New Champions Crowned at 63rd Annual Yukon 800

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 5:19 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 63rd annual Yukon 800 has finished, and this year was definitely one for the history books. New achievements have been made, and new champions have been crowned.

“First win, eighth try, so I’m going to soak this one up,” said Kyle Malamute, the Captain of the #15 Wake ‘Em Up boat and Commodore of the Fairbanks Outboard Association.

Thirteen hours, twenty two minutes and twelve seconds was the official time for the number fifteen Wake ‘Em Up boat crew that would take the crown of this year’s Yukon 800. With this year’s race being extremely rough out on the water, the race came down to experience and planning. “I feel pretty good, it was a rough race this year. You know, we kind of had to earn it, but we had a clean run. No real issues, we had one stop today that cost us about five minutes. But, other than that, the game plan was just to kind of knock down miles and try to hold it together,” said Malamute.

He added, “It was really rough yesterday, so we were trying to take care of the boat a little bit. We built a lead into Tanana, so we knew we had some comfort space there, and just tried to play it smart, and it paid off. I just owe my crew, they’re the ones who really got beat up yesterday. So I really appreciate them,”

Knowing the river, and knowing when to make changes because of weather, played a big part in the win for the crew. With the first leg of the race hit with a hail producing thunderstorm, and the wind wreaking havoc on the water relying on instincts, is what saved the day. “I travel the river a lot, so knowing where to get out of the big waves is important. I think that paid dividends. I mean, it was a bad spot to be in, and I mean you’re almost scared for yourself too. said Malamute.

He continued with, “So we wanted to be safe, and that was the first thing that came to mind was go to the shallow water, and that’s where it’s going to be the calmest, so that’s what we did. It wasn’t anything planned, it was just you know instincts kind of took over just trying to keep going.”

The race this year was rougher than in previous years. The waves would take with it two boats, one of the defending champions, the other, one that spent plenty of time on the podium in years past. “That’s kind of how this race is, we usually say half the people don’t make it. It’s you know, you’re going against mother nature. We all help each other get ready, prep, try to be the fastest boats out there, and once it comes down to it, we’re all there for each other. So it’s against mother nature, and that’s what really played out yesterday and today,” said Malamute.