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More Women, Rough Snows Freshen Competition in 2018 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race

Racers sit at long tables set up in the Armory for the official sign-up of the 2018 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race.
Racers gathered at the official sign-up for the 2018 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race. Photo: KNOM.

Tomorrow is the 52nd annual Nome-Golovin snowmachine race. It’s a whirlwind event: 53 racers in 4 classes will speed off from the sea ice at the east end of Nome, and in just a few hours, all the action will be over.

Race director Kevin Bahnke says part of the event’s popularity comes from its fairness:

Everything is even for the guy coming from Kotzebue, Unalakleet, Anchorage, Fairbanks. No matter where they’re coming from, everyone’s got the same tools, the same fuel, the same course, so it’s literally between man and machine.

Or woman and machine. According to Bahnke, there was more interest in the women’s race this year, both from racers and sponsors. Sixteen women will race tomorrow to Topkok and back, competing for a first-place purse of around $4,000. The top prize for the men’s open class will be between $4,000-6,000. Bahnke says prizes vary year-to-year, based on sponsorship and fundraising.

The 2018 course is the same as in years past, but Bahnke says the winter weather is keeping things fresh:

We had a lot of snow this year, so it’s making that interesting. At first it seemed like it was going to be very smooth, very fast, but with all the snow, it’s gotten very rough.

Check-in inspections start tomorrow at 11 am on the east end of town. The first racer leaves at noon. KNOM will be bringing you live coverage of the races from 12-3 pm.

Gabe Colombo also contributed reporting to this story. Image at top: Racers gathered at the official sign-up for the 2018 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race. Photo: KNOM.

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