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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Bone Up on Snocross, Turkey


We've said this before, still it seems appropriate: Some of Tucker Hibbert's rivals have never actually seen him from this perspective.
Time to bone up on snocross, and turkey. That's the tradition in Duluth, Minn., anyway, where for the 17th straight year Turkey Day Weekend brings snocross National racing to the Spirit Mountain ski area.

Official practice for the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series Duluth National opens Friday morning, with the first Monster Energy-Slednecks Invasion Tour stop slated for Friday night, and big-time racing Saturday and Sunday. Find times and tickets here.

Tucker Hibbert, who's courting career National win No. 39, was driving to a practice track from his home in Goodridge, Minn., yesterday morning in order to squeeze in some more sled testing before the weekend. Sled Man Talking reached him by cell phone.

EXPN: So just how fast are your sleds?
Tucker Hibbert: "Real fast, I hope. That's what we're working on right now, just trying to get 'em better and better all the time. That's always the question though: Are they as good as they can be?"
Sure, he's all smiles now. But make no mistake—Tucker Hibbert will jump you.

How long have you been testing them? "We've been riding for three weeks now. We took a trip out to South Dakota to do some riding after a big snowstorm because we really don't have any natural snow here in Minnesota. But there's a few practice tracks that have snowmaking equipment, so the last few weeks we've been riding a lot at a track that's about an hour from my house."

Who are your chief rivals this season? "It's hard to say. That's usually the big question mark before the first race. But the main guys, I think, will be T.J. Gulla, Ross Martin and Levi LaVallee. They're the same guys who were fast and strong all year last year. Then, there's always a few new guys who move up from semi-pro and can challenge even if you don't know a whole lot about them."

Have you been sharing any practice tracks with those guys? "Nope. So I don't really know what their status is, and that's kind of the excitement of the first race here. You don't really know how those other guys are running until you get to the track for the first time."

Your dad, Kirk, is still with your Monster Energy Arctic Cat team? "He's still our lead mechanic. And the team is pretty much the same as last year. We're psyched."

What's the plan this year in terms of balancing snocross and motocross? "I'm going to do the first four [snocross National] events on the schedule, and then X Games, and then that'll be it. Then I'll be back on the bike getting ready for motocross this summer."

What role does the turkey play in your preparations for the first race? "It's always tough to get together with family and do much Thanksgiving celebrating beforehand, because we've got so much going on, but we will have some turkey dinner and then get into some good racing, hopefully."