Thirty teams gearing up for Cain’s Quest 2014 in Labrador

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World’s longest snowmobile endurance race to begin March 1

Racers from as far away as Whistler, BC have registered for the world’s longest snowmobile endurance race, set to begin March 1 in Labrador City-Wabush.

This year’s Cain’s Quest snowmobile endurance race will be the toughest yet, with a new 3,300 kilometre route across Labrador beginning March 1.

Racers from as far away as Whistler, BC have registered for the world’s longest snowmobile endurance race, set to begin March 1 in Labrador City-Wabush.

A roster of 30 teams of two will compete for a $100,000 purse in Cain’s Quest 2014, a 3,300 kilometre stretch across Labrador’s toughest terrain.

The majority of racers are from Newfoundland and Labrador. Other represented provinces include Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, and British Columbia.

This is the first year in the event’s history that will not have a US racer, and Todd Kent, chair of Cain’s Quest Inc, speculated the economy is to blame. 

With preparations well underway, Kent said it’s shaping up to be a good race thanks to the cold weather creating a lot of ice to withstand any mild weather.

Cain’s Quest 2010 race was cancelled after higher temperatures melted the route and endangered the safety of racers.

Canadian Rangers will once again play an important role with search and rescue and emergency response. Their strong presence gives riders peace of mind, Kent said.

“These teams have to be 110 per cent sure that if something goes wrong someone is coming for them.”

Teams must also carry emergency kits which include enough food for a couple of days and a source of fire, and all kits are checked before leaving each checkpoint as well as random checks throughout the race. Teams may also have support crews to drop off fuel, nutrition, and tools at the stops, but only the racers are permitted to work on the sleds.

Kent expects the race to take up to six days.

“But every time I try to guess they do something different and surprise us. So it’s always a shot in the dark.”

This year’s purse will return to the classic first, second, and third prizes. Cain’s Quest 2013 had the money distributed throughout the course so any team could potentially walk away with cash. Kent said putting the money on the finish line is easier to manage administratively.

“But if any company wants to put up money to the first team at a particular checkpoint, we’d incorporate that into the purse.”

Volunteers are beginning to sign on and Kent expects upwards of 300 across Labrador. The race will also be televised by Snowmobile Television.

 

Some facts about Cain’s Quest:

• began in 2006, when 15 teams raced 1,200 kilometres from Labrador City to Churchill Falls and back;

• name comes from Jacques Cartier’s North American expedition, when he referenced the harsh Labrador terrain as “The land God gave to Cain;”

• at 3,300 kilometres, it is the largest race of its kind in the world, now larger than the famous Alaskan Iron Dog, which is marked as 3,269 km;

• since its inception, the race has been tracked by millions of people in over 70 countries;

• the entire event is volunteer based, and each year attracts approximately 300 volunteers fro across the province.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Whistler Quebec Ontario Saskatchewan Nunavut US

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