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HomeNewsUnofficial world record set in Muskoka by snowmobile team

Unofficial world record set in Muskoka by snowmobile team

A snowmobile relay team has unofficially set a world record near Huntsville.

It happened Tuesday and Wednesday on Lake Muskoka off of Walker’s Point.

Claus Zander crossing the finish line after the and three teammates rode for 24 hours.

Four sledders, Wes Juszku of Burks Falls, Beamsville’s Richard Lys, Barrie resident David Traill, and Claus Zander of Cookstown calling themselves Team Peak, travelled 3,335 kilometres in 24 hours. That is the equivalent of jumping on a sled and going non-stop from Toronto to Calgary.

It breaks the previous record set by two Canadians, Nathan Hudye and Nolan Nykolaishen when they went 3,284 kilometres in 2005.

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In the process, they also raised over $19,000 for the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation. It is a charity that helps those going through treatment cover additional costs not covered by insurance or OHIP.

The four-man team admitted it was a big physical challenge.

“I felt like a truck ran over my back at the end of yesterday,” said Zander with a laugh.

In actual fact, they say, it was thumb trauma that affected them all. Having to keep the throttle pinned for a whole 40-minute shift took its toll over the 24 hours.

“They are tight and a little bit swollen,” said Zander. “Some of us had blisters because you are hanging on that tight at that speed.”

The four were taking approximately 40-minute shifts on the 7.8-kilometre circuit they created on the frozen lake. The track included banked turns, meaning they could go full throttle into the corners while travelling around 140 km per hour.

While it might seem the daytime riding would be easier, it was quite the opposite says Zander. With a modified lighting system and a clear night an interesting effect was created.

“You could see that line in the berm (corner) and it was basically like being in a track the whole time,” he says. “It was like riding in a tunnel.”

The team had a former snowmobile distance record holder as a consultant. Nicholas Musters of Lake of Bays set a solo mark of 3,069 kilometres in 2011. He provided invaluable advice on the finer points of the challenge, from fuelling, to rest stops and swapping out equipment.

Each shift would end when the fuel light came on, with the rider coming in the next lap. From there it would be a fuel fill, oil change and clutch change all within two minutes.

At one point the backup sled had to be pressed into operation because of an equipment problem, resulting in a 15-minute penalty. That also required the skill set of Traill, who is a certified Polaris mechanic/technician. Though instead of a nice warm shop, he was wrenching in the dark and sleep deprived on a frozen lake.

Now comes the waiting. All the verifying evidence has been sent to the people at Guinness World Records. The whole event was recorded, including GPS tracking, and along with notes from the time-keeper is used to provide proof of the record attempt.

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