2019 Nome-Golovin: A good race a day late, Johnson wins
The 2019 Nome-Golovin 200 snow machine race managed to wedge itself in between winter storms and out going ice for a successful and satisfying running. Forty-seven riders started and 31 finished.
Erik Johnson of Nome was the fastest of the day on his Polaris and first across the line with a time of 2:06:59. Fastest in B Class, 600cc machines, was Ski-Doo driving Tyler Aklestad with 2:16:30.
The fan class was taken by Quinn Schaeffer on a Polaris with a 2:28:56.
Trisha Parker took the women’s class with 1:16:21.
A series of winter storms had buffeted Nome and it looked like maybe the weather on Saturday was going to be a problem. At the racer’s sign-up Thursday night Kevin Bahnke told the assembled riders that they’d look at the situation Saturday morning and make a decision. During the race Kevin Knowlton explained how it went.
“We were watching weather all Friday and then Saturday morning,” he said. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory with heavy winds and snow to start in the afternoon. “We thought maybe it would come in sooner than that so we called it and by 1:30 p.m. it was a good call, because the weather had deteriorated quite a bit by then” Knowlton said. The weather was so bad by 1:30 p.m. that nobody questioned the call.
“And then today also looking at how big that system was, we had our fingers crossed that it would settle down by mid-morning and we’d have a good race day and that’s what we got. So Mother Nature is reading our script,” Knowlton said.
Racer Bethany Horton, who finished fourth in the women’s race, said it made for a difficult wait. “It was pretty nerve wracking to sit there and wonder when the race was going to happen,” she said. Did she get up to look out the window frequently? “Not really. I was outside most of the time.”
Shayla Johnson, second in the women’s, rode down from Kotzebue for the race. She’s Nome born and raised but works at Maniilaq. “Pretty fast, nice race this year,” she said. She wasn’t worried about the race not happening. “It was smooth. There were only a couple bumps I hit. But it was fun.” The Nugget asked if she saw Mary Sue Hyatt on the trail. “Yeah she ran out of gas. She told me to go get some gas but I’m on empty right now.” Can she do the whole race on one tank? “I had to gas up at Topkok.”
Shayla Johnson was one of a group of six who rode down from Kotzebue for the race.
“We started at around six in the morning,” said Frank Lane. “It was pretty good. It was cold enough that it ended up being a good ride.” The distance is 321 miles. “It took us about 12 hours, stopping in between every now and then,” Lane said. They had only one mechanical issue and that was at Golovin.
Donald Johnson is the father of Shayla and overall winner Erik, and Cody Sherman, also a racer, is his cousin’s son. “I raced this 45 years ago,” said Johnson.” How fast were the sleds then? “Oh, maybe 85, 90 mph. That was back when we used to stop at Solomon to gas up. We didn’t have big enough gas tanks back then to go all the way to White Mountain. So we had to gas up at Solomon at the old Solomon Road House.”
Last year’s women’s winner Mary Sue Hyatt ran out of gas on the way back. “Yep, ran out of gas,” she said. “850 burns a lot of gas.” She described the trail as “smooth and fast.” She was in front when she ran out. “Heck yeah, I was in first place, man! Next year the racing committee should have a gas station for the girls from out of town! It’s no fair the guys get free gas and we’re going 100 miles and don’t get gas. That’s unfair.”
Erik Johnson, bib #9, 2:05:44
Jarvis Miller, bib #15, 2:07:10
Cody Sherman, bib #10, 2:07:25
Tre West, bib #13, 2:12:29
Lucas Bauman, bib #16, 2:13:15
B Class (to 600 cc)
Tyler Aklestad, bib #42, 2:12:30
Aaron Loyer, bib #43, 2:14:41
Nick Olstad, bib #49, 2:14:59
River Jones, bib #51, 2:18:39
Chris Olds, bib #55, 2:18:40
A Class (Fan Cooled)
Quinn Schaeffer, bib #91, 2:19:56
Lonnie Gooden, bib #92, 2:20:32
John Walluk, bib #87, 2:22:11
Jason West, bib #90, 2:23:10
Dwight Amaktoolik, bib #89, 2:25:01
D Class (Women)
Trisha Parker, bib #74, 1:06:06
Shayla Johnson, bib #71, 1:06:25
Dora Hughes, bib #77, 1:16:21
Bethany Horton, bib #76, 1:18:40
Alice Amaktoolik, bib #72, 1:21:24