The self-proclaimed “world’s longest and toughest snowmobile endurance race” was no match for Mother Nature this winter, as weather conditions caused the cancellation of the 3,500-kilometer (2,175-mile) Cain’s Quest event in northeastern Canada after a couple of days.
The team-challenge snowmobile race is normally held every second year and takes racers on a long and brutal course, where just finishing the event is a major accomplishment. A total of 31 two-person teams took up the challenge this year when the event started in Labrador City, Labrador, on Saturday, March 4. They were to run a unique and challenging backcountry course that took they through 18 check points over multiple days before wrapping up this coming Saturday, March 11, back in Labrador City.
Instead, unsafe conditions brought a rapid end to the race after a couple of days. Below is the statement from the Cain’s Quest board of directors.
CAIN’S QUEST 2023: RACE CANCELLATION UPDATE
Labrador City, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR – Cain’s Quest board and organizing committee have released the below statement regarding the cancellation of this year’s race.
The Cain’s Quest Board of Directors would first like to thank our amazing racers and their support teams, the many dedicated volunteers who make personal sacrifices and work tirelessly to put on this world class event, and our devoted and passionate community partners and fans.
Yesterday Cain’s Quest made the difficult decision to end this year’s race because of unprecedented weather conditions. Those who have followed past races understand how difficult weather and ground conditions are not only possible, but almost certain to be encountered during a typical Cain’s Quest race.
Difficult conditions are a risk our racers accept (and in some cases seek out) when they choose to take on the Cain’s Quest challenge. The challenge is one of the things which makes Cain’s Quest the most difficult snowmobile endurance race in the world. However, this year’s conditions were unprecedented and the organizing committee made the difficult decision to stop this year’s event to ensure the safety of all involved.
The decision to end the race before racers could cross the finish line was not taken lightly. During the race, Cain’s Quest organizers were continuously assessing the weather and ground conditions through near-hourly consultations with the racers (at checkpoints), checkpoint personnel, past racers, local search and rescue personnel, and trusted local observers.
As a result of these consultations, the decision was made to pause the race for further assessment on the evening of March 5, 2023. After follow-up assessments the next morning the decision was made to resume the race. This decision was supported by our racers who indicated that conditions were difficult but passable; and favoured a resumption of the race.
During the day on March 6, 2023, conditions deteriorated (rapidly in some areas) and the decision was made to again pause the race for re-assessment. Racers were held at checkpoints, and in certain cases, encouraged to return to previous checkpoints, or to remain in place pending a decision with respect to the continuation of the race. In this respect, we would also like to extend our thanks to the remarkable community partners who went to extraordinary lengths to accommodate our racers during the unexpected pauses.
After re-assessing conditions through the night and speaking with the racers yesterday morning, conditions were deemed too unsafe to continue and the decision was made to stop the race. The racers began returning to the start line from various locations with the assistance of their support teams and Cain’s Quest volunteers, where requested.
While the decision to end the race was certainly disappointing for everyone involved; unprecedented conditions made the decision necessary for the safety of our racers and volunteers.
We are continuing to monitor and offer assistance to our racers and their support teams, as well as our volunteers, as they return to Labrador West from the course and we look forward to celebrating what was otherwise a very close and exciting race at our post-race banquet. Cain’s Quest is in the process of determining the allocation of prize proceeds in consultation with racers.
Cain’s Quest fans are dedicated and passionate and we trust they will agree with the difficult decision to stop the race. The racers, volunteers, and organizers truly appreciate the tremendous amount of support from fans directly and through social media.
The exceptionally strong social media activity generated by the race this year (as in past races) is a testament to the popularity and far-reaching following of this world-class event.
We congratulate the toughest snowmobile racers on the planet for a fine outing while it lasted, and we look forward to the next Cain’s Quest challenge.
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