Happy Valley-­­Goose Bay team rescues young man during Cain’s Quest

Evan Careen evan.careen@tc.tc
Published on March 21, 2016

Mark Simms and Tyson Russell of Team 5 rescued a young man during Cain’s Quest whose snowmobile broke down.

©Submitted photo

Some bad luck with shocks and suspension for a Cain’s Quest team turned out to be good luck for a young man from Hopedale.

The team of Mark Simms and Tyson Russell were running behind the main pack approximately 20 kilometres outside Hopedale when they ran across a snowmobile with a broken axle and a trial of footprints.
“First thing we thought was, ‘Someone’s going to have a cold night walking home,’” said Simms. “We went about 200 or 300 yards and found a young man, a teenager.”
The young man was walking home but Simms and Russell, both fisheries officers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, did an assessment of the situation and figured the best thing to do was to get the young man into town quickly.

We decided the easiest and fastest thing to do was just take him on and head for town,” he said. “So that’s exactly what we did. I took his gear and Tyson took him. We rode the last 18 to 20 km into Hopedale, I don’t think he had a very comfortable ride. We were running on springs then but he was happy enough to get a run in. That was a long walk, a cold walk, for sure.”
As they were coming into town they passed the first Cain’s Quest volunteer who was to guide them into town. The volunteer looked confused, Simms said, and ran after them into town. The young man said he could just hop off but Simms asked him to come into the checkpoint with them.
“You could see the big smile on his face so we rode right into the checkpoint and everyone was happy to see him,” he said. “There were a lot of cheers, everyone was relieved to see him safe back home.”
It turned out the young man had been gone most of the day and once it got dark people had started to get concerned. They were in the initial stages of organizing a search party when Simms and Russell brought the boy home. Neither of the racers knew this at the time, however, as they were working on their snowmobiles to get back in the race. They spent a long night wrenching, got the snowmobile fixed up and started again.
“We made it as far as Port Hope Simpson and unfortunately blew out every shock again and had some electrical issues,” Simms said. “We had to scratch but, hey, that’s Cain’s Quest, right?”
This is Simms third attempt at Cain’s Quest, a race he has yet to complete, despite getting within 400 kilometres of the finish line last time. Russell was a rookie to the race but the duo raced on. Team 5 has been around since 2007.
Simms said he’s not sure if he’ll enter again but won’t discount it. Despite having to scratch out of the race, Simms said helping the young man made it worthwhile.
“Somebody said to me the other day, you guys had a lot of things go wrong and you fell behind and it was unfortunate but you were in the right place at the right time to help this kid,” he said. “You never know, they didn’t have any idea where to go look for him and they might’ve thought ‘all the racers came from the north and no one saw him so we’ll look somewhere else.’ Who knows?”

Mark Simms of Team 5 riding into the sunrise during Cain’s Quest. Simms and his partner, Tyson Russell, rescued a young man outside of Hopedale during the race.

©Submitted photo