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Archie Ferguson Willie Goodwin Sr. Memorial snowmachine race set for Friday start

two men behind snowmachines
Team 14 leaves Kotzebue. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog, used with permission (2023).

Registration for entry into the annual Archie Ferguson Willie Goodwin Sr. Memorial Snowmachine Race is today in Kotzebue.

The annual event, which usually starts on a Saturday, will be moved to Friday, March 31 this year due to the weather.

The race runs 220 miles from Kotzebue to Noorvik, Kianna, Selawik and back to Kotzebue.

Since multiple storms hit the area in the past week, there is a need to protect riders, according to race organizer Paula Octuck. First-person accounts on the race’s social media pages show the course trail covered with a lot of new snow.

“We are looking to change the start date to Friday, March 31, around noon,” Octuck said. “That’s the best day. (That’s) the only window that looks promising and safe for the racers to run the entire trail.”

There were 63 racers in 2022. They expect a similar turnout this year, Octuck said.

Octuck, the president of the Arctic Circle Racing Association, said the winner of last year’s race saw his dream come true.

“The prediction of George ‘Bruce’ Lambert to win the race came true. George had a really great year last year,” Octuck said. “He took home the overall trophy. He ran the B class, so he took first place for that as well, and it was just a really great race.”

Lambert also finished the Nome-Golovin 200 snowmachine race this year in the top spot with a time of 2:21:40.

Race officials released preliminary prize amounts; the overall winner will pocket $2,000, while the first-place finisher in each class — Fan-cooled, 600 cc and Open — will win $2,500 plus 50% of the entry fee in the class.

The first racer into Noorvik from each class will also take home $200.

Image at top: Snowmachiners getting ready to race out of Kotzebue in late February 2023. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog, used with permission (2023).

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