Remember when as a kid you were on the teeter-totter, then suddenly your friend as a joke jumps off, then you slam down hard. That’s pretty well how the Chibougamau Rallye feels, but it goes on for a couple of hours.
The 28th annual Rallye in Chibougamau was held on February 26. It was a cold, windy Saturday morning. There were 27 racers in the pro class, 57 in the amateur and 69 in the president, which is for the old machines—the older the machine the more points you get. The pros route takes them 280 km, for the amateur it’s 165 km and the president 90 km.
Starting in front of the town hall, racers zoom through downtown toward the highway leading towards Mistissini, then go 26 km to the first checkpoint along the highway which is lined with spectators, then the main route goes inland around Chibougamau Lake with the president cutting across the lake, the amateur continuing around it and the pros heading towards Chapais, then back to Chibougamau.
The trail is a narrow winding one which twists through the woods and consists of bumps and holes with checkpoints along the way. The bumps are made by people checking out the trail before the race. Depending on the machine, physical fitness and driver’s skill, it can be as smooth as anything. You can end up zig-zagging through
the bumps and holes with ease, or every single bump could become excruciatingly painful and you dread the next bump coming up.
Anyone who enters the rallye enters a test with the trail as the tester. There are many whose machines break down and can’t finish the race. Each race is a lesson, and anyone who comes in and finishes no matter the time passes the test.
Chantal Bonneau from Malartic using a Ski-doo MXZ with a time of 4:02:26
Walter Bosum from Ouje-Bougoumou using a Polaris XCR with a time of 2:37:58
Benoit Heref Gauthier from Acton Vale won with 72 total points using a 1963 Skidoo (that’s 31 years old)
PHOTOS FROM THE RALLYE WILL APPEAR IN OUR NEXT ISSUE