People in the pits talk about what it’s going to take to stop the T-Train, the nickname for snocross stud Tucker Hibbert.
He went undefeated last year, and this year he opened the second by sweeping both pro classes at Duluth, Minnesota, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Well in Utah for round three, that train turned into a self described “monster truck” but kept on a roll in Pro Stock.
Hibbert was the No. 1 qualifier and jumped out to a holeshot and immediately started pulling away from the field on his Monster Energy Drink-sponsored Arctic Cat.
Behind him, two first-year pros battled it out for second place, as Minnesota Cat rider Dan Ebert and Quebec-native Tim Tremblay on a Ski-Doo swapped the second spot. Ebert was second off the line, but Tremblay took the spot by the end of the first lap. Ebert grabbed the spot back about four laps later and held the runner up spot until about lap 6, when the two traded paint and Tremblay returned to second.
Behind them, Zach Pattyn, Ross Martin and Levi Lavallee slotted into the next three spots and stayed close to each other throughout the event.
About eight laps into the 22-lap final, however, Matt Judnick and Ryan Simons got tangled up in turn in particularly loose snow, and they and corner workers couldn’t separate the two machines. That created a race-long obstacle for competitors, and it just about ended Hibbert run of perfection.
Shortly before Hibbert entered the turn with about 9 laps to go, a third sled got tangled in the mess, and Hibbert came hot into the turn with nowhere to go.
“It was pretty wild man,” Hibbert explained after the race. “Some sleds were stuck there the whole time, and I came around one lap and there was a third sled there and I didn’t know what to do, I just drove right into them….I thought I was done for sure, I said it to myself in my helmet.”
But then Hibbert went “monster truck” on the whole event, clawing his way over Judnick’s sled to get out of the mess. He lost a couple seconds off of his 5-second lead, but he escaped.
“I think I owe those guy some new parts, because I wrecked their sleds there when I went over them,” Hibbert said with a chuckle.
He expanded his lead back to 4.188 seconds by the time he went by the waving checkered flag with his 51rst Pro victory. Everybody behind him stayed in line, meaning Tremblay (Doo) was second, Ebert (Cat) third, and then Pattyn (Cat), Martin (Pol) and LaVallee (Pol). Kaufman (Cat) held seventh, with Steve Taylor (Doo), Robbie Malinoski (Pol) and Andrew Johnstad (Pol) rounding out the top 10.
Tremblay unleashed a fist pump when he crossed the finish line in second. “Second place for my first year as a pro, that’s a pretty good finish, I think,” the French-Canadian racer said afterward.
Ebert seemed to appreciate his spot on the podium, and his battle with Tremblay.
“We had a little contact there but it was good, it was a lot of fun racing there,” Ebert said.
The Pro Open final is just about an hour away – check back for details.