Snow flies at Up Hill Challenge

After a disastrous 2007/08 season, Mount Sima faced an uphill battle to get back on its feet. On Sunday, as part of its restoration, Sima was the site of another uphill battle -- literally.

After a disastrous 2007/08 season, Mount Sima faced an uphill battle to get back on its feet.

On Sunday, as part of its restoration, Sima was the site of another uphill battle—literally.

In the first organized race of its kind in the Yukon, more than 35 riders participated in the Snowmobile Up Hill Challenge, hosted by Mount Sima and Yukon Yamaha.

Starting at the bottom of the mountain, by the chalet, riders tore up the hill two at a time, taking a few turns and jumps along the way.

“Basically it’s a short, uphill, semi-drag race, snowcross hill climb,” said participant, organizer and Yukon Yamaha sales manager Gary Lammers, who also finished first in the 600cc event and second in the 700cc.

“It’s designed like all three of those categories.”

Yukon Yamaha had approached Mount Sima with the idea of the event in past years, but it never got off the ground. However, with the resort under new management that’s open to trying new things, it was only a matter of time before such an event was staged.

“We’ve been trying to do it for a couple of years now,” said Lammers. “The guys at Yamaha thought it would be a great idea to use the facility. The hill’s closed and there’s plenty of snow.

“They have these kinds of races down south all the time and everything needed is here, so it was just a matter of organizing it.”

Ross Mercer, who was the world record holder for the longest snowmobile jump until just a couple of weeks ago, finished first in the event’s final three races.

“It was awesome, I had a lot of fun,” said Mercer. “I’ve never done a hillcross before … I look forward to coming back next year.”

Mercer won the 700cc, 800cc and open event riding his Skidoo 600cc RS, but was not allowed to race in the 600cc because of modifications to his sled.

Representing the next generation of riders, Brandon Cormier, the Challenge’s youngest rider at just 13 years old, finished second in the open event.

Despite being less than half the age of some of the riders, Cormier wasn’t intimidated.

“Not at all,” said Cormier. “I’ve been riding (with adults) ever since I started sledding.

“I just tried to keep it in full-throttle the whole time.”

More than 100 spectators came out to watch the races and enjoy the barbecue, many of which paid $5 for the privilege of watching from up at the top of the hill. The success has Mount Sima’s area manager, Guillaume Rochet, already talking about next year.

“We have more than 35 racers, so it’s just great,” said Rochet. “Next season for sure (we’ll hold another)—maybe bigger. It’ll be bigger—the full weekend—with maybe a freestyle show Saturday night; we’ll have the beer garden outside and maybe a barbecue up the mountain.”

Results

500 cc

1st Darryl Tait

2nd Scott Smeeken

3rd Colin Boyd

600 cc

1st Gary Lammers

2nd Clint Aibel

3rd Jason Adams

700 cc

1st Ross Mercer

2nd Gary Lammers

3rd Ben Sternburgh

800 cc

1st Ross Mercer

2nd Jason Adams

3rd Colin Boyd

Open

1st Ross Mercer

2nd Brandon Cormier

3rd Jordan Sands

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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