The Yukon River Quest is moving!
The worlds longest canoe race will still run down the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson, but the start date has been changed.
The second annual Yukon River Quest Canoe and Kayak Race will start at 12:15 p.m. on June 21, 2000, the longest day of the year. The 1999 Quest began June 9.
The race is also expanding to include a solo kayak and sea kayak category.
According to the race organizing committee, the addition of the kayak categories had always been planned and the later race date was the result of input from the competitors in this years event.
Several people mentioned that the June 9 date was just too early, said committee member John Firth.
Many of the professional paddlers from the United States are usually unavailable until after the middle of the month. Most European competitors said their summer holidays dont start until mid-June. If we want to achieve our goal of making this an international event, it only makes sense to change the date.
The addition of the kayak categories will also increase the size of the potential field. According to industry sources, almost 90 per cent of all paddlers are kayakers and not canoeists.
One major rule change will increase the number of points along the course where paddlers can receive assistance from their support crew. This year, outside assistance could only be accepted in Minto, where there was an eight-hour mandatory layover.
In future years, competitors will be able to receive assistance from their support crews at the end of Burma Road (just before getting onto Lake Lebarge), Little Salmon, Carmacks and Minto.
Mandatory layover spots will be Carmacks (two hours) and Minto (six hours).
Special acknowledgement will also be paid to the 32 race pioneers who started the 1999 race. When ever they enter the race in future years, their canoe or kayak will be marked with an exclusive identification number.
Race finishers for all years, including this years race, will be given a special medallion to acknowledge their accomplishment. The colour of the medallions will be determined by the time the team takes to complete the race. Teams that finish at or under 60 hours (including the eight hours of layover time) will be gold-level finishers. Times between 60 hours and one second and 80 hours will be silver. Teams that finish after 80 hours will be bronze.
This years Yukon River Quest was won by the team of Soloman Carriere (Saskatchewan) and Jim Lokken (Fairbanks) in a time of 56 hours and eight minutes.
©1999 The Whitehorse Star