On Aug. 23, Maple Ridge resident Rick Higgs, will start his 5,040-mile drive as a contestant in the 2022 Alcan 5000 rally.
Along with co-driver Micke Pettersson, Higgs will be spending 10 days on the road traveling from Kirkland, WA to Jasper, Alta on a path that takes them up through Yukon and Northwest Territories.
This is the second time that Higgs and Pettersson will be competing in the event, having driven together in the 2018 summer rally.
“We suffered an idler gear bearing failure while in transit on the Alaska Highway from Watson Lake to Whitehorse,” Higgs said about his 2018 rally experience.
“However, we rented a vehicle in Whitehorse and followed the field to Dawson City, into Alaska, and to the finish in Fairbanks.”
Instead of focusing on high-speed driving, this event puts drivers’ endurance to the test, with each heat having strict time and speed guidelines to follow along each section of the rally.
While crashes might not be a major concern for the participants, vehicle breakdowns and fuel shortages are much more common.
“One challenge is dealing with fuel between Fort Nelson, B.C. and Fort Providence, NWT,” Higgs said.
“We may have to carry more than 30 litres of fuel on top, in addition to a full tank of 27 litres.”
Higgs and Pettersson will be using the same 1973 Mini Cooper they used in the last race, which Higgs has spent many years rebuilding and improving to withstand the over 8,100-kilometer journey.
Higgs, who recently turned 80, is looking forward to what he has said may be his last Alcan 5000 rally.
“The 2022 rally has several hundred miles of dirt/gravel in B.C. and in the Northwest Territory, so suspension, steering, braking, and fueling systems have been important,” Higgs said.
“We are just hoping that nothing breaks this time.”
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