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Cain's Quest nearing final stage, as organizer says race could end by Thursday

Cain's Quest began on Sunday in Labrador City, and could wrap up as early as Thursday afternoon at the race's current pace according to organizer Chris Lacey. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)
Cain's Quest began on Sunday in Labrador City, and could wrap up as early as Thursday afternoon at the race's current pace according to organizer Chris Lacey. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)
Cain's Quest began on Sunday in Labrador City, and could wrap up as early as Thursday afternoon at the race's current pace according to organizer Chris Lacey.
Cain's Quest began on Sunday in Labrador City, and could wrap up as early as Thursday afternoon at the race's current pace according to organizer Chris Lacey.

Cain's Quest began Sunday in Labrador City and could wrap up as early as Thursday afternoon at the race's current pace, according to organizer Chris Lacey. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The head organizer of Cain's Quest says racers are nearing the final leg of the snowmobile endurance race and it could all be over by early Thursday afternoon.

Team 99, composed of Randy and Sebastien Malleck of Sheshatshiu, led the pack of racers as of 3 p.m. NT on Wednesday as they make their way to Churchill Falls.

Race organizer Chris Lacey said the team holds about a two-hour lead over teams 73 and 79, also of Labrador West.

"Pending no major hiccups and the way that they're racing right now, we suspect that we'll start seeing teams [at the finish line] shortly after lunch tomorrow," Lacey said Wednesday. "I got to be honest, their pace is faster than I had anticipated."

Thirty-one teams started the over-3,000 kilometre race on Sunday, and 19 teams remain as of Wednesday afternoon. Many of the teams pulled out of the race due to mechanical issues with their snowmobiles, and Lacey said medical crews have had to be called in to help teams as well.

Weather played a key role in decision-making leading up to the race, culminating in a route change announced Saturday that cut out the south coast of Labrador.

Lacey said there have been some problem spots, like Rigolet, where there isn't a lot of snow, but the new route has worked out better than expected.

"Stuff is definitely hard packed, and there's not much forgiveness in it, which has caused a lot of damage. A lot of havoc on some machines. But all in all, I think the conditions are what I would consider favourable for the race," he said.

"Going up to Schefferville and stuff added the extra kilometres that we did lose, sadly, from having to cut out the south coast. But having Lab West as the first-ever checkpoint was something huge."

Chris Lacey is chair of Cain's Quest. The race has been rerouted to avoid the south coast of Labrador, which has seen rain and warmer weather conditions this week.
Chris Lacey is chair of Cain's Quest. The race has been rerouted to avoid the south coast of Labrador, which has seen rain and warmer weather conditions this week.

Lacey says conditions have mostly been favourable. The race has been rerouted to avoid the south coast of Labrador, which has seen rain and warmer weather conditions this week. (Alex Kennedy/CBC)

Lacey thanked volunteers and others involved in race planning as the finish line approaches, and singled out residents of Schefferville, Que., who fed racers and kept businesses open to support them on just days' notice.

The closing ceremonies for the race are scheduled for Sunday.

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