Tre West Wins his Third Nome-Golovin 200 Race
Sean Octuck had a solid plan for winning the 50th running of the Nome-Golovin 200 Race.
“No fear. Ride smart,” said the 28-year-old racer before the start of Saturday’s snowmachine race from Nome to Golovin and back. When going at top speeds, “You get tunnel vision for a while and then it is ‘grip it and rip it,’” he said.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, especially when you are driving a snowmachine at over 100 mph on a hard, fast, rough trail. Octuck, also known as “Stubby,” was only about seven miles into the race when he said his 2015 Ski Doo MXZ 800 snowmachine started “to fishtail and lost it.”
Octuck wasn’t hurt in the worst crash he’s ever been in, but his snowmachine sustained a smashed windshield, broken gauges, and handlebars that he had to pull back into position in order to drive it. And, he said, he had no brakes because the canister that held the brake fluid broke in the crash. When asked how he raced on without brakes, Octuck simply shrugged his shoulders. The racer who grew up in Nome and now resides in Anchorage, finished in 10th place in the Open Class (800cc), about 13 minutes after the winner.
Tre West, 30, of Nome, won the race in two hours, seven minutes and nine seconds on a 2016 Ski Doo MXZ 800 and reaching a speed of 116 mph.
“I had a clean run, no problems,” West said. “I just held on and did the best I could.”
The Nome-Golovin Race began in 1966 when snowmachines were not as powerful and couldn’t go as fast. The race then entailed going from Nome to Teller and back. The Nome to Golovin course was adopted in 1972. This year’s race offered nearly $11,000 in prize money with the top three teams in each class sharing the winnings. Alaska Airlines donated plane tickets to the Open Class winner.
Calvin Schaeffer holds the 2000 race record of 1 hour and 57 minutes.
Quinn Schaeffer, who drove a Polaris 800 and was the first racer out of the chute, finished in second place in two hours, nine minutes and 29 seconds. He was confident before the race and liked his position of being first on the trail. His game plan was to, “Just let the machine do the work and try to relax.”
“I think I got a pretty good chance this year. The machine is running very good,” said the 40-year-old Kotzebue racer. “I will be able to see better and I won’t have to contend with snow dust.”
Quinn said he had a good, clean run. Lucas Bauman finished in third place in two hours, ten minutes and one second. Johnny Bahnke III was fourth at two hours, ten minutes and 18 seconds. Five Open Class racers did not finish.
Bauman, 25, of Nome said the trail was rough and his machine bottomed out more times than he cared to remember, but he managed to stay on.
“I wore myself out trying to hang on,” he said.
In B Class (600 cc) Aaron Loyer finished first in 2:13:21, followed by Nicholas Reader at 2:15, Dickey Moto Jr. at 2:18:26 and Harold Lie at 2:18:50.
In A Class (fan-cooled) Wally Carter Jr. finished first in 2:50:27, followed by Randy Toshavik in 2:52:00, Wally Carter Sr. in 2:57:46 and Daniel Dickey in 2:58:27.
Dora Hughes won the Class D women’s race in 1:16:43, followed by Katie O’Connor in 1:19:05, Katie Hannon in 1:37:26 and Maggie Ahkvaluk in 1:56:22.
Bubba McDaniel completed the Class E Juniors race in 1:29:48.