Whitehorse’s Jarrid Davy hurtled down the Haines Highway at near record speeds at the Alcan 200 International Snow Machine Road Rally on Saturday.
Averaging a speed of 191 kilometres an hour, Davy was about two kilometres an hour from the record. (Average times include fuel stops.)
Though just off the record, his speed was enough to win his second straight title in the 651cc-open class, one of four divisions won by Yukoners this year.
Registering the fastest time in all the race’s divisions, Davy completed the roughly 150-kilometre course in one hour, 18 minutes and 11 seconds. The course runs from the Canadian-US border near Haines, Alaska, and goes 125 kilometres to the Dezadeash Lodge, south of Haines Junction and back.
Conditions were better than last year, but still not great, said Davy.
“Drifting was the big problem this year,” he said. “When you’re out front, it’s that much more scary because you don’t know what’s happened in the time the road has been closed. The drifts can go right across the road and when you’re cruising along, at literally over 130 miles an hour, and everything is white, it’s pretty tough to distinguish a drift from just a white patch in the road until you’re right on it.”
At last year’s Alcan, temperatures dropped to below minus 30 Celsius and the course had a lot more exposed pavement than snow and ice.
“The conditions were a little better (this year). The road was really good up to last weekend – snowpacked the whole way,” said Davy. “When we got that cold snap and the wind came up, it blew all the ice off for probably 20 kilometres, when you head down … towards the border.
“That 20-kilometre section made for some interesting riding. You had to go quite a bit slower through there. Last year was completely dry asphalt. There was no snow or ice pack anywhere which made it really tough.”
For the win, Davy outpaced second place’s Craig Hill, of Fairbanks, and third place’s Chris Brooks, of Haines.
Although this was Davy’s second consecutive win, it was Yukon Yamaha’s fourth.
The Whitehorse Yamaha dealership designed Davy’s sled specifically for the Alcan and it’s a beast of a machine – a turbo-four-stroke, with 1,000 cc and 260 horsepower.
“We lowered the machine, lowered the suspension, to lower the centre of gravity,” said Jason Adams, president of Yukon Yamaha. “We put traction products on it. So we put studs on the track and, they’re called, carbide runners on skis for precise handling. We put a lot bogey wheels in the suspension to lessen the friction underneath. We set it up with cooling ducts and we do a lubrication of the sliderails.
“It’s highly modified from stock, you could say. But it looks stock.
“We’re going to keep trying until we get the speed record.”
Davy rode the sled to victory last year. The same snowmobile and another souped-up sled by Yukon Yamaha took first and second in 2010 – ridden by Whitehorse’s Dev Hurlburt and Adams. Adams’ brother, Travis, won the race in 2009 with one the same sled as Davy.
“It’s a pretty incredible sled,” said Davy. “It’s pretty wild to drive.”
Whitehorse riders occupied all the podium spots in the 0-440cc liquid class, one of four divisions won by Yukoners – twice as many as last year.
Trent Derkatch, who won the division in 2007, came first with a time of 1:38:19, beating Justin Peterson (1:43:26) in second and Dale Panchyshyn (1:55:03) in third.
“I did pretty good,” said Derkatch. “My average speed this year was only 94.6 miles an hour because it was blowing a fair bit up top and there were snowdrifts, and you had to steer clear of those. Some people hit them and tumbled their sleds and went off the road.
“My track held together, had good steering all the way through.”
Panchyshyn, who finished second in the class last year, had a rough race, hitting a snow bank and tumbling. He arrived at the finish line without a windshield and a seat on his snowmobile.
“It was something else seeing him come in,” said Derkatch.
Haines Junction’s Ken Schamber gained back his 2010 title in the 441-550cc fan class, coming in at 1:54:08, more than 18 minutes faster than second place’s Tyler Ferrin from Juneau.
Whitehorse’s Mario Poulin repeated his win from last year in the 0-440cc fan class, completing the race in 1:55:16, less than a minute ahead of Davis Tester, of North Pole, Alaska.
Not only did he capture the division title, he won the “Oldest Sled” prize, riding a 1980 Polaris TX 440 Fan.
This year’s Alcan 200 had three more sledders than last year’s with 28. Twenty-three of them reached the finish line. This year also saw eight first-timers take part.
1st Jarrid Davy (Whitehorse) – 1:18:11
2nd Craig Hill (Fairbanks) – 1:21:08
3rd Chris Brooks (Haines) – 2:46:10
551-650cc liquid class
1st Randy Martin (Fairbanks) – 1:31:10
2nd George Juhlin (North Pole) – 1:38:47
3rd Robert Ritter (Juneau) – 1:40:38
441-550cc liquid class
1st Jim Binkley (Fairbanks) – 1:32:52
2nd Steve Cornwall (Fairbanks) – 1:35:04
3rd Nathan Peterson (Whitehorse) – 1:42:50
0-440cc liquid class
1st Trent Derkatch (Whitehorse) – 1:38:19
2nd Justin Peterson (Whitehorse) – 1:43:26
3rd Dale Panchyshyn (Whitehorse) – 1:55:03
441-550cc fan class
1st Ken Schamber (Haines Junction) – 1:54:08
2nd Tyler Ferrin (Juneau) – 2:12:36
3rd John Martin (North Pole) – 2:16:10
0-440cc fan class
1st Mario Poulin (Whitehorse) – 1:55:16
2nd Davis Tester (North Pole) – 1:56:08
3rd Zack Ferrin (Juneau) – 2:30:57
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