Tucker Hibbert seeks ninth consecutive SnoCross win
The same weekend Tucker Hibbert lost his youngest X Games winter event gold medalist record, he set another mark: oldest X Games SnoCross winner. That's sustained excellence.
In 2000, Hibbert was a 15-year-old semi-pro snocross racer and X Games rookie when he earned gold. Fourteen-year-old Chloe Kim set the new youngest-ever record with her victory in Women's Snowboard SuperPipe at X Games Aspen 2015. The next day the 30-year-old Hibbert stomped the XG SnoCross field, winning by 21 seconds and taking his ninth career XG gold in the process.
Hibbert is seeking his ninth-consecutive XG SnoCross win at Aspen 2016. A victory would tie Jamie Bestwick's X Games streak record from BMX Vert -- a stretch that was snapped when Vince Byron bested Bestwick at XG Austin 2015.
Hibbert would never admit to keeping track. "Honestly, Tucker couldn't tell you how many races he's won [or] medals he has," says his wife and PR manager, Mandi Johnson-Hibbert. "He's not one to look back on accomplishments or hold onto numbers. He just works hard everyday to try and improve."
Hibbert's focus is singular and his methods are, well, methodical and almost robotic. "Our whole program is really dialed and my focus is always on being the best I can and achieving my goal, which is always the same: to win," Hibbert says. "As long as I can do that, the records and different things will work themselves out."
The approach has paid off, and not just at X Games. Hibbert is by far the most successful snocross racer in history. During the 2014-2015 AMSOIL Championship Snocross racing season, Hibbert won 13 of the 17 Pro Open finals, recorded his 100th Pro National win and collected his ninth championship title.
In November, he opened the 2015-2016 racing season with a round one win at the AMSOIL Snocross National in Duluth, Minnesota, his fifth consecutive Duluth National Pro Open win. The round two final the following day served as a reminder that he's not invincible: Kody Kamm -- who has taken silver to Hibbert in each of the past two X Games SnoCross events -- claimed the win, edging Hibbert by 0.477 seconds.
"We can't take anything for granted, and that's something I've kept in mind ever since I won my first X Games," Hibbert says. "I wasn't expected to win that event, so I always try not to rule anyone out."
Hibbert started poorly in round two and came from behind to nearly catch Kamm. If there's one thing Hibbert tends to focus on during prep, it's starts. "It's a lot of work to chase someone down," he says.
"If you let him get an early lead on you, you can forget about winning and try for second or third. That's a tall order, to beat Tucker," says longtime rival Levi LaVallee. "He's a total perfectionist, and it's pretty amazing what he's been able to do. But he's definitely beatable, and that's what makes it fun."