Martin Massicotte wins record 10th Can-Am 250 crown
FORT KENT, Maine — Veteran musher Martin Massicotte of St.-Tite, Quebec, won a record 10th Can-Am Crown 250-mile sled dog race when his team pulled across the finish line at Lonesome Pine Trails at about 7 a.m. Monday.
Ahead of the race, Massicotte, 50, predicted his strongest competition this year would be his friend and fellow musher, Andre Longchamps, 48, of Pont-Rouge, Quebec. The prediction proved true as Massicotte and Longchamps remained just minutes apart throughout much of the competition which started in Fort Kent Saturday morning. The pair and 12 other mushers raced along southeast from Fort Kent to Portage, then west into the North Woods before turning north again in the wilderness up through Allagash before heading back to Fort Kent.
Massicotte felt the pressure, but ultimately pulled away on the last leg, finishing with a trail time of 27 hours, 16 minutes and 7 seconds, besting Longchamps by 29 minutes, 38 seconds.
“Everything went well. I was anxious to see the finish line but I didn’t see Andre behind me for awhile (during the last leg of the race) so I was able to relax,” Massicotte said at the finish line Monday after handing out treats to his team. “The dogs did really well. They are good right now. They are a good team and I am happy with their performance.”
Katherine Langlais, 35, of Glenwood, New Brunswick, finished the race in third place, just 34 minutes behind Longchamps.
No other musher has come close to Massicotte’s success in the signature event of the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races.
Musher Andre Nadeau, also of Quebec, is the second-most winning Can-Am 250 musher, having won four times in a row in the 1990s.
Monday’s victory marked the sixth in a row for Massicotte and 10th overall.
Massicotte’s wife and fervent supporter, Marie-Josee DuLong, was at the finish line to greet her husband as he arrived. Despite his successes throughout the years, she said she never takes for granted that he will win.
“I was very nervous, like it was the first time because every race is a new beginning and you are never sure who is going to win. I am so proud, I have no words,” she said.
Massicotte always smiles radiantly and heads directly to DuLong to give her a hug and kiss after crossing the finish line.
“It is good to have her support; it is important,” Massicotte said.
He said he does plan to return to the Can-Am in the future, but not next year, as he plans to head for Alaska to compete in the 1,000-mile Iditarod.
“Next year there will be a new Can-Am champion,” he said.
Can-Am organizers have scheduled an awards ceremony and dinner to celebrate the Can-Am 250 athletes at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fort Kent.
Mushers who participated in the Willard Jalbert Jr. Can-Am Crown 100 and Pepsi and Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Can-Am Crown 30 were honored at a Sunday morning awards brunch at the Lonesome Pine Lodge. Rico Portalatin of Milo won the 100 mile race, and Daniel Coutu of Saint-Claude, QC won the 30 mile race.
To see results of all three races visit the Can-Am website.