Off Road

Alcan 5000 Rally returns with frozen fervour in fortieth anniversary

3 Mins read
Credit: Shane Bowman

The Alcan 5000 Rally, which takes place every other year (typically those ending in an even number), elebrated its forty-year anniversary in late February with a two-week adventure from Seattle to Anchorage.

The journey brought the thirty-six-car field through weather conditions where even the chilliest adjectives would be insufficient to describe. Temperatures ran well into the negatives, bottoming out at –32 degrees Fahrenheit (–35.56° C) as competitors made their way through Canada and Alaska. After crossing the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, the climate’s unfriendliness increased upon entering the Northwest and Yukon Territories, inching closer towards the Arctic north.

Upon crossing into Alaska, the rally went through the subarctic city of Fairbanks before heading even further north. This took the grid to Coldfoot, a town of just thirty-four people (as of the 2020 United States census) and part of the Yukon–Koyukuk Census Area, which straddles the Arctic Circle.

By the end, in the Alaskan capital of Anchorage, drivers had travelled five thousand miles.

Credit: Alcan 5000 Rally

Unlike traditional cross-country rallies, the Alcan 5000 Rally is a regularity rally in which navigation skills and maintaining a certain speed are favoured over simply being the fastest. Such a format is also used at the Dakar Rally’s adjacent Dakar Classic and the Rebelle Rally, the latter also taking place in North America. Much like in golf, the regularity rally competitor with the lowest score wins and points are racked up for mistakes made while going through the route, such as not meeting or exceeding the baseline speed.

Classes are divided by number depending on vehicle type, with 1 referring to passenger cars and 2 for trucks and SUVs, as well as U or S for Unlimited or SOP navigation equipment. “Unlimited” navigation cars may use any type of hardware and software, while SOP (Signals of Opportunity) navigators are limited to items like a factory odometer, a slide rule, and calculator.

The husband and wife duo of Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza recorded the lowest total score in their Subaru Crosstrek, beating the thirty-five other cars including eleven others in the 2U category. It is their second straight victory after claiming the 2022 edition in a Mazda CX-5. Among the 2U entrants they defeated were the Ford Raptor of Dave Cole, the owner of Hammerking Productions that oversees King of the Hammers and Ultra4 USA.

2020 winners Russ Kraushaar, a five-time champion, and Garth Ankeny finished runner-up in their Mercury Capri. Other former winners in the field include Paul Eklund, the 2000 titlist who finished eighth, and Cole’s team-mate Pete Schneider, a three-time victor.

Journalists Andy and Mercedes Lilienthal, another married pair, won in the 2S class in their INEOS Grenadier.

“With temps as low as –32 degrees Fahrenheit, the INEOS Grenadier was a solid performer in every condition we put it in,” said Andy Lilienthal. “Its suspension easily soaked up hundreds of miles of frost heaves and potholes, the turbocharged engine had plenty of power to get by slow traffic, and the interior was comfortable and versatile. It was a champ in the deeper snows on the ice slalom competition too. The Grenadier was an excellent vehicle to have on this long and demanding rally. To have this new vehicle on the fortieth year of the Alcan 5000 and take top honours in our class was amazing.”

Route

DateStartFinish
21 FebruaryKirkland, WashingtonQuesnel, British Columbia
22 FebruaryQuesnelPeace River
23 FebruaryPeace RiverYellowknife, Northwest Territories
24 FebruaryYellowknifeYellowknife
25 FebruaryYellowknifeFort Nelson, British Columbia
26 FebruaryFort NelsonWhitehorse, Yukon
27 FebruaryWhitehorseFairbanks, Alaska
28 FebruaryFairbanksFairbanks
29 FebruaryFairbanksValdez, Alaska
1 MarchValdezAnchorage, Alaska

Results

FinishNumberDriverCo-DriverVehicleClassTotal PointsMargin
15Satish GopalkrishnanSaverra D’SouzaSubaru Crosstrek2U24.4 pointsLeader
23Russ KraushaarGarth Ankeny1973 Mercury Capri1U49.6 points+ 25.2 points
311Jeff LebeschRyan TrailPorsche 911 Dakar1U64.8 points+ 40.4 points
425Rebecca RustonRyan HainesBMW 325iX1U69.1 points+ 44.7 points
513David GreenTom PastorePorsche Cayenne2U135.6 points+ 111.2 points
61Dave ColePeter Schneider, Mary ByrnesFord Raptor2U185.8 points+ 161.4 points
720Daniel MerkinsRyan SmileyBMW M3 Competition1S189.0 points+ 164.6 points
84Paul EklundYulia SmolyanskySubaru Forester XT2U198.3 points+ 173.9 points
922Wim van der PoelPhil van der PoelLand Rover Discovery2U223.7 points+ 199.3 points
1015Andy LilienthalMercedes LilienthalINEOS Grenadier2S294.6 points+ 270.2 points
1117Shane BowmanJohn WilliamsJeep Wrangler Rubicon2S304.9 points+ 280.5 points
1230Edward HeilSean O’SheaGMC Sierra 15002S363.3 points+ 338.9 points
1334Christopher AgocsRey AbolofiaPorsche Cayenne T2U383.1 points+ 358.7 points
1435Aaron PufalTaylor LawsonToyota FJ Cruiser2U404.1 points+ 379.7 points
1519Marcus NeffJennifer HollandRam 15002S469.2 points+ 444.8 points
1629Cory GrunwaldE.J. Fillman-SullivanBMW X52U477.7 points+ 453.3 points
176Ed MillmanMike Chandler1988 BMW 325iXHistoric512.0 points+ 487.6 points
1824Jim SaulinoTim SaulinoLexus GX 4702U530.5 points+ 506.1 points
1936David CokerNolan Channon, Joseph Martin, Caroline MartinToyota Tacoma2S544.4 points+ 520.0 points
2012Miles McEwingTracey MartinPorsche Cayenne2S637.2 points+ 612.8 points
2121Hartley HershenhornJeremiah JacksonLand Rover Discovery2U766.2 points+ 741.8 points
227Patrick KeightleyJeff ZurschmeideChevrolet Silverado 15002S837.1 points+ 812.7 points
2323Robert DoveBrian DoveFord F-150 Raptor2S884.5 points+ 860.1 points
2440Cristian AntonSebastian Pozzi, Fausto CarrenoRam 25002S1071.6 points+ 1047.2 points
2516Conrad MyersDean ScheelChevrolet Silverado2S1140.6 points+ 1116.2 points
2614Nathan HayashiMitchell LeongPorsche Cayenne2S1267.1 points+ 1242.7 points
279Marc GettyAl BrennanVolkswagen Rabbit1S1285.4 points+ 1261.0 points
2826Asa FarquharMorgan FarquharToyota Tacoma2S1339.5 points+ 1315.1 points
292Dan GoodwinRod SorensonPorsche Cayenne2U1363.1 points+ 1338.7 points
3032Jeff CampbellMarie CampbellINEOS Grenadier2S1371.5 points+ 1347.1 points
3131Steve GreerDavid BushSubaru Outback1S1423.2 points+ 1398.8 points
3233Ryan BaldwinJesse CoynePorsche Cayenne T2U1436.3 points+ 1411.9 points
3318George WitmanJay WitmanMini Cooper S1S1473.0 points+ 1448.6 points
3427John ShyneOscar ValenzuelaJeep Wrangler2S1583.4 points+ 1559.0 points
3528John Nelson, Adam NelsonKemp GiltsGMC Sierra 15002S1675.7 points+ 1651.3 points
368Ohio KnoxJoe HarperBMW X3 M2S1946.5 points+ 1922.1 points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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