Tristen Dias is once again the Kivalliq Snow Challenge champion after he secured victory during Rankin Inlet’s Pakallak Tyme earlier this month.
This year’s challenge featured a record number of racers despite a lack of participants from other communities due to COVID-19.
The annual snowmobile race, which normally attracts lots of competitors from neighbouring Kivalliq communities, ended up having 60 racers taking part over the course of the weekend.
“That’s a pretty high number for locals only,” said Bobby Misheralak, a member of the Kivalliq Snow Challenge organizing committee. “The last races we ran we had 45 people including out of town.”
Over the course of the weekend the races attracted a number of spectators, who were asked to stay in or near their trucks to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.
“There was a huge parking lot made by the hamlet crew. The crowd was pretty amazing and there was a great turnout,” Misheralak told Kivalliq News.
The growth in the number of competitors can partly be attributed to the fact that organizers added new races to this year’s challenge for women and veterans.
Although it only featured four racers, including Mayor Harry Towtongie, Misheralak said the veterans were a hit with spectators.
Their competition featured a single race of eight laps, which was won by Ross Tatty.
“They felt like they were little kids again,” Misheralak said. “When they were done the races they all talked about it. Some of them always wanted to race again, but there was nothing for them to join.
The addition of a women’s category after several year absence from the Kivalliq Snow Challenge, was also welcome for racers and community members.
It included eight racers including two competitors under the age of 18, who had to get their parents to sign off on their participation.
“The two young girls were really exciting to watch,” said Misheralak.
Before the women’s races started, the organizers held a moment of silence for the female racer who passed away in Kugluktuk several weeks ago.
“With that death happening we had ladies stand beside their sleds and hold a moment of silence in honour of that fallen racer.”
Qovik Netser, an experienced racer, was leading the whole way until the final lap when Iris Tatty-Tanuyak pulled up behind her.
Tatty-Tanuyak was rear-ended at the beginning of the race and started in last place. But she kept climbing up through the ranks and eventually passed Netser to take first place at the finish.
“That’s pretty impressive and that’s after eight laps,” said Misheralak.