For nearly 40 years, the Alcan 5000 Rally has been one of North America’s longest and most arduous time-speed-distance (TSD) rallies. This 10-day, 5,000-mile endurance competition challenges dozens of teams. Its route can span the entire length of Canada and/or Alaska and crisscross them in an uneven fashion.
The Alcan 5000 Rally is held every other year (alternating summer and winter like the Olympics). It’s a precision event where competitors drive on public roads at or below posted speed limits and follow specific route instructions given to them in a roadbook by the event’s rally master. Teams with the lowest scores win their class, with the best of the best winning the entire competition. TSD challenges typically happen in the morning and are followed by several hundred miles of transit sections to get to the next TSD event or an overnight stay.
This year’s Alcan 5000 Rally was held from August 23 to September 1. Twenty eight vehicles and 17 adventure motorcycles were confirmed for the event, although 24 and 14 of them, respectively, finished. The rally started in Washington state and wound its way through the Canadian wilderness. Teams drove through British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories, and finished in Jasper, Alberta. Those vying for the Arctic award completed extra driving challenges, called extreme controls. These included a 140-mile gravel trek to Telegraph Creek, B.C. (which ended in a 16-plus-hour drive day), an extra four-hour jaunt to Skagway, Alaska, and back, and more.
From classic Mini microcars and high-horsepower Ford Raptors to a slightly modified Subaru Outback Wilderness and camouflaged Dodge Power Wagon, teams faced 1,500 miles of dirt and gravel, gobs of wildlife (including moose, caribou, fox, and a lynx), and long hours of concentration. Although tires ruptured and wheel bearings were lost, ralliers united under the Northern Lights for 10 days of camaraderie, excitement, and rally-related challenges.
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