Sled racers dash to Dezadeash on Saturday

 


Two local women – including one who will vie against her husband – are set to compete in a field of about 25 men in this weekend’s 47th Annual Alcan 200 snowmachine race.

Resident Lynette Campbell, who finished the race last year but was disqualified for a technical error at a gas stop, plans to use a different sled this year: a 1997 Ski-Doo in the 0-440 fan class.

Campbell, who works for the male-dominated Department of Transportation, said it only occurred to her after last year’s race that she was the sole woman rider. “I thought, ‘Dang, more women should do this.’”

On Saturday, Campbell’s husband will ride the 1973 Ski-Doo she finished on last year. “His sled won’t go as fast as I will,” she said. “This year I just want to do it and finish and not disqualify myself. I’m not really expecting to win anything, but not many people even finish the race.”

Unlike other racers, Campbell won’t be monitoring the weather reports to anticipate race conditions. She plans on just putting in her headphones and enjoying the scenery.

“I’m not going to (check the weather) because that would freak me out. I’m not going to get into my head and over-think things,” she said. “You are all by yourself out there. You have that entire highway for 100 kilometers. Who gets to do that? Through beautiful mountain scenery? It’s the only time that I know of in the universe that you can shut down an international highway and be alone and go as fast as you want.”


Storage and Warehouse, a company owned by the Campbells, is sponsoring Nicole Holm’s first Alcan run this year.

A former race volunteer, Holm decided to compete this year to set an example for local involvement. “A lot of the locals were talking about trying to get more local participation, and I kept popping off saying, ‘Yeah, you have to get your wives and your girlfriends to compete,’ and they said, ‘Yeah, starting with you.’”

Holm will ride a 1995 Polaris Indy in the 0-440 fan class. Husband Tim Holm and brother Tyrell Horton will serve as her mechanics.

Her only goals, she said, are to go at least 40 mph and stay ahead of the sweep rig. “My sled is completely stock. I didn’t change out anything or make it have more ‘oomph’ or power. There is no way I can compete with some of these guys who bring huge modified sleds down from Fairbanks,” she said.

Race organizer Kathi Lapp said she expects about a dozen locals to participate in the 155-mile race, which takes competitors from the Canada Customs station to Dezadeash Lake and back. Local sled drivers Jack Smith Jr., Chris Brooks and Zach Ferrin are expected to compete, Lapp said.


Last year, organizers tried changing how machines were divided into classes, which didn’t go over too well, Lapp said. So, this year, classes are back to the traditional divisions.

“A lot of the guys didn’t like that because the 500cc and the 600cc were in the same class where before they had been split. It didn’t work out well,” she said.

Classes include 0-440 fan, 441-open fan, 0-440 liquid, 441-550 liquid, 551-650 liquid, 651-800 liquid and 801-open liquid.

Weather is always a major factor in the Alcan, but trying to predict conditions ahead of time is always a challenge, Lapp said. Recent heavy rains depleted good icepack, so racers are hoping for more snow to fall before Saturday’s 10 a.m. start time.

Race registration is at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Fogcutter Bar, followed by the Calcutta Auction at 6:30 p.m. The awards ceremony and dinner is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion.

 A “Family Fun Race” is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday at Mosquito Lake, Lapp said. 

 
 

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