Frequently Asked Questions


Q.  Where did the name Cain’s Quest come from?

A. Following the story of one of Jacques Cartier’s famous expeditions to North America, Cain’s Quest came from a reference that Cartier made to the harsh landscape. He referred to the coast of Labrador as “The land God gave to Cain”. From this story and the vision of the race, Cain’s Quest was born. This name represents the adventure the race promises to be and captures the essence of the land that hosts it.

Q.   How are team times determined?

A: Racers are always “on the clock” unless on a mandatory layover. Racers depart from the start line in 2 minute intervals. Their clock begins at the start line and will be adjusted for time delays at checkpoint #1 (Churchill Falls). During race week all team times are recorded and updated on the website.

Q.  Do the racers ride at night?

A. The racers ride day and night, guided by a GPS. They are required to stop at pre-determined checkpoints along the route. Many of the checkpoints are “express” where both team members must sign in but are processed very quickly by a team of volunteers. The remainder are considered “mandatory layovers” where racers have to stop for a certain amount of time and are provided with accommodations.  If racers stop between checkpoints, they are still on the clock.

Q.  How many people on a team?

A.  There are two people on the race team but many teams have support crews. While support teams can provide advice, support, tools and nutrition, only racers are permitted to work on their machines (with the exception of welding).

Q.  Do they ride on groomed trails?

A. Racers are not permitted to ride on groomed trails except where indicated beforehand by Cain’s Quest.

Q.  Are there penalties?

A. Yes, as deemed necessary by the Race Marshall in consultation with the Race Marshall Committee. For example, if teams are late to the mandatory racer’s meeting and safety inspections, a penalty will be imposed.  Teams may file protests against other teams which could result in penalties.

Q.  What is the most popular type of machine?

A. It varies from year to year. In 2012, the most popular race sleds were the Bombardier’s Summit and Freeride E-tech mountain machines. Many racers are still deciding their sleds for 2014 race so it is hard to predict at this time.

Q.  How cold does it get?

A. The Labrador wilderness can get quite cold in early March. Racers have had to drive through temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Celsius. Of course, many of the checkpoints communities have also experienced unseasonably high temperatures during this time as well so temperatures and weather that time of year is hard to predict.

2014 RACE

Q.  Why is the race starting earlier this year?

A. The Cain’s Quest Inc. board of directors felt that an earlier start date would increase the chance of colder temperatures, avoiding the mild weather that impacted the 2012 race and forced the cancellation of the 2010 race. Particularly as the 2014 route takes in the south coast and straits area of Labrador

Q.  How long is the route?

A. The route is approximately 3,300 kilometres, making it the longest Cain’s Quest race since its inception in 2006. It also makes it the longest snowmobile endurance race in the world.

Q.  How long will it take to finish?

A. It is estimated that the route will take five to six days to complete. Racers must brave sub-zero cold, poor visibility, and deep snow; pushing their snowmobiles and bodies to the limits in order to reach the finish line. Weather can play a major role in completion time.

Q.  What is the prize?

A. The purse is $100,000, the largest purse in Cain’s Quest history. The payout positions per team are $50,000 for 1st place, $30,000 for 2nd place and $20,000 for 3rd place.


Q. Can teams choose their own numbers?

A. Race teams can choose their numbers upon registering. Non-registered teams can reserve a number for an annual fee of $100. If a team requests a number that had been assigned to a previously registered team, the last team to hold the number will be given first right of refusal and an opportunity to pay the reservation fee for that year. If declined, the number is considered forfeited and can be assigned to another team.

Q. Can teams use the Cain’s Quest logo for their race graphics?

A.  Any use of the Cain’s Quest logo must be approved by the Board of Directors to ensure it follows the logo’s standards of use. Teams are not permitted to use the logo for fundraising purposes.

Q.  Is fuel available at all the checkpoints?

A. Fuel will be available at all checkpoints with the exception of the remote checkpoint of Birchy Lake, located between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and L’Anse au Loup.

Fuel in the checkpoint communities can be purchased by race teams from pre-identified community pumps that will be available around the clock for racers. Teams must pre-pay for fuel at the Cain’s Quest remote checkpoints stations of Crystal Lake, Sail Lake and Esker but will only be charged for the amount of fuel he/she signs for.

Q.  What is the average speed?

A. Teams travel at varying speeds depending on the weather and snow conditions. The average works out to about 40 kilometers an hour.

Q. Do racers have to follow a selected route between checkpoints?

A. Racers can travel any course between checkpoints and often scout these in advance. Racers are not permitted on groomed trails, highways, high-risk areas identified as out of bounds by Cain’s Quest.

Q.  What do racers do in the event of an emergency and there are no emergency personnel in the vicinity?

A. All GPS equipment carried by the racers are equipped with an emergency call button that dispatches to Cain’s Quest headquarters. Emergency personnel will respond as quickly as possible from the nearest checkpoint. Cain’s Quest has emergency responders strategically located throughout the course.

Q.  Do teams who receive minor medical help receive treatment off the clock?

A. If medical personnel conduct medical checkups on racers due to a concern for their health and safety, checkups will be given off the clock and racers must comply or risk disqualification.

Click on the following link for a pdf version: FAQs FINAL

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