Kotzebue’s George Lambert wins Nome-Golovin race
By Megan Gannon
George Lambert won the Nome-Golovin snowmachine race on Sunday. Riding a Ski-Doo 850 and wearing bib number 5, Lambert was racing in the open class. He finished the 200-mile race along the Iditarod Trail from Nome to Golovin and back with a time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds.
“It was a pretty nasty trail, but I kept the rubber side down, made sure everything was good, made my way home and I finished,” Lambert told the Nugget after picking up his trophy and prize money during the awards banquet at Board of Trade in Nome. “I took it easy all the way into Golovin, so when I turned around, I was able to see where my competitors were, and they were close. So, after Golovin I pushed it pretty hard all the way home.”
Cody Sherman of the open class placed second overall, crossing the finish line after 2 hours, 25 minutes and 24 seconds. Placing third overall was Casey Sherman of the 600-cc class with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 22 seconds. Of all the racers in the fan-cooled class, Dale Ellanna finished first with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 4 seconds.
The women’s course took the racers from Nome to Topkok and back, and Shayla Johnson finished first, in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 9 seconds.
The race was originally scheduled for a Saturday noon start, but with white-out conditions reported along the trail, the organizers decided to postpone the event to Sunday.
“Safety is our number-one priority,” said Kevin Bahnke. “A group of guys that traveled along the trail and the people in White Mountain couldn’t see along the trail. So if they can’t see going 10 miles an hour, and these guys are going 100 miles an hour, it’s not safe.”
Thirty-four racers lined up on the sea ice outside of Nome on Sunday for the noon start time with dozens of spectators watching—both on the ground and in helicopters and planes circling in the air. Skies were clear and temperatures were in the single digits. The improvement in the visibility helped, but racers still had to face tough snow conditions. The trail was packed hard and full of bumps. The wind was also blowing hard around the Topkok Hills. There were a lot of sore limbs in Board of Trade after the race.
“It was pretty gnarly,” said John Peterson of Golovin. “My arms were just killing me.”
Peterson got second place in the 600-cc class with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 50 seconds and also took home the Rookie of the Year award. Being from Golovin, he’s traveled on the trail many times but this was his first year racing it. “It’s always something I wanted to do, and I finally got to this year,” Peterson said.
The overall winner was awarded $3,500, while the open class prizes were $2,200 for first place, $1,500 for second and $800 for third. The amounts were the same for 600-cc class winners.
For both the fan-cooled class and the women’s class, first place earned $2,000, second got $1,000 and third won $500.
That meant that all three women who finished the race picked up awards. Trisha Parker got second place with a time of 1 hour, 38 minutes and 39 seconds, and Traci Karmun came in third with a time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 11 seconds.
A fourth racer in the women’s class, Ivory Okleasik scratched after a serious wipeout just outside of Nome. Emergency responders went to the scene, and her family later posted on Facebook that Okleasik had to be medevaced to Anchorage where she received surgery on her back.
Bahnke said besides this crash, there were no other major accidents in the race.
Last year Lambert won the 600 cc class with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 30 seconds. Open class rider Tre West won the 2022 race overall with a 2 hours, 5 minutes and 50 seconds. No records have been set in the race since 2000, when Calvin Schaeffer won with a time of 1 hour and 57 minutes.
“The machines have gotten better—the weather hasn’t,” Bahnke said.
2023 Nome-Golovin results:
Overall Winner: George Lambert
C class Open
1. George Lambert, 2:21:40
2. Cody Sherman, 2:25:24
3. Nicholas Reader, 2:2919
4. Mike Morgan, 2:31:02
5. Tre West, 2:31:28
6. Bubba McDaniel, 2:42:41
7. Ethan Kelso, 2:50:25
8. Cody White, 3:07:21
9. Tim James Sr., 3:10:46
10. Art Amaktoolik, 3:12:38
Scratched from open class: Leroy Bradley, Joe Fullwood, Cody Moen, Ty Gooden
B Class 0-600 cc
1. Casey Sherman, 2:27:22
2. John Peterson, 2:30:50
3. Steffen Booth, 2:31:07
4. Jacob Hannon, 2:33:13
5. Donny Johnson, 2:34:59
6. Nolan Horner, 2:46:06
7. Michael Lyon, 3:13:20
8. George Apatiki, 3:28:20
Scratched from 600-cc class: Jay Adams, Johnny Bahnke, Martin Lewis, John Walluk, Andy Peterson IV, Haylen O’Connor
A Class fan-cooled
1. Dale Ellanna, 2:29:04
2. Quinn Schaeffer, 3:05:11
3. Justin Horton, 3:12:32
Scratched from fan-cooled class: Luke Smith
D class Women’s
1. Shayla Johnson, 1:19:09
2. Trisha Parker, 1:38:39
3. Traci Karmun, 1:45:11
Scratched from women’s class: Ivory Okleasik