Day 7 had teams embarking on their final journey to the finish line in Labrador West. What was the most gruelling part of the race from the start line through to central Labrador turned out to be much smoother on the way back.
Teams started to depart Checkpoint 17 North West River/Sheshatshiu in the morning after serving a restful 12-hour layover. Team #22 Maine was the first to check-out with Teams #59 Nain, #67 Abel’s Revenge, #3 Where’s Bow Cycle? and #20 Postville leaving just minutes after. The remaining teams left this layover checkpoint at various times throughout the day, with the exception of Team #85 Mary’s Harbour Backcountry Racers, who are scheduled to leave at 8:32 a.m. tomorrow morning.
The leading teams are currently being held at the final remote checkpoint of Esker for a mandatory “off the clock” period to guarantee a daylight finish. As the front runner, Team #22 will be released at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow while the others will leave in the order they arrived after. It is expected the first racers will start arriving in Labrador West around 10:00 a.m. AST. Once the top three cross the finish line, teams will no longer be held in Esker and finish times for those teams will be adjusted accordingly. The prize purse for Cain’s Quest 2016 totals $100,000 with the first place team receiving $50,000, the second $30,000 and the third $20,000.
Team #59 Nain, who were in the front of the pack for much of the race, ran into some mechanical trouble with their sleds in Churchill Falls. They are currently scheduled to leave Esker a little over an hour and a half after the first team in the morning, making it a nail-biting race to the finish.
All teams not in Checkpoint #18 Churchill Falls within 18 hours of the first place team will be disqualified. The cut-off time is 10:04 a.m. on March 11. Cain’s Quest fans will likely be keeping a close eye on their favourites overnight to see who will make it under the wire.
Three additional teams had their Cain’s Quest 2016 journey come to an end today, leaving 18 teams in the race. Team #32 Benuens scratched, or withdrew from the race, due to medical earlier this morning. Racer Sebastian Benuen rolled his sled on his approach into Checkpoint 15 L’Anse Au Loup and suffered a head injury. Our latest reports indicated he was in Forteau Hospital under supervision, with teammate Edmund Benuen at his side. Team #6 CSR Racing scratched mid-morning also due to medical. Racer Gary Travers was traveling with a painful arm injury for two days but refused to throw in the towel until his partner Jamie Butt reached his hometown of Port Hope Simpson, Checkpoint 13. The resilience, determination and comradery of this team is to be commended. Team #70 Innu reported their scratch due to mechanical just this evening during their layover in North West River/Sheshatshiu. To make it this far in the race is a great accomplishment.
For more information on Cain’s Quest, visit cainsquest.com. Follow us on Twitter @cainsquest, use #cq2016 or join the conversation on our Cain’s Quest Facebook page.
Cain’s Quest is the world’s toughest and longest snowmobile endurance race. It is an incredible off-trail riding adventure where teams of two battle in an all-out race through 3,500 kilometres of deep snow and thick wooded areas in some of the most remote parts of Labrador. The race is managed by Cain’s Quest Inc., a volunteer-run, non-profit organization.