Cain's Quest

  • February 11, 2014

Cain’s Quest is the world’s toughest and longest snowmobile endurance race. It is an incredible 3,300km off-trail riding adventure where teams of two battle in an all-out race through deep snow and thick wooded areas in some of the most remote parts of Labrador, Canada.

The race kicks off in Labrador West on March 1 and continues through 20 checkpoints, first bringing racers through central Labrador to L’Anse au Loup on the south coast. From there, they will start a northern journey through many coastal communities to Nain before making their way back to Labrador West.

Thirty teams of two have registered to date. One will be travelling all the way from the remote Arctic city of Iqaluit, Nunavut, the first team to register from that territory since the race began in 2006. The remainder comes from Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The idea for a snowmobile race in Labrador had been kicking around for quite some time. From a winter tourism perspective, it was felt that the region needed something to attract visitors from outside the area. Labrador needed a special event to highlight the region as a premiere snowmobiling destination. It would have to be something that would be long standing with economic benefits and it would have to be something new, exciting and popular worldwide. Taking into account that Labrador is known for its extended winter season and rugged landscape, it seemed only fitting to create an event that would showcase the true beauty of this northern region. An event such as a world class snowmobile endurance race seemed like a perfect fit. The wheels were in motion and Cain’s Quest would become a reality and would prove to be a bigger success than could have ever been imagined.

Why is it called Cain's Quest?

The name represents the adventure the race promises to be and captures the essence of the land that hosts it. Following the story of one of Jacques Cartier’s famous expeditions to North America, Cain’s Quest came from a reference that Cartier made to the harsh landscape. He referred to the coast of Labrador as “The land God gave to Cain”. From this story and the vision of the race, Cain’s Quest was born. 

Cain’s Quest was piloted in 2006. 15 teams raced from Labrador City to Churchill Falls and return. This 1200 km race would set the stage for what would fast become the longest race of its kind in Canada. In its inaugural year, Cain’s Quest attracted 3 teams from Quebec, 10 from the Labrador City/Wabush, 1 from Goose Bay and 1 from Forteau/L’anse au Loup area. These registration numbers were indicative of what the race would become. It quickly became obvious that there was a huge appetite for this type of extreme sport. The race went off beautifully. Racers were transmitting satellite signals along the route on to Hits from all over Canada and the United States proved that this race was something to watch for. The race was ever changing right to the finish when the winning team seemed to come out of nowhere.

From 2006 – 2009, Cain’s Quest grew in leaps and bounds and word of this extraordinary adventure spread like wildfire! In only 4 short years, registration for Cain’s Quest increased by a whopping 333% and millions were watching from more than 70 different countries across the globe. To date, Cain’s Quest has attracted racers from across the country as well as various U.S. states. Not only has participation rates been on the rise, the race itself has grown in terms of route distance, community involvement and prize money.

It is estimated that the 2014 route will take five to six days to complete. Racers must brave sub-zero cold, up to -40! Poor visibility and deep snow will also be a factor. The racers will have to push their snowmobiles and bodies to the limits in order to reach the finish line. Weather can play a major role in completion time.

Speaking of time, racers are always “on the clock” unless on a mandatory layover. Racers depart from the start line in 2 minute intervals when the cross it their clock begins and will be adjusted for time delays at checkpoint #1 (Churchill Falls). During race week all team times are recorded and updated on the website.

Cain’s Quest with Yellowbrick's help will be bringing the race into the homes of race fans and snowmobile enthusiasts across the globe. Each team will be equipped with a Yellowbrick satellite tracking unit which enables visitors to log onto and watch the race in near real time. Not only is this an added safety feature for the teams, but it allows race followers to cheer on the favourite teams and watch the race changing from moment to moment. 

For more information on this one of a kind race please visit the Cain's Quest website.

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