Turbo charged Yukoners top Alcan 200

For 36-year-old Jason Adams, the Alcan 200 is a race in a league all its own. And he should know; the Whitehorse resident raced professionally for eight years.

For 36-year-old Jason Adams, the Alcan 200 is a race in a league all its own.

And he should know; the Whitehorse resident raced professionally for eight years.

“It’s a one of a kind in the world; there’s no other race like this,” said Adams. “I feel privileged to be a part of it. Even if you’ve been a professional rider for years, it’s still mindboggling.

“The only race similar to this would be the Baja 500 or the Baja 1000 down in Mexico – or the Dakar (rally).”

In the middle of last month at the Alcan 200, a snowmobile race from the Canadian-US boarder near Haines, Alaska, to the Dezadeash Lodge south of Haines Junction and back, Yukon sledders proved hard to catch, with four Whitehorse residents making the podium and two winning their class.

For Whitehorse’s Dev Hurlburt, winner of the open, 651 cc and up class, it was his best finish in 15 attempts.

“I raced it 14 other times and I think I got second four times and third three times,” said Hurlburt. “Finally, everything worked well. I owned the snowmobile for the last three years, but it was specifically prepared by the (Yukon) Yamaha dealer to participate in this event.

“I’ve had contending machines before, but never the ultimate.”

Making the difference for Hurlburt, and open-class second-place finisher Adams, who rode a very similar sled, were the turbo charged Yamahas, which increased the engine’s output to 295 horsepower from about 175 horsepower.

“That coupled with the fact it ran flawlessly; there was no burned belts, no broken wheels, no blown track, no worn off skis,” said Hurlburt. “Everything has to work together perfect to make it good.”

“(Yukon sledders) are always competitive – those boys from Alaska definitely know what they’re doing and have been successful – but I think the bar has been raised with these machines we’re running,” said Adams. “The turbo-charged, four strokes that you can get from Yamaha now, the reliability is there and it creates a whole new ball game.

“It really is a different type of race to run when you’re dealing with that kind of power. You have to be super focused because when you’re doing 150, 160 miles per hour and all of a sudden there’s three- or four-foot snowdrifts on the road – you have to be on your game.”

Other noteworthy performances by Yukoners were from Peter Jacobs, taking fourth in the 651 cc to open class, and Luc Gauvin, winning the 0 to 440 cc class.

With average speeds often reaching up towards 240-kilometres an hour, breakdowns are common enough to keep half the field from finishing the race most years.

This year, with snowy conditions preventing the sledders from really pushing their machines to the max, only eight sledders failed to reach the finish line.

“This year was a little different because there was a fair amount of snow at the one end,” said Hurlburt, who had an average speed of 170-kilometres an hour. “There was heavy snow and then there was drifting, so the overall speeds were down some because of the visibility and the snow cover on the road. That makes it so the machines hold together better because you can’t attain high speeds for long periods of time.

“With the snowmobile the dealership put together for me, I could reach high speeds very quickly. So having to slow down for snow covered drifts or snow-covered portions of the road, I was able to get up to high speeds quickly to make up for having to slow down.”

The Alcan 200 received more coverage than usual last year when the race experienced its first fatality in 41 years. Alaska’s Jeffrey Peede, 38, died instantly early in the race when his snowmobile collided with a guardrail on the Three Guardsman Pass.

The race had about a dozen fewer competitors entered than in 2009, but that had less to do with last year’s fatality than having to wait for the Yukon government to inform organizers whether the race will get the necessary road closures, said race organizer Karen Hess.

“I didn’t get that word from them until sometime in probably late October and some of these guys like to start getting their sleds ready late summer,” she said “We were not sure because of what happened last year. We jumped through all the hoops, but we didn’t get the word right away.

“So I think some of these guys decided to take a year off.”

However, last year’s open-class winner, Travis Adams, Jason’s brother, may have given entering a second thought after last year’s accident.

“Normally we run two separate machines,” said Jason Adams. “I think, in light of what happened last year, he wasn’t overly keen on doing it again.

“I don’t think it’s a final decision, he’s just taking a year off,” he said.

“It’s hard to come back to reality after doing something like that. The speeds were baffling and throwing extreme weather conditions into the mix, and the pressure of knowing there’s a competitor that is equal or better in terms of horsepower, it definitely plays a factor in your mind games.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read