Tucker Hibbert remembers watching his father, Kirk, race at Spirit Mountain in the early 1990s, when Tucker was just a kid.
One year Tucker had a broken leg and was on crutches, with a cast all the way up to his hip, but he begged his parents to let him come.
“I just wanted to come so bad,” Hibbert recalled. “I hobbled around all weekend, just because I love being at this place, and I love being at the races. Now, I get to come here to race, but I’m super thankful for all those memories.”
Now, 25 years later, Hibbert continues making memories.
Hibbert, of Pelican Rapids, Minn., won the Pro final on Sunday’s third and final day of the 26th annual Amsoil Duluth National Snocross at Spirit Mountain.
It was his 18th Duluth National Pro win and 129th National Pro win of his career. Hibbert, who took Saturday’s Pro finale, now has six Pro sweeps at the Duluth National, including 2008-10 and 2013-2014.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Hibbert said. “This was a great weekend for us. I honestly didn’t expect it to go quite this well, but that’s what you always hope for. I think we can build on this for rest of the year. I know we’re not as good as we can be.”
And that’s scary for the competition.
Hibbert was even more dominate Sunday, winning by more than nine seconds on his Arctic Cat, or a little more than the length of the front straightaway.
“Tucker came here to make a point, and he made it,” ISOC announcer Colby Crapo said.
But it didn’t start out easy.
After winning both their heats on Sunday, Hibbert and Kody Kamm, Friday’s $10,000-to-win Dominator champion, had to start the 22-lap final in the less advantageous outside position, part of the so-called “Tucker Hibbert rule” to make the finals more competitive.
Hibbert took off like a bullet, but he knew this was too good to be true, and it was.
“Just go for it, that’s all I could do,” Hibbert said. “I timed the light really well, got a super strong drive all the way to the first turn. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I just got lucky, but I got tagged by at least one guy at the top and lost a couple spots.”
Despite that, Hibbert was in front by the end of the second lap, and began lapping other riders a a few laps after that.
In what was essentially a race for second, Adam Renheim of Lima, Sweden, took second on his Ski-doo, while Lincoln Lemieux of St. Johnsbury, Vt., was third on his Ski-doo.
Lemieux, who races for Aurora-based Scheuring Speed Sports, earned two thirds on a productive weekend. He said the start was crazy.
“It was pretty hectic in the beginning,” Lemieux said. “I was trying to get to the front, but I was kind of getting hit in every direction. Somehow I hung onto it. Throughout the race I kept going through my lines, catching Adam. I passed him at one point, but he got me back. That’s OK. There’s always another race, and hopefully you get better.”
Now 33, Hibbert can’t say there’s always another race. He gets asked reflective questions these days, questions he never was asked when he was 20.
Hibbert’s father was a legend, racing against the likes of Toni “The Flying Finn” Haikonen, who showed others doing doubles and triples is a lot more fun than clearing one jump at a time. Then came Blair “Superman” Morgan, who, borrowing from motocross, changed snocross with his standup riding style and flair.
Now there’s Hibbert, the king of the hill.
Someone will come along to replace him, just as he replaced those legends, but he continues to show it doesn’t have to be just yet.
“One of these days we’re going to catch him, one of these days,” joked a man wearing a Ski-doo jacket.
Hibbert was asked how special Spirit Mountain was to him.
“It’s really special, and I don’t think it’s really going to set in for a number of years just how special this place is to me,” Hibbert said. “I’ve developed a lot of friendships, had a lot of laughs and seen a lot of fans here over the years cheering us on, and I appreciate them always being here for us. This never gets old.”
Daniel Benham Jr. of Deer River won the Pro Lite final, finishing ahead of fellow Arctic Cat rider Martin Molland.
“We put in a lot of work for this,” Benham said.
Polaris rider Cole Cottew of Lake Nebagamon spoiled the Arctic Cat podium sweep by getting past Jacob Yurk on the last lap to take third.
Megan Brodeur, a 17-year-old from Coaticook, Quebec, raced to the lead early and cruised to victory in the Pro Am Women’s final. Brodeur, who qualified No. 1, encountered lap traffic about six laps into the seven-lap race but breezed through.
“I just fought and fought,” Brodeur said. “I gave it everything I had.”
- After a near-capacity crowd Saturday, Sunday’s crowd was smaller despite a gorgeous day, with sunny skies and a 45-degree high temperature.
- Tucker Hibbert, Arctic Cat; 2. Adam Renheim, Ski-doo; 3. Lincoln Lemieux, Ski-doo
- Daniel Benham Jr., Arctic Cat; 2. Martin Molland, Arctic Cat; 3. Cole Cottew, Polaris
- Megan Brodeur, Ski-doo; 2. 3. Marlene Andersen, Arctic Cat; 3. Elina Ohman, Polaris