Robert Strle of Fairbanks rode his 2000 model Yamaha SRX 700cc to the overall title of the Alcan 200 snowmachine race Saturday, averaging a record-setting 110.6 mph for the 154-mile course from Haines to Dezadeash Lake, Yukon Territory, and back.
Strle posted a total elapsed time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 3 seconds for the 31st running of the race, which many of the snowmachiners in the field use as a tuneup for the $50,000 Thunder On Ice Classic in Marsh Lake, Yukon Territory, later this winter. Strle was the first overall winner in three years to come from the 651cc-open division. His average speed broke the course-record of just over 100 mph set several years ago by John Brown of Smithers, British Columbia, who this year took fifth in the 651cc-open division.
John Terwilliger of Tok took second place overall, riding his 1997 model Ski-Doo Mach 2 800cc to an elapsed time of 1:26:12. Craig Hill of Fairbanks, who rode a 2000 model Arctic Cat Thundercat 1,000cc, took third place in 1:26:39.
Travis Adams of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, who won last year's overall title while competing in the 551-650cc division, took fourth place overall this year, winning his division in 1:28:25.
Todd Smith of Juneau, who took second place overall the past two years while competing in the 551-650cc division, moved up to the 651cc-open division this time but took sixth in the division (15th overall) in 1:41:30. John Armstrong of Juneau took sixth in the 551-650cc division with a time of 1:31:57.
Juneau Snowmachine Club president Brad Smith told the Chilkat Valley News that his club would probably bring 25 machines to Haines for the race, but he said most of those racers would compete in the sprint races today instead of the Alcan 200.
``The majority of us are just trail-rider guys. The Alcan, that's for the big boys,'' Davis said. Davis said the Juneau club members planned to spend four days riding just north of Haines in Porcupine and the upper valley, where they have more than two trails to ride.
``In Haines we can unload, get on our machines and go,'' Davis said. ``And nobody's pointing the finger or complaining about us.''
The race is billed as ``the fastest snowmachine race on earth,'' and follows the Haines Highway from Haines toward Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. Portions of the highway are closed off by the Canadian government for the race, and racers glide over a combination of ice and asphalt.
But that doesn't mean the race isn't without its dangers. If riders aren't careful, they can disintegrate their snowmachine tracks. And, if they're not paying attention to the road surface, the riders can end up doing what's called a Superman, where the snowmachine hits a bump and the rider ends up flying behind his machine, holding onto the handlebars to keep from doing one of those ``Agony of Defeat'' wipeouts down the highway.
Today's action will feature oval racing at an area known as 25-Mile Pullout, where a banked half-mile oval course has been built into the snow.
ALCAN 200 RESULTS
Results from Saturday's Alcan 200 snowmachine race from Haines to Dezadeash Lake, Yukon Territory. Times given are combined from the two runs, from Haines to Dezadeash Lake and the return trip. The race is sponsored by the Chilkat Snowburners of Haines. Hometowns not available for most racers.
Top-three finishers overall - 1. Robert Strle, Fairbanks, 1 hour, 24 minutes, 3 seconds; 2. John Terwilliger, Tok, 1:26:12; 3. Craig Hill, Fairbanks, 1:26:39.
Open fan division - 1. Mario Poulin, 1:56:34; 2. Terry Horsman, 1:56:51; 3. Don ``Duck'' Hess, 2:08:10; DNF/DNS: Joshua Ralfo, Gregg Peede.
0-440cc - 1. Sly Jack, 1:35:11; 2. Tim Sonnenberg, 1:44:18; 3. Paul Keech, 1:45:40; 4. Peter Jacobs, 1:48:12; 5. Ross King, 2:26:43; DNF/DNS: Jaydee Kirby.
441-550cc - 1. Jim James, 1:33:48; 2. Kyle Ratliff, 1:58:32; 3. Tryge Bakki, 2:44:59; 4. Mike Simons, 3:15:52; DNF/DNS: Scott Bradford, Ron Young, Sue Summar.
551-650cc - 1. Travis Adams, 1:28:25; 2. Troy Rideout, 1:29:07; 3. Chris Summar, 1:29:33; 4. Rick Campbell, 1:29:52; 5. Ross Mercer, 1:30:26; 6. John Armstrong, 1:31:57; 7. Elsa Abbott, 1:39:29; 8. Geri Brown, 1:44:48; 9. Rob King, 2:45:33; DNF/DNS: Rich Nicolai, Neil Ryckman, Jeff Summar, Jeremy Sidney, Cliff Terwilliger.
651cc-open - 1. Robert Strle, 1:24:03; 2. John Terwilliger, 1:26:12; 3. Craig Hill, 1:26:39; 4. Randy Martin, 1:28:28; 5. John Brown, 1:34:07; 6. Todd Smith, 1:41:30; 7. Jorge Simmons, 1:42:30; 8. Dev Hurlburt, 1:48;12; 9. Tad Robinson, 1:55:32; 10. Trent Jamieson, 1:57:15; 11. Murray Abbott, 2:00:32; 12. Brian Martin, 2:31:12; 13. Dennis Miles, 2:35:51; DNF/DNS: Jeffrey Summar, Colby Hill.