RIDER PROFILE: DAKOTA HIBLER

She loves to race By the staff of Dirt Wheels Photos by Miller Truby and the Hibler family

Dakota’s dad was able to find a Yamaha Raptor 250 that was already set up for racing, but they have made further mods and personalized the machine.

Dakota Hibler was born in Orange County, California, but her family soon moved to Arizona. The 12-year-old is the youngest of three kids. She started racing almost seven years ago when she saw the KTM Jr. race at a Supercross event and told her father that she wanted to race. Since she didn’t have a motorcycle, the family had to find a place for her to race her Honda TRX90 quad.

Vickie Golden, the first woman to qualify and race in a Supercross main event, inspires her, and racing in a Supercross main event is a goal she shares. Golden also inspires Dakota to always have fun while riding, she explains: “She has told me a few times to always be myself and do what makes me happy.” She finds more inspiration in Kawasaki champion Eli Tomac: “I have had the chance to meet him a few times, and always try to copy him when I am riding, especially the way he tackles the whoop sections.” Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath is another inspiration. “Since I was born in SoCal, and my parents grew up watching him, I got the chance to see lots of old videos and understand how great of a rider he was. He also inspires me to go further in the motorsports world, as he has been able to make a career in so many other realms of extreme sport.”

The thing she likes most about racing are the people, the friends and the time spent with family while traveling to races. In 2020 she is racing the WORCS races on her quad and will be traveling a lot more than when she raced solely in Arizona. Between races, Dakota and her family still find time to ride together in the sand dunes, on desert trails or even in the mountains. “I love riding with my dad and mom, as it’s just us having a blast and spending time together. There isn’t any pressure when we just load up and go for a ride. It helps me relax and remember I started racing to have fun!”

She is fortunate to be racing both a Yamaha Raptor 250 quad and a Kawasaki KLX 140 dirt bike, and she loves both. It is probably her last season on both. Soon she will switch up to a Yamaha YZ125, and hopefully a Yamaha YFZ450 quad. Her favorite racetracks are Shorty’s Sports park in Blythe, California; Mesquite MX in Nevada; Prescott Valley, Arizona; Payson, Arizona; Quartzsite, Arizona; and St. Johns, Arizona. These tracks have all challenged her in some way and have left special memories of the races. The hardest race was in Payson, because the track is challenging with obstacles like rocks, logs and lots of mud.

Not all riders are comfortable jumping a quad, but Dakota takes flying in stride.

Her current racing program is truly a full-family team effort. She is the only family member racing (her dad was injured a few years back and is no longer allowed to race) and is often the only girl in the field. DirtHalo Racing is her father’s way of bringing attention to female racers. DirtHalo is a combination of her initials, her love of playing in the dirt and her being the family angel. It also has ties to the family’s SoCal roots and love for the Anaheim Angels. DirtHalo has become a brand that Dakota is looking forward to expanding into clothing, riding gear and apparel.

Everyone in her family helps with the race program. Dad handles all the mechanic stuff, sponsorship, marketing, and prep for race weekends. Mom handles the house and makes sure Dakota keeps up with her school work, manages her chores and keeps everything in order for Dad to jump in when he gets home. They have laminated checklists so they don’t forget anything.

She advises anyone who wants to race to just do it: “It’s the best feeling in the world when you win a race or win a championship. Be prepared to do the work both on and off the track, and make sure you always race within your means for your safety and the safety of others.”

Dakota plans to race for as long as she can and would like to make a career out of it if possible. She wants to follow in the footsteps of Golden, Hannah Hodges and other female racers by making a difference in the sport. If she is unable to make a career as a rider, then she wants to work with companies involved in the sport: “I want to be able to teach my future kids how to ride and make memories.”

Dakota is fortunate to have high-end protective gear when she races and rides. It gets pretty dirty after racing a quad, though.

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