Colby Hill of Fairbanks averaged more than 112 mph to claim the overall title at last weekend's 36th annual Alcan 200 snowmobile race along the Haines Highway.
Hill, riding a 2004 Yamaha RX1 with a 1,000cc engine, covered the approximately 150-mile course - from Mile 42 Haines Highway (just north of Haines) to Dezadeash Lake, Yukon Territory, and back - in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 20 seconds on Jan. 16. He also was the top finisher in the class for machines with 651ccs or more, and it was the third straight win by a Fairbanks racer.
Daniel Ouimet of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, took second overall in 1:23:24 on his 2001 Arctic Cat ZR (800cc), and Juneau's Gerald Grant was third overall in 1:26:25 on his 2003 Yamaha RX1 (1,000cc).
Race organizer Diana Lapham reported that there was very little snow on the highway, so much of the race was run on ice and bare pavement. The temperature at Dezadeash Lake was minus-18 (Fahrenheit), with some wind.
According to race officials, the Alcan 200 is the only snowmobile race in North America to be held on a major highway. During the annual race, the Canadian government closes the Haines Highway to all traffic except the racing snowmachines and official vehicles. The race starts just north of the U.S.-Canada border and crosses sections of British Columbia and Yukon Territory.
Racers leave Mile 42 in an interval start and arrive at Dezadeash Lake about 40 minutes to an hour later. After a short break, the race has a restart from Dezadeash Lake that is based on each racer's arrival time. There are four mandatory gas stops, and drivers must complete the race on a single track.
Fifteen racers completed the course. Among other top finishers, Ron Young won the 551-650cc division with a time of 1:31:11, followed by Mike Langer in 1:31:27. In the 441-550cc class, Jeff Peede won with a time of 1:43:38, and Randy Wood was second in 1:44:58. Greg Peede won the open fan division with a time of 1:39:43, followed by Brett Wener in 1:52:07.
Thirteen racers had to drop out along the race course, including 2004 champ Robert Strle and 2003 champ Paul Keech.