The winner of the Nome-Golovin 200 snowmachine race this year is George Lambert.
A crowd of more than 100 pit crew, family members and well-wishers gathered on the sea ice in front of Nome for a noon start on Sunday, March 12. The start was delayed from Saturday after weather conditions prevented air support from taking to the skies above the race.
Lambert crossed the finish line at Sunday’s Nome-Golovin 200 snowmachine race riding a Skidoo 850. He finished in the top spot with a time of 2:21:40.
Cody Sherman finished second overall with a time of 2:25:24 and Casey Sherman finished in third place overall with a time of 2:27:22.
Even though Lambert was the overall finisher, he wasn’t the first across the finish line. The women’s class, which runs a shorter trail from Nome to Topkok and back, saw Shayla Johnson take first place with a time of 1:19:09. Trisha Parker ran in second place with a time of 1:38:39. In third place in the women’s class was Traci Karmun with a time of 1:45:11.
The fourth racer in the women’s class, Ivory Okleasik, had to scratch from the race after an unfortunate accident on the trail. Okleasik was picked up on the trail and transported to Norton Sound Regional Hospital where her injuries and status are unknown.
Race manager Kevin Bahnke added that everything went exceptionally smooth, with only a handful of non-serious wrecks to report.
“We had a few wrecks, and only one person had to get picked up from an ambulance out by the road crossing, that was it,” Bahnke said. “So far everyone’s been accounted for, so everything’s gone very smooth.”
Johnson said the men’s classes tamped down the trail for her and her fellow women’s class racers, which made an easier go of it.
“It was pretty good,” Johnson said. “I thought it was going to be pretty bumpy, but the guys smashed it down for us. I just did my thing and came back pretty quick.”
The two other classes this year that ran the complete Nome-to-Golovin trail and back were the 600-cc Class and the Fan-Cooled Class. In the 600-cc Class, Casey Sherman finished first, while Dale Ellanna won the Fan-Cooled Class with a finish time of 2:29:04.
A total of 34 racers took off from the starting line, but only 24 made it all the way home to Nome for the finish. There were 10 racers that did not finish. Two racers — Joe Fulwood and John Walluk — scratched before the start of the competition.
After the race, Lambert said the trail this year was exceptionally challenging.
“Pretty gnarly … (it was a) pretty gnarly trail right after top,” Lambert said. “Going up on top was pretty rough.”
Of note was the fact that Lambert came through the finish line so fast, race fans had a hard time telling it was his bib number screaming past the checkered flag.
“That’s probably one of the smoothest parts of the track,” Lambert said.
The good news this year is that there were no major incidents, according to Bahnke.
“It actually went fairly smooth considering how rough it was,” Bahnke said. “We didn’t have to do any medevacs.”
One of the youngest competitors was 17-year-old Stephen Booth. He finished in third place in the 600-cc Class.
“Through the hills was probably the toughest, they’ve got bigger bumps through there, pretty much all of it is, but you have to make fun of it somehow,” Booth said.
As the overall winner, Lambert took home a grand prize of $3,500. In the Open Class, the winner received $2,200, second place received $1,500 and third place received $800.
The prizes for the 600-cc Class were $2,200 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $800 for third place. In the Fan-Cooled Class, the winner received $2,000, second place received $1,000 and third place received $500.
In the Women’s Class, the winner received $2,000, second place received $1,000 and third place received $500.
This year’s fastest rookie, John Peterson, finished in 2:30:50 and will pocket $500.
Official results for the race can be found below.13NomeGoloRacePKG-RESULTS
Image at top: George Lambert, sporting bib no. 5, crosses the Nome-Golovin 200 finish line at top speed on Sunday. Photo by Matthew Schmidt (2023).