Lessons in survival: Don’t get between a momma bear and her cubs; don’t tug on Superman’s cap; don’t try to take food away from Warren Sapp; and don’t antagonize Tucker Hibbert.
The Arctic Cat racer known as T Train steamrolled the competition Saturday night in rainy conditions at Shakopee, Minnesota’s Canterbury Park, grabbing an early holeshot and winning in truly dominating fashion – crossing the finish line 32 seconds ahead of second-place Dan Ebert to claim his 51st victory in national snocross racing.
Hibbert suffered his only defeat of the past season-and-a-half a couple of weeks ago at the ISOC national near Salt Lake City, Utah. He entered this weekend ultra-determined, and it showed. He entered the final as the number one qualifier, and made a mockery of his competition in the final.
Off the starting line, the co-holeshots went to Polaris’ Brett Bender, who rocketed through the first turn on the outside, and Hibbert, who used a more central line. While Bender got caught up in some loose snow, Hibbert got traction and rocketed into the next set of turns. In the pack, Ebert traded paint with some other competitors and emerged in third.
It took another lap for Ebert to move past Bender, but his efforts to chase down his mentor proved very much in vain. Lap after lap, Hibbert gained one or two seconds over the rest of the field, leaving everybody far, far behind. Four laps into the 20-lap final, Hibbert’s lead was 4 seconds. Four laps later, the lead was 8.5 seconds. Four laps after that, the lead was 13.8 seconds – and growing.
While other racers tired, Hibbert got faster, slicing through lapped traffic with ease. Four laps later? The lead was now 22.3 seconds – and still growing. Ebert, the winning of the cross-country Red Lake I-500 one week earlier on his No. 60 Arctic Cat, ran a very solid race, and outran a very talented field to claim second, but he was no match for Hibbert.
Bender similarly held third through most of the race and earned podium exposure with a third-place finish. Polaris racer Levi Lavallee held fourth through most of the race but couldn’t hold off a late challenge by Ski-Doo’s Tim Trembley, the winner at Utah who claimed fourth with two laps left and held the spot to the finish. Lavallee ended up fifth.
The rest of the top 10 were Ross Martin (Pol), Emil Ohman (Doo), Corey Davis (Cat), Robbie Malinoski (Pol) and Matt Judnick (Pol).
The Pro Open final will be run Saturday at Canterbury.
In Semi-Pro Stock racing Saturday night, Logan Christian of Fertile, Minnesota, took the victory on his Arctic Cat. Combined with his second in this class at Duluth, third at Milwaukee and foruth in Utah, Christian is setting himself up well in the points race in this class. Justin Broberg finished second, followed by Dylan Martin and Matt Pichner.