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

Bare ashphalt chews up Alcan 200 racers, sleds


January 26, 2017

Snowmachiners struggled to control their sleds on dry asphalt during Saturday’s annual Alcan 200 Road Race, which took a toll on racers and machines.

Ten of 27 racers didn’t make it to the race’s half-way point due to breakdowns or crashes.

Nathan Peterson from Whitehorse, Y.T., who finished in third place overall, said he was launched almost 30 feet into a ditch when he lost control of his machine, but was uninjured and continued on.

“I thought that was it, I’d be waiting for an ambulance,” Peterson said.

In his fifth Alcan 200, Peterson said conditions caused him to slow down about 10 miles per hour. He averaged 94.9 mph Saturday.

Defending race champion Chris Brooks of Haines won first overall, followed 10 seconds later by Jack Smith, Jr. The two local men finished in the same places last year.

Brooks said strong winds, temperatures about minus 30 degrees F. and long stretches of bare pavement made this one of the most difficult races of the last 10 years. “It was pretty terrible conditions.”

Bare pavement can wear down the part of the skis used for steering, making machines virtually uncontrollable, he said.

Haines’ only female racer Nicole Holm fell off her sled, and injured her arm enough to require stitches – through five layers of clothing.

Rookie Donna Chambers from Whitehorse won the award for fastest woman. She also won the “Red Lantern” award for last snowmachine to finish.

“That pavement sucked and the wind didn’t help,” Chambers said. “I just went slow.”

She said she would do the race again next year if there is more snow. “I’m just glad to say that I did it.”

Thirteen racers were from Haines, one more than last year. Brooks, who averaged 101.4 mph, said at Saturday’s banquet at the American Legion Hall that he’s lucky to enjoy the race with great people. “On days like today, it really shows what motivates people.”

Overall finishers were: 1) Chris Brooks, 1:31:43; 2) Jack Smith Jr., 1:31:53; 3) Nathan Peterson, 1:38:00; 4) Scott Smeeton, 1:38:21; 5) Cory Magnason, 1:38:26; 6) Justin Peterson, 1:45:01; 7) Mike Ward, 1:51:01; 8) Steven McLaughlin, 1:53:21; 9) Zack Ferrin, 1:53:25; 10) Nick Martin, 1:54:34; 11) Mario Poulin, 1:57:20; 12) Jeff Schamber, 1:57:52; 13) Ken Schamber, 1:58:43; 14) Fred Graham, 2:02:43; 15) Ron Sloper, 2:04:42; 16) Dave Ewing, 2:16:50; 17) Donna Chambers, 3:11:49.


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