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March 16, 2009

Alcan 200 – Testing in WI

Last week was one of those ‘pinch me I must be dreaming’ periods where I am reminded how cool it is to be working for Yamaha. I found myself at our testing facility in Wisconsin along with several guys from Yamaha USA, Victor fromgroup.jpg Russia and a few engineers from YMC. The agenda entailed some very focussed meetings and an opportunity to test ride some new project prototypes. Snow conditions were not that great around Minocqua so we travelled up to Hurley Wisconsin where the trails were in surprisingly good shape. We had some awesome riding conditions under sunny skies at 12F and even manged to run into some fresh grooming.You can see by the smiling faces on this rag-tag bunch of outlaws, at times life in the ‘office’ is pretty good!

Jeff Rmid-race-2.jpgyan an old pal of mine from BC,  sent me the following story and I found the concept quite amazing. It’s about one of the best kept competition secrets in snowmobiling, the Alcan 200. Imagine if you will, taking a wide sweeping section of highway close to a hundred miles long, hitting it with a giant Zamboni, and running an out and back, no holds barred ice / road race rally for snowmobiles. Welcome to the Alcan.

Here’s what Jeff had to say:



“The race happens in a place that most people have never heard of, smack-dab in the middle of no where. The track is a twisty highway covered in a thick layer of ice, 86 miles one way with 2 fuel stop’s, racer’s leave 2 abreast and 15 second’s apart. After the racer’s arrive at the end of the first leg the ambulance and sweep truck’s clear the track and then they race back to the start. There is some more info on the Alcan 200 website. This year was the 40th aniversary of the event.


In 2008, the Alcan 200 was won by an SRX700 Big Bore with an average speed of 117 mph. The all-time record average speed is held by the same machine  at120.08 mph. To my knowledge this is the only snowmobile road race in North America. There is typically about 40 entries in this race of which only half will make it to the finish.alcan2.jpg The race is held in the Alaskan Panhandle and BC running into the Yukon and took place on Jan 17-18. This years winning rider is Travis Adam’s from Whitehorse, Travis was the last Canadian to win the overall in 98, he has had 3 first place finishes in different classes since first running the Alcan.



Yamaha has long dominated this event, the average speed record is 121mph and is held by a mod SRX, (these thing’s are legendary for their aerodynamic’s and engine reliability.) The second fastest average speed came from a near stock SRX600, remember the 2 fuel stop’s each way, these sled’s are moving FAAAST… Most rider’s dont need the fuel but they MUST stop, remove the cap and put the jerry can spout in the gas tank This year #2 and #3 were the Hill brother’s from Alaska on a pair of RX1 turbo’s.



alcan3.jpgTravis ran a 2008 Apex RTX, extensively modified specifically for this one single race. It is not a trail sled for the rest of the season and will sit til next January. The build is based on a McXpress 270hp turbo kit, due to lack of soft snow for lube and cooling a Nytro rad is installed on the back and a rail spray lube system is added. It’s geared as high as possible and the sled will exceed 160mph oalcanwinr2.jpgn GPS, tracks will not last long at this speed so a little control is required. Travis held the machine at just under 140mph to minimize a possible disasterous track explosion. Travis told me that he has seen a pile of track debris on the hi-way and the trackless sled 1.5 miles up the road, no brakes and just idler’s on glare ice makes for a long, scary glide

alcanwinr6.jpgTravis had his sight’s on not only the overall win but also the average speed record but unfortunately the second half of the race went through bad weather and ‘white-out’ condition’s. Travis still took the overall but was unable to get the new average speed record, his average was 113mph. Get this, Travis started in 11th– so on the 6th row–that’s 90 second’s back of row 1 and he was 1 minute ahead at the half way point (86 miles). Last year Travis lost when he ran out of fuel almost within sight of the finish line, he was leading by a long shot. Travis is funny, I dont know if you can say this but pre race jitter’s get to him big-time, he get’s diarea and vomiting prior to to any race he enter’s… the whole family is involved in racing, have been for a long time. Interesting folks as they aren’t in it for the glory, it’s simply what they love to do.

Unfortunately there was a tragic death in this years race, a Yamaha loyal rider, running in the vintage class on board an SRV540 Jeff Peede, saddly, did not make it through to the end.”

So there you have it… 120 mph AVERAGE over 200 miles, good thing there are no Caribou in the north! Congratulations Travis and Yukon Yamaha, job well done!! and a special thanks to Jeff for sending in the details.

Cheers  cr

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Posted @ 11:06 am in Competition and Racing,Yamaha People and Communication   

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7 Responses to “Alcan 200 – Testing in WI”

  1. DOUG CALDWELL says:


    Thanks Doug, I was not aware of that and kudos to the boys for helping the family… thx cr

  2. DoktorC says:

    I’m sure they’re all smilin’ because they know what’s under the hood of the Y12…:)

    We hear very little about the Alcan 200 every year. I can’t believe it doesn’t garner more publicity!! An average speed of 121mph???? I like to ride fast and all…but…jeeeez that’s movin’.

  3. George says:

    Just wanted to know how big was your smile when you were riding the project proto’s, just a smirk, or was it the ear to ear stretch!

    pretty decent grin but I don’t want to start peeing gas on the fire, just pleasantly surprised based on what I had heard from those that went before me… cheers cr

  4. Mark says:

    Another good racing BLOG! 121 mph average speed. That is movin’
    Thanks for sharing that with us.


  5. pat the rat says:

    ok,that’s enough,how can we get a job with yamaha and test these proto’s,its not fair to make us drool like that ah,ah.very interesting on that alcan race,Ive heard of it before,holy cow,121 mph average is insane,so is the 160 mph turbos,i like the part where it gets squirley when the track leaves the sled,must make for a wild ride

    I can only imagine the sound and hit one would feel at 140mph as the track grenades and piles into the bulkhead…whew cheers cr

  6. 8BU says:

    Can’t believe a dirty, smoky, can’t find it’s power till 8000 some rpm, unreliable, two stroke SRX beat two RX1’s with turbo’s. Wonder how bad the SRX would have stomped them with a turbo on it.LMFAO

    sorry 8BU but the SRX record was set prior to the arrival of the turbos… what is interesting more to me is that the SRX is quite likely the only smelly old 2-stroke that can be ridden at that speed for 200 miles without puking!! 😉 cr

  7. PhatboyC says:

    Never heard of Alcan 200 before. Wow what a race! Speed Channel should get on that one.

    Since your talking about SRX’s…You did such a great job on writing its story that we are still accounting you responsible for part 3. 🙂

    Doh! cr

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