Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Good snowpack drives participation in Alcan

 

January 25, 2018

Sean McLaughlin and Dave Zugel take off past the starting line of the Alcan 200 Road Race. They were two of 35 racers to attempt the 155-Mile relay through the Yukon Territory to Dezadeash Lake. Natalie Helms photo.

Snowpack on the highway for the first time in two years made the 49th annual Alcan 200 Road Race "a great year for the books."

Thirty-five riders attempted the 155-mile trek from the Canada border to Dezadeash Lake and back Saturday, which Chilkat SnowBurners vice president Patty Campbell said was one of the race's bigger years.

Haines local Jack Smith Jr. held his spot as the second fastest racer for the second year in a row, driving an average of 110.3 miles per hour. Smith has a top three overall finisher for the last four years. Defending champion Chris Brooks of Haines was knocked out of the top three by first-time champion Scott Smeeton of Whitehorse, who drove an average of 112.1 miles per hour. Smeeton won an award for being the fastest out-of-towner.

After racing for nine years, Haines local Zack Ferrin nabbed his first overall finish, placing third out of 26 participants to cross the finish line. He finished only a minute behind Smith.

"The race was awesome, and conditions were 1,000 times better than last year," Ferrin said. About half the competitors last year didn't make it to the halfway point due to bare asphalt hindering the snow machines' steering mechanisms. Several people crashed and couldn't continue on.

But this year, Ferrin said, "It was warm. You could steer and stop. It was a good year."

Haines' Lynette Campbell was the fastest of four women in the race, including Donna Chambers, Jennifer Chambers and Nicole Holm.

"I have no words. I wasn't expecting that," Campbell said. It was her third time in the Alcan. She said it was windier than expected, and at one point she had to turn the skis on her snow machine sideways to go straight down the road. "I'm pretty proud of myself. I did much better than I thought."

Campbell said the race is team effort. "I only won because my husband worked on my sled," she said.

Ironically, Lynette's husband George Campbell couldn't get his snow machine off the starting line, and he won a raffle for a Parts Place gift certificate out of the nine competitors who broke down and couldn't finish the race.

"It's really all about helping each other," Campbell said.

Jennifer Chambers won the Red Lantern award, given to the last snow machine to cross the finish line.

Campbell said "No matter your experience, anything can happen. Anyone who wants to race can do something."

Racers and their families gathered Saturday night at the American Legion Hall for a banquet and awards ceremony. Haines Hot Shots served the meal and raised over $1,000 for shooting equipment. A Friday night auction and race sign-up at the Fogcutter Bar brought in over $21,000 for the Chilkat SnowBurners. Sunday's traditional snow machine activities at Mosquito Lake were cancelled due to a lack of snow.

Patty Campbell said the Chilkat SnowBurners would like to make the 50th Alcan 200 next year the biggest year yet by increasing advertising and encouraging snowmachiners across the state to get involved.

Overall finishers were: 1) Scott Smeeton, 1:22:56; 2) Jack Smith Jr., 1:24:17; 3) Zack Ferrin, 1:25:38; 4) Nathan Peterson, 1:28:50; 5) Tad Larden, 1:30:51; 6) Sean McLaughlin, 1:31:54; 7) Steve Chambers, 1:31:57; 8) Dan Dickerson, 1:34:25; 9) Chris Brooks, 1:35:55; 10) Jeff Schamber, 1:37:32; 11) Dave Zugel, 1:39:20; 12) Ron Sloper, 1:40:38; 13) Randy Wood, 1:44:40; 14) Rick Campbell, 1:44:52; 15) Mario Paulin, 1:47:29; 16) Michael Bratten, 1:47:43; 17) Ken Schamber, 1:48:45; 18) Lynette Campbell, 1:51:39; 19) Randy Sloper, 1:53:07; 20) Jessie Juhlin, 1:56:43; 21) Josh Moore, 1:57:22; 22) Donna Chambers, 2:01:16; 23) Tyler Ferrin, 2:18:13; 24) Woody Pahl, 2:20:24; 25) Nicole Holm, 2:21:36; 26) Jennifer Chambers, 2:31:10. Nine racers did not finish.

 
 

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