Hibbert has own goals at Spring Creek
Tucker Hibbert is already the Ricky Carmichael of snowmobile racing, with a list of wins and championships too long to detail.
As for becoming the Tucker Hibbert of motocross racing, well, the Minnesotan and veteran thrill-sport star concedes it's one childhood goal he won't quite achieve.
In a sport fueled by young blood and where many of the top riders are fresh-faced teen-agers, Hibbert rolls into Spring Creek MX Park this weekend as an old-timer at 29.
"I began racing motocross early in my life and that was definitely a goal of mine as a little kid, to become a motocross racing champion," said Hibbert, who will race in the 450 class at the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
This is the ninth round of the 12-round Pro National series, but Hibbert joined the show in progress two rounds ago and is in no position to challenge for the championship against stars such as Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed and James Stewart.
Hibbert placed 34th overall at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich., on July 6, with moto finishes of 29th and 32nd. He did much better last Saturday at Washougal, Wash., where he was 21st overall, and 24th and 19th in the two races. He plans to race the last five rounds of the series.
"It is definitely my aim to win; you always want to win in a race of any kind," Hibbert said. "I'm not talented enough to be up there with the fastest guys and win, and I've come to terms with that.
"But I still have personal goals and things I want to achieve, and for me, to finish in the top 10 is something I've been shooting for for a long time."
Hibbert made his pro motocross debut at Spring Creek in 2000 at age 16, and his best overall finish as a pro was on this track in 2008 when he placed 15th and 12th in the motos for 12th overall.
"The two sports are quite a bit different, but at the same time you use some of the same muscles and movements," he explained. "I'd say I benefit mostly from the mental aspect of just racing and staying competitive (in the snowmobile off-season)."
Team is family
Hibbert rides a Honda motorcycle with plate number 168 but has no factory support, and he arrives at Spring Creek with a close-knit crew that is just a third of the size of his Arctic Cat sponsored snowmobile team.
"It's definitely a lot smaller program," said Hibbert, whohas raced Arctic Cat snowmobiles to 80 national pro Snocross wins, seven pro Snocross national champions, and 11 medals in the X Games, including seven golds.
His crew at Spring Creek will consist of mechanic Mike Burgad, manager and longtime friend Robbie Dahlen, wife Mandi, and dad, Kirk Hibbert, who was a successful snowmobile racer and is an engineer at the Arctic Cat factory in Thief River Falls.
Tucker and Mandi were high school sweethearts and graduated from Thief River Falls High School together in 2002. Dahlen is a 1999 grad of the same school.
"I have a pretty awesome team, my family and close friends," Tucker said. "It's a lot of fun to be working so closely, and it's really special to be together at the races."
Tucker said he couldn't do what he does without Mandi, who became his full-time media rep in 2006, and his wife in 2007. They make their home in Pelican Rapids, or at least it's where they keep their suitcases.
The Snocross racing season has the Hibberts traveling across the nation and to Europe from November through March. Then it's motorcycle season.
"We're not home very much," Mandi said. "That's the life of being professional racers."