The Chilkat Snowburners is gearing up for one of the most unique races in motorsports.
The club puts on the Aurora 200 Road Rally, a 200-mile snowmachine road race that weaves its way along a closed Canadian highway. This year’s race is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21, according to club president Kathi Lapp.
Lapp said the race begins at Mile 42 of the Haines Highway at the U.S.-Canada border and is contested entirely within Canada. From the border the course heads north for 100 miles, crossing from British Columbia into the Yukon to a turnaround point at Dezadesh Lodge then back to the finish line.
Lapp said the event – billed as “the longest snowmachine road race in North America” – requires a special permit to close the highway leading into the remote Southeast Alaska town from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on race day. Since there isn’t a ferry scheduled that day and it’s a weekend, Lapp said the highway wouldn’t otherwise get much traffic aside from a few long-haul truckers.
“Through the years they know when it’s coming up,” she said.
There are cash prizes for winning as well as other prizes such as fastest woman, fastest out-of-towner, fastest local, rookie of the year, oldest sled and even a “Poor Broke Down” award for the first sled out of the race.
Haines locals finished 1-2 in 2016, with Chris Brooks winning the title and Jack Smith Jr. placing second. North Pole’s George Juhlin finished third.
The festivities kick off Friday, Jan. 20, with a Calcutta auction at the Fogcutter bar. The race begins at 10 a.m. (Alaska time) on Saturday, Jan. 21, with an awards banquet and dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion. Sunday’s events include snow drag races at 11 a.m.
For more information, visit alcan200.org.