Labrador City, NL Canada, March 11, 2016 – The winner of Cain’s Quest 2016, the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile endurance race, is veteran Team #22 Maine Racing comprised of racers Andrew Milley of Labrador City, NL, Canada and Robert Gardner of Mercer, ME, USA, who crossed the finish line at 9:12 a.m. AST. In second place is rookie Team #3 Where’s Bow Cycle?, with racers Warren Alsip and Dion Wakefield from Alberta, finishing at 10:02 a.m. Third place goes to veteran racers Joey Lukan and Robert Newton from Saskatchewan’s Team #67 Abel’s Revenge, crossing at 10:11 a.m. All finish times are unofficial until the necessary checks have been completed.
This year’s race has been the longest in Cain’s Quest history with a route of 3,500 km that covered 19 checkpoints and all regions of Labrador, known affectionately to locals as “the big land.” The first part of their journey was intense as racers left the start line the evening of March 4 and traveled through deep snow and slush for most of the way to Checkpoint 2 Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“The first major leg of the race was tough on the racers,” said Glenn Emberley, Chair of Cain’s Quest. “What took them a little under 12 hours during the last race in 2014 took teams between 19 and 31 hours to complete this year.”
Conditions improved considerably as teams made their way to the north coast. After the elimination of remote Checkpoint 3 due to weather conditions, most teams took the same route to Checkpoint 4 Hopedale and many continued onto Checkpoint 5 Natuashish, an Innu Nation community, in daylight hours.
“Racers seemed pleased to actually be able to see the north coast, the beautiful Nunatsiavut territory, in the light,” said Glenn. “This was the strategy behind the evening start so that, although racers started out in the dark, it would flip after the first portion of the race.”
The travel down the south coast through NunatuKavut territory to the Labrador Straits was relatively smooth as well, although there was less snow along the route. As they headed back to central Labrador, racers faced the snow-covered Mealy Mountains and took longer than anticipated to reach Checkpoint 17 North West River/Sheshatshiu. The trip back to Labrador West was quick and, as a result, the front runners were held up at the last checkpoint to ensure a daytime finish.
The 2016 Cain’s Quest has been the most socially engaged race to date. Anxious fans had their eyes glued to the YB Tracking page at cainsquest.com. Thousands of posts, photos, videos and stories were also shared among Cain’s Quest fans throughout Labrador on Facebook and Twitter. The Cain’s Quest Facebook page “likes” nearly doubled to over 13,000 throughout the week and reached over 384,000 people.
“We’ve had so much great feedback from our Facebook followers. Our volunteers at each of our checkpoint communities were amazing and we loved seeing the footage of the racers meeting the dedicated fans in each corner of Labrador,” said Glenn. “Racers have commented on the warm hospitality, smiles and delicious food they received everywhere they went.”
Fans from all over the world were watching the race on their screens as well. Since March 1, 2016 the cainsquest.com website received hits from 77 different countries, had 76,513 unique visitors and received 1.33 million page views, far surpassing the stats from 2014.
2016 was also a banner year for team registrations. A record-breaking 37 teams signed up to race, with 14 teams (38 per cent) crossing the finish line. The Quest may be over but the stories of camaraderie, sportsmanship, determination, hardship and celebration will last forever.
Organizing an event of this magnitude requires a significant amount of cash and in-kind support. It would not possible without the generous support of governments, sponsors and partners.
“We are extremely appreciative of everyone who contributed to this race,” said Glenn.
A celebration of racers, volunteers, organizers and sponsors will be held at 6:00 p.m. on March 12 at the Labrador City Arena. The top three teams will be presented with their awards. One team will also receive the prestigious Jacques Deschênes Memorial Sportsmanship Award. Voted on by fellow racers, this award exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship throughout the race with ethical behavior, fair play, and integrity. The award’s name is in honour of a racer who died tragically in a plane crash in 2010. Jacques had competed in Cain’s Quest from 2006 to 2009 and, was not only a skilled racer, but a true sportsman and adventurer. The Tail Light Award will also be presented to the last team to cross the finish line.
“Although all award recipients are very deserving, in our eyes, all racers are winners,” said Glenn. “One thing is guaranteed – any racer who dares to challenge the legend will be left with the experience of a lifetime.”
For more information on Cain’s Quest, visit cainsquest.com. Follow us on Twitter @cainsquest, use #cq2016 or join the conversation on our Cain’s Quest Facebook page.
Cain’s Quest is the world’s toughest and longest snowmobile endurance race. It is an incredible off-trail riding adventure where teams of two battle in an all-out race through 3,500 kilometres of deep snow and thick wooded areas in some of the most remote parts of Labrador. Cain’s Quest is celebrating 10 years of operation in 2016 with eight races under its belt. It is managed by Cain’s Quest Inc., a volunteer-run, non-profit organization.