Outsiders: Craig Duncan

Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2006

Age: 54

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Favorite outdoor activity: Car racing. Duncan races with his Tucson, Ariz.-based brother when he can. The two race a variety of cars, including spec racers. Duncan recently was able to race with his son Brad at the St. Johns Grand Prix in Arizona, he said.

Second: Fishing. "When I can't race, which is most of the time, I fish," Duncan said. "I enjoy it even if I do not catch anything."

Work: Juneau city finance director.

Training program: Duncan has taken a variety of race classes. He said the sport is expensive. "You have to be willing to pay the cost of doing it, which isn't cheap," Duncan said.

Inspiration: Duncan said he always has enjoyed speed. He also cites his older brother's interest and collection of race cars, which are available to him.

Accomplishments: Beating his brother. "Last time we went racing he spun out of control and I won," Duncan said. "He races more because he lives in Arizona and has more money to do it."

Challenges: Duncan said it is easy to blow an engine. Taking corners and slowing down is tough, he said. "It is easy to go fast on a straightaway, but very difficult to slow and shift while taking corners at that speed," Duncan said. "If you don't time it all correctly it can upset the balance and lead to a crash."

Near-death experiences: Duncan said he has been bumped by other racers at 100 mph, but that most racers are careful because they don't want to destroy their cars and pay for damages "out of their own pocket."

The closest call he had was at Gold Creek Basin, where he had to endure near blizzard conditions.

"In 1975 I went hiking with a few people and we were dropped off by a helicopter at Gold Creek basin on a Friday night," Duncan said. "We expected to hike out no later than Sunday, but didn't get out until Tuesday."

Duncan said it was one of those days it was snowing sideways. The group was rescued by a helicopter when the storm cleared.

•Outsiders is a weekly profile in the Juneau Empire's Outdoors section.



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