Tait keeps his crown at Uphill Challenge

Whitehorse's Darryl Tait can race with the best of them. Tait won half of his races to be named King of the Hill at the 2013 Mount Sima Uphill Challenge on Saturday. It’s a title he shared with Whitehorse’s Jake Jacobs at last year’s Uphill Challenge.

Whitehorse’s Darryl Tait can race with the best of them.

Tait won half of his races to be named King of the Hill at the 2013 Mount Sima Uphill Challenge on Saturday.

It’s a title he shared with Whitehorse’s Jake Jacobs at last year’s Uphill Challenge.

“We gave it to Jake last year because of his results, but we also gave it to Darryl because it was his first significant event since his injury,” said Jason Adams, an organizer with Yukon Yamaha. “This year we’re giving it to him because of his results and his racing ability, being a paraplegic. Last year was a little ceremonial in a sense, this year he deserved it 100 per cent as far as we’re concerned.”

Riding a Ski-Doo 600 RS Custom, Tait placed fourth in the 600cc stock division, an extremely competitive class, on Saturday. He finished middle of the pack in most of the divisions he raced in.

“I love the technicality of it. It’s getting better every year,” said Tait. “It’s my favourite event of the year in the Yukon. It’s a combination of snocross, which I love doing, racing with my buds, and drag racing.”

“Middle of the pack. I feel happy,” he added of his results. “Most of these guys ride quite a bit and I haven’t been on my sled much this year. I’m just happy I’m out riding.”

Tait broke his back performing a flip on his snowmobile at a sledding demonstration in New Hampshire in 2009.

He only got to compete in one race at last year’s Uphill Challenge after the custom seat on his sled broke in an impact from a jump.

“This year, thanks to Mercer Contracting, they rigged me up a new seat and I get to rip it as hard as I want and it’s going to stay solid,” said Tait.

“I’m 100 per cent strapped to my machine, so there’s a lot of calculation and risk involved, making sure I can do what I want to do. I’ve injured myself before and I don’t want to do that again.”

Tait, who won 500cc class in 2009 before his accident, competed at the X Games in adaptive snocross this past January in Aspen, Colo. He finished at the back of the field, but “the whole experience was amazing,” said Tait. “It’s what I wanted to do, it’s what I dreamed about. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for me. If I get invited back again, I’d like to try to do better. (I’ll) just keep working on my seat, try to make it better and better.”

Jacobs was again a force to be reckoned with on Saturday. The 20-year-old won the 500cc combined, 600cc modified, 700cc combined and the open class. He also came second in the 600cc stock and 800cc modified.

“I had a couple struggling points, but overall I did pretty good and I’m happy with that,” said Jacobs, who raced in almost every division. “My whole body is sore.”

Physical exhaustion may have played a part in Jacobs getting bucked off his machine at the top of the climb in an 800cc modified race. “I screwed up my hip and my arm,” said Jacobs. “But I’ll live.”

Jacobs, who won seven divisions at last year’s event, rides for Team Arctic Cat in the International Series of Champions down south. He took in a third-place finish at a regional championship and an 11th at nationals in North Dakota.

He came first overall in the 250cc class in last year’s Alaskan Motocross State Series.

“I’m going to go dig my dirt bikes out and get ready for the next season,” said Jacobs.

It wasn’t only Yukoners racing up Dan’s Descent at Mount Sima. Yellowknife’s Brandon Bradbury stopped in on his way to shoot some snowmobile videos in Alaska and claimed first in the 800cc stock and in the 800cc modified divisions.

“We’re doing a lot of filming in Skagway, Alaska, and this was along the way, so might as well race,” said Bradbury. “It’s pretty awesome. It’s a pretty big hill we’re climbing here. There’s lots of competition and I’m just having a good time.”

Bradbury won a bronze at CSRA National Championships in the pro-light class this year in Kitchener, Ont.

“I’ve never been in a hill climb before, it’s a pretty cool event,” he said.

Other award winners include Kelsey Feldman, named Queen of the Hill, and Brandon Cormier winning Biggest Air. Hans Gatt broke two ribs but was given an award for Best Crash while racing in the snow-bike division, which grew from two entrants last year to nine this year.

Jarrid Davy, sledding in a wrestling onesie, and Graham Putland, riding in a, well, some sort of thong, shared the Best Dressed award.

The only challenge to the noise of the snowmobiles was the robust riffs from the band The Mourning After, who performed sets between divisions.

Saturday marked the second year in a row the event was held at Sima and the third since the inaugural races in 2009.

The event featured more than 50 entries spread over nine classes with more than 380 head-to-head races.

“It’s our best year by far, best track by far,” said Adams, who won the 600cc stock division. “The conditions are great, the weather is great. Everything is falling into place.”

“Yukon Yamaha did an awesome job,” added Jacobs. “I’m glad they put all the work into it.”



King Of the Hill

Darryl Tait (Skidoo 600 RS Custom)


500cc combined

1st Jake Jacobs (Arctic Cat 440)

2nd Jason Adams (Yamaha YZ450 Snow Bike)

3rd Gary Lammers (Yamaha YZ450 Snow Bike)

600cc stock 

1st Jason Adams (Yamaha Nytro XTX)

2nd Jake Jacods (Arctic Cat 440)

3rd Colin Boyd (Yamaha Nytro XTX)


800cc stock

1st Brandon Bradbury (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

2nd Brandon Cormier (Polaris IQ 600 RR)

3rd Jason Adams (Yamaha Nytro XTX)


Snow bike

1st Gary Lammers (Yamaha YZ450 Snow Bike)

2nd Jason Adams (Yamaha YZ450 Snow Bike)

3rd Dale Panchyshyn (Yamaha YZ450 Snow Bike)


Prostock 300cc under

1st Travis Adams (Bravo)

2nd Neil Ryckman (Grizzly ATV)

3rd Peter Jacobs (Bravo)


600cc mod

1st Jake Jacobs (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

2nd Joey Chretien (Polaris IQ 600 RR)

3rd Brandon Bradbury (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)


700cc combined

1st Jake Jacobs (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

2nd Brandon Bradbury (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

3rd Brandon Cormier (Polaris IQ 600 RR)


800cc mod

1st Brandon Bradbury (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

2nd Jake Jacobs (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

3rd Colin Boyd (Yamaha Nytro RTX)


Open mod/turbo

1st Jake Jacobs (Arctic Cat Snow Pro)

2nd Brandon Cormier (Polaris IQ 600 RR)

3rd Jason Vance (Yamaha Nytro MTX)



Contact Tom Patrick at




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