Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today's Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race~

The Nome-Golovin race is nearly 200 miles from Nome along the Iditarod trail to Golovin and back.  Today was the perfect day to stand outside for hours and watch other people ride machines up to 100 mph.  The trail was well marked but expected to be a little slower in some areas because of the rough terrain from the latest storms.  There were three machine classes, a Women's Division and a new Junior Class. 

Because of the pressure ridges along the seawall, the race began at the mouth of the Nome River instead of on the sea ice in front of the East End Park.  Racers began by crossing the mouth then up a ridge across the back of Fort Davis.  We decided to watch between there and the Nome-Council Road.

Fort Davis and spotter planes

Our daughter, home from college :o) for vacation!
There were spotter planes and two helicopters out for air support as well as the Nome Volunteer Ambulance crews, and many volunteer machine riders to follow and sweep the trail.  A group of ham radio operators relayed information to the headquarters in town where results were recorded.

Racer and helicopters
Beginning at noon the racers took off one at a time according to their bib numbers.  They flew across the frozen tundra kicking snow up in their wake.  One had his machine quit in front of us.  He gamely tried to restart it until he succeeded then he returned to the starting chute.  My husband had his radio so we were able to hear when racers passed through check points, scratched and where medics were needed.  

The trail went in front of the spectators here then crossed between the cars and went across the road to the left (east)

Every year there are a few bumps and bruises.  The first two were while the racers were still starting.  One was a person about a mile from Farley's Camp and a medic team headed there.  The second was a collision just passed the first  road crossing when a spectator on a machine decided to cross the trail during the starts.  Luckily the racer was a quick thinker and, although pieces of both machines flew through the air, the racer was able to leave with his wife and the spectator walked to the second ambulance. 
These guys had a great time sliding across the ice while they waited for the finish!

Cruisin' and lookin'

In less than 2 hours from the start, racers were reported through the last checkpoint on their way back to the finish.

One of the planes flying over the race.  It has skis to land on the snow or ice.

The start and finish chute for the 2011 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race
where the winner crossed in 2 hours, 20 minutes.

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