FIRST ACROSS THE FINISH— Mike Morgan of Nome crosses the finish line of the Archie Ferguson Willie Goodwin Memorial snowmachine race in Kotzebue last Sunday, winning the overall title and his class.

Mike Morgan wins Archie Ferguson Willie Goodwin Memorial race in Kotzebue

Nome’s Mike Morgan overall and in the open class won the 2016 Archie Ferguson Willie Goodwin Memorial snow machine race put on by the Kotzebue Lions Club.

Due to blizzard conditions, the 220-mile race was postponed for several hours on Saturday until it was called off for the day. Race Director Claude Wilson said the weather was still poor on Sunday morning at the rescheduled noon race time. The race committee waited several hours for weather updates from the villages of Noorvik, Kiana, and Selawik.

              After receiving favorable weather reports, the race started at 3:00 p.m.

The course took the 77 entrants in three divisions from Kotzebue across Kobuk Lake to Noorvik and Kiana on the Kobuk River, then through the forested area to Selawik and back to Noorvik and Kotzebue. The B Class led the way with 29 participants. The C Class and Fan Cool Class had 27 and 21 respectively.

Mike Morgan won the open class and overall in a time of two hours, 46 minutes and 44 seconds, which earned him $8,575. Second place winner is Kotzebue’s Brad Reich Jr., with a time of 2:48:24. He received $4,545. Third place finisher is Nome’s Tre West, who crossed the finish line in a time of 2:49:46 earning him $3,030. In each division only the top three get paid out.

Also racing from Nome were Lucas Bauman, Jade Green, Erik Johnson and Buddy Okleasik.

Morgan said the weather at times had white-out conditions and big snowdrifts and two feet of fresh snow slowed the race down. “People got stuck, there were broken bones and broken parts all over the place,” Morgan said.

He built his Polaris 800 Indie sled specifically for Kotzebue conditions. He said a few days prior to the race and the snow dump, he went over the trail and deemed it a trail fit for record-breaking. However, the blizzard turned the fast trail into an obstacle course that forced riders to skip across the snow drifts on Kobuk Lake. His cousin Nick Reader was his pit stop crew. Racers supply their own fuel, which suits Morgan fine, as he’s running on a special gas mix.

Morgan has entered the Kotzebue race six times, and with last weekend’s win, notched his third victory. He won overall twice and his class once.



C Class (Open)

  1. Mike Morgan 2:46:44
  2. Brad Reich II 2:48:24
  3. Tre West 2:49:46

B Class (600)

  1. Steven Williamson 3:08:21
  2. Jared Walker 3:09:59
  3. Jan Westlake 3:14:26

A Class (fan cooled)

  1. Brent Jones 3:45:49
  2. Floyd Stoney 3:46:08
  3. Joe D. Garfield 3:53:20


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