel we can just make minor adjustments to make it even better for us.

    AmSnow: Typically before Duluth you have to travel out west to get some pre-season testing in, but this year you got to stay closer to home. Tell us about that.

     T-Train: Yeah, definitely it is a lot better for the program when we can stay closer to home, and this year we had some good cold weather and snow early so we didn’t have to go as far to get started on our program. All the Cat teams pretty much started testing at Christian Bros track, and all the Team Arctic teams share info to help make each of us better.

    AmSnow: X Games is coming up again, which has been a very successful event for you over your career. This year there are some snowmobile disciplines coming back to X Games, so will you be competing in anything besides snocross?

    T-Train: No, just snocross, as I focus my entire program on snocross, so our goal is to win the gold. Going to X Games is always a fun event and always one that we look forward to.

    AmSnow: You have had a long standing relationship with Monster. How are things looking for the future?

    T-Train: Monster has been a huge part of my program for years, and we work year to year on figuring out what the plans are and what we need to do, but for me my plans are to focus on racing for a couple more years... certainly with Monster.

    AmSnow: Motocross and supercross are something you have competed in in the past while racing snocross. How does that help your program? 

    T-Train: Motocross is a lot of fun and I really enjoy it. I have done it pretty much my whole life. Racing in the summer is a big part of my training and helps me keep on top of my game by helping with keeping my mind focused on racing.

    AmSnow: A few years ago you were racing supercross fulltime. Tell us about the success you had with that.

    T-Train: Yeah, I had won a Lites heat race and had a handful of top 10 finishes in the mains. I had fun with that, but unfortunately with my focus on motocross I was not able to do any supercross. To compete at the pro level in one discipline is a lot of work, and for those couple years where I competed in supercross and motocross was a huge effort. Thankfully I had a lot of great people helping me out to make it possible. We had a lot of fun in both disciplines and made a lot of great memories during that time looking back.

    AmSnow: One thing most race fans don’t realize is the amount of time and effort that goes in to being one of the elite athletes of a professional motorsport. Can you give our readers some insight on that?

    T-Train: There is no offseason for us. It is a year round effort for the crew figuring out how we can make our program better. When you think about it, the time we are on the racetrack is extremely small compared to the hours we spend during the week training, building sleds, testing and trying to figure out how to gain those few tenths of a second on the track.

     AmSnow: What is the next thing on your horizon?

    T-Train: Right now the focus is on snocross and trying to repeat the success we saw during the 2014 season. From there we will take it year by year and focus will always be on winning races.

    AmSnow: Your father, Kirk, had a lot of success in cross country racing and we saw you out watching the I 500 a few years ago in Thief River Falls. Any chance of seeing the #68 out there in the future?

     T-Train: I have definitely thought about it, but right now with so much of my focus on snocross it is not something I have been able to fit into my program. At some point I would like to do a couple cross country races and see what it is like, but for now snocross is my focus.

    AmSnow: Speaking of Kirk and his racing, there were a few seasons that you two raced against each other on the pro tour, how was that?

    T-Train: It was a lot of fun, and we raced against each other for two or three seasons, so looking back those are some great memories. Now we like to joke around about who beat who. We both enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun.

    AmSnow: Racing is a family thing. Your uncle, Rex, has done some racing too. Tell us about that.

    T-Train: Yeah, Uncle Rex raced some cross country with Kirk, and most recently he has competed at the Cain’s Quest in Canada for a couple years.

    AmSnow: We have heard of some rituals by the Team Arctic racers with their sleds, like Brian Dick for cross country will pick out VIN #23 for his ride. Do you have anything you like to do?

    T-Train: We do a similar deal each year and try to get the serial #68 and #41 Sno Pro race sleds for our program. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is fun to have those sleds in our program. 

    After our interview Tucker went out and was one of the top seeds in the Dominator race. In his first heat race he lined up against an extremely fast Brett Turcotte and was involved in a mid-race incident at the tight corner at the top of the hill after the big step up. It was obvious that it wasn’t intentional and just a racing incident, but it put the ISOC crew in a tough spot and they had to make the decision if it was a “rough riding” incident. For myself, having been around racing a long time, it appeared to be two fast guys were not willing to give an inch when the lines came together but for the first time ever I heard many fans booing the #68. Ultimately ISOC made the decision to disqualify Hibbert for the incident, but from our time earlier in the day it was obvious that he is laser focused on one thing: winning races and ultimately winning a championship.

    That became even more apparent on Saturday and Sunday at Duluth as Hibbert went on to sweep both Pro Open finals, and duplicated the feat in Fargo the following weekend. You may see a *** in his armor during the heat races, but when it comes to finals it is not very often that you won’t find the #68 black Monster Energy / Arctic Cat Sno Pro at the front of the pack. When it comes to winning, not many people have the success in snocross that Tucker Hibbert has had over his 15 year career.

    Next month the ISOC National Snocross tour will be coming to Canterbury, Minn. where Tucker looks to clinch his 100th career win. Can anyone keep Tucker from this milestone? There will be 14 guys on that Pro Open final start line doing everything they can to steal the win from Tucker if they get the opportunity. 

    - Todd Myers, AmSnow Race Contributor

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