Tucker Hibbert has always maintained that racing dirt bikes is a major contributor to the success of his snocross career. This Saturday, after a three year injury-induced absence, Hibbert is returning to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship for the Steel City National in Delmont, Pa.
From 2000-2009 the 10-time X Games SnoCross medalist and two-time World Snowcross champion competed in the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, all in the lites/250 class. This weekend he is making his premier class debut on a privateer Honda.
"It seems like forever since I've raced a motocross national," Hibbert said. "It's been a little frustrating the past two years having injuries and not racing since I've done it my entire life. It's a part of who I am. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was away from it."
Hibbert's motocross roots go deeper than his snocross career. He was racing bikes three years before snowmobiles and earned his AMA pro license six months before turning pro on sleds. In 2003, Hibbert, then a three-time national snocross champion, suddenly announced his retirement from the sport to focus on motocross and supercross. He raced for Escondido Cycle Suzuki, Motosport Outlet Honda and Motoworld Racing Yamaha. He finished in the top 10 in supercross five times and his best finish in motocross was 12th at Spring Creek in 2008. He returned to snocross full-time in 2010.
Hibbert's 450 class debut was originally set for the summer of 2010 but a knee injury killed those plans. The following year a wrist injury set him back again. Even his 2012 schedule was delayed. He wanted to begin racing in early July but a severe Grade 4 kidney laceration in March at the Lake Geneva ISOC event derailed him. It was the worst injury of Hibbert's career.
"My goal is to finish around the top 10 at Steel City," Hibbert said. "I don't know if it's a realistic goal since I have nothing to judge my speed off of but I feel really strong. I'm looking forward to having a good, clean race and to ride to my ability. If that can all come together, I'll be happy and have a good idea where I sit for next summer."
After the Steel City National, Hibbert will prepare for another season of ISOC Snocross racing where he is a six-time national champion. The season's first event is Nov. 23-25 in Duluth, Minn. SnoCross is also returning to X Games Aspen after one season off and Hibbert plans to defend his gold medal from 2011.