Fat-tire bikers were treated to a hard, fast trail Saturday in the Susitna 100 and Little Su 50-K endurance races.
Biker Tim Berntson of Anchorage repeated as champion in the 100-mile race with a time that was nearly three hours faster than his time a year ago.
Berntson finished the race in 7 hours, 49 minutes, 12 seconds. That was way faster than his winning time of 10:40:26 last year in the annual race held on Susitna Valley sled dog and snowmachine trails.
"It was just a really good trail. It might be one of the fastest times we've seen," race official Erin Kittredge said Saturday night.
Bikers dominated skiers and runners both in numbers and in the final results.
Berntson finished 10 minutes ahead of Anchorage bikers Will Ross and Carey Grumelot. Ross grabbed second place in 7:59:23, three seconds ahead of Grumelot.
Megan Chelf was an impressive sixth overall to take the women's victory in 8:41:30. Laura Fox was second among women and eighth overall in 8:44:46.
The first skier to finish the 100-mile race was Cole Talbot, who placed 35th overall in 11:12:34. As of 9 p.m. Saturday, no runners had finished.
Bikers in the shorter Little Su 50-K race also posted significantly speedier times than last year's.
Jason Lamoreaux covered the 31-mile course in 2:06:56, beating last year's winning time by about 27 minutes.
Sheryl Loan topped the women in 2:25:05, a time nearly 25 minutes faster than last year's winning time.
Lamoreaux and Loan both won by two seconds. Lamoreaux edged Brian Bonney, and Loan nipped Amber Stull.
The races started Saturday morning at Martin Buser's Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake, which also served as the finish line.
The kennel's name proved prophetic for many of the racers.
"Everybody's really happy," Kittredge said. "Everybody's saying, 'Wow, that was fun.' I must've heard 'that was fun' about 20 times."
Alaska Dispatch Publishing