Today’s racing news is as much a shock as it is compelling: In a recent conversation I had with Team Arctic’s Tucker Hibbert, the snocross racing legend confirmed to me that he will race a 4-stroke machine this coming season!
Could this be a watershed moment in the history of big bump racing?
Here’s what Hibbert had to say (and please be sure to read the WHOLE story):
AI: First of all, congrats on another amazing season in snocross, winning 13 of 17 finals as well as the X Games! Somehow, you just keep getting better.
Hibbert: Thanks, we’re really proud of the whole season. Other than a few off-nights, the season was as good as it could get.
AI: Which is one reason why your decision to race a 4-stroke surprised the heck out of me!
Hibbert: Yeah? I figured it would catch a few people by surprise, but I didn’t expect it to be quite as big of a deal as you’re making it to be.
AI: What led to the decision?
Hibbert: The goal for my team and me is always the same: to win races and championships. To achieve those goals, we need the best equipment possible. I feel pretty strongly that a 4-stroke engine is the best for our program.
AI: Why? What is it about a 4-stroke that’s better than a 2-stroke?
Hibbert: As you know, we race on tracks with short straights and big jumps. The three most critical elements for success are getting a good holeshot, getting a strong drive out of the corners, and being able to put the power to the ground. We believe that 4-strokes do this better than 2-strokes. There’s a bit of a gamble to what we’re doing, but I think the proof will be in our results.
AI: What about the weight penalty of a 4-stroke?
Hibbert: Obviously that’s the one significant downside. We think that the positives of a 4-stroke will overcome the weight penalty. We’ve been testing with really exotic materials to offset the weight of the engine.
AI: Are your sponsors like Monster Energy and Arctic Cat in agreement with this?
Hibbert: We have the best sponsors that we could ever hope for. They believe in our team, our program and the equipment decisions we make.
AI: If racing a 4-stroke proves to be too difficult, will you consider going back to a 2-stroke engine?
Hibbert: Our plan is to race 4-stroke the whole season, but if it becomes clear that we need to run a 2-stroke in order to win, it’s possible we’d switch. I really don’t see that happening though.
AI: Well this is really exciting news Tucker, and something that could really shake up the results this season. When and where will be your first race on a 4-stroke?
Hibbert: The plan now is to race the Budd’s Creek AMA Motocross National, as well as RudBud, Millville and Washougal.
AI: Well best of luck this motocross season, where we’ll see you race this 4-stroke machine that we’ve been talking about throughout this interview. I’m sure it will keep you in great shape for the 2015-16 snocross season.