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Racers prepare for 200-mile Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race

Man standing next to counter. He is looking a the two other people across the counter, one holding paper and pen

The annual Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race kicks off at noon on March 12, 2022. About 60 racers registered on the night of March 10, which is about average for the Nome-Golovin, Race Manager Kevin Bahnke said.

The racers range from rookies to longtime veterans and even include some who recently competed in the 2022 Iron Dog. In Bahnke’s experience, about half of the racers will scratch.

“And then in the big class, usually about 60% will scratch. So yeah, you’ll see, like 60% of these guys are going to scratch Saturday afternoon,” Bahnke said.

The first 30 miles of the course look pretty smooth, but the remaining 70 miles are rough, Bahnke said. And then, of course, there’s the weather.

“There’s going to be a lot of fresh snow, so these guys, … they’re gonna be burning a lot more gas. … So it’s gonna be tough for them,” Bahnke said. 

Fuel management can be a major strategic factor in snowmachine racing.

“Do you want to be light and fast? Or do you want to be heavy and have enough gas to make it? So it’s a fine line — what do you want to prepare for?” Bahnke said.

This year saw more sign-ups from young racers and women than usual.

“A lot of the veterans are showing their age, so they’re helping out. But we have a lot more younger people racing, so that’s good to see,” Bahnke said.

Among those young racers is 16-year-old Steffen Booth, who finished 11th in the 2022 Iron Dog Race.

Image at top: A racer signs up for the Nome-Golovin race at the Board of Trade Saloon in Nome. Photo by Davis Hovey.

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