Former St. Alban’s resident wins Cain’s Quest Race

Cindy Cox
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Willmott-Watkins toughest race in the world

So, you’ve been on a few snowmobile runs this winter! You probably think you were very tough out there braving the cold and the wind and huddled up in the cabin for the night.

A former resident of St. Alban’s, Kevin Willmott won the 2014 Cain’s Quest with his buddy Jason Watkins s they were the first team to cross the finish lie on March 8. The determined duo won $50,000 fro their first-place finish.

Well, tell that to Kevin Willmott, a former resident of St. Alban’s, who participated in the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile endurance race - the 2014 Cain’s Quest that is held annually in Labrador.

What makes Cain’s Quest the toughest snowmobile race in the world and not for the faint-of-heart?

The race is held over some of the world’s toughest terrain in bone-chilling temperatures that dipped as low as -50 this year. You’re out in the Big Land at night where mistakes can lead to very dangerous situations.

Kevin is 33 years old and works as a mechanic with the Iron Ore Company of Canada.  Kevin has always been very active in sports. His love for the outdoors included boating, dirt bikes, volleyball, camping and obviously snowmobiling.  After spending seven days on his Freeride 800 CC and traveling what the officials consider to be the most incredible off-trailing riding adventure in the world, Kevin and his teammate Jason Watkins finished the race in first place.

The race began at the start line in Labrador West on March 1 in very cold temperatures and that trend continued during most of their 3,300 km run throughout Labrador.

The seven-day event began in Labrador West and continued on through 20 checkpoints first bringing the racers through Central Labrador to L’Anse au Loup on the South Coast. 

The journey continued on through many coastal communities to Nain before they made their way back to Labrador West. They also experienced a lot of night riding and incredibly tough terrain. The route exceeded the 2012 route by 800 km, adding another daunting level of endurance to the race.

Mr. Willmott stated that they ended up driving mostly at night and would have a mandatory 8-hour stop over rest period.

“There were times when the snow and wind was so severe that I would feel my ski-doo just being blown along the ride.  The -50 temps, dark nights and extreme weather made the adventure very challenging. I left the start line with 768km on my snowmobile and arrived at the finish line with 4500km.” 

Kevin’s parent, Harry and Cora Willmott of St. Alban’s are extremely proud of their son.  Kevin stated that he would not give in even when the challenge of finishing became difficult with the weather against them.

“We held nothing back and kept our speed of 120km an hour as much as possible,” stated Mr. Willmott. 

Team #73, Watkins and Willmott crossed the finish line at 11:08:15 am on March 8th and won the amount of $50,000.  There were 29 teams registered in total of two per team and over 300 volunteers involved.  Only eight teams crossed the finish line and Kevin said that in two years when the race is organized again, he would be participating.  Congratulations to the winners of such an extreme event.

 

Organizations: Iron Ore Company of Canada, South Coast

Geographic location: Labrador West, Central Labrador

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