North of the Arc­tic Cir­cle in a Jeep Wran­gler


Born in Ed­mon­ton, AB, An­drew Comrie-Pi­card has gone on to be one of Canada’s great com­pet­i­tive ex­ports, rac­ing and win­ning, cars and trucks across Canada and the US. We spoke to him af­ter re­cently fin­ish­ing the Al­can 5000, a 7500 km rally across the Great White North, a route that en­com­passes Grimshaw, Yel­lowknife, White­horse and Fair­banks with a fin­ish in An­chor­age, AK - with a side ex­pe­di­tion to Tuk­toy­ak­tuk, the north­ern­most com­mu­nity in Canada that is ac­ces­si­ble by road, at roughly 560 km north of the Arc­tic cir­cle. Most im­por­tantly, he and his team com­pleted it a stock Jeep Wran­gler Ru­bi­con.

4WD: You’ve ral­lied in Canada, and around the world, what was unique about this race?

ACP: For one thing you’re in such a vast beau­ti­ful far­away area, and com­pared to ev­ery­where else I’ve raced, you’re away from sup­port. It’s a more ve­hi­cle de­pen­dent ex­pe­di­tion. You re­ally are forced to de­pend more on your ve­hi­cle, its parts and on your­self, more than any­where else. Even in the Baja 1000, where we won our class, you have sup­port rigs run­ning around. This is quite a con­trast to be­ing in the Arc­tic where there is no sup­port. At the end of the race, we did a four-day side trip to Tuk­toy­ak­tuk and there was no sup­port what so ever. Quite a big dif­fer­ence. 4WD: Is this the first time you’ve ral­lied in a Jeep? ACP: Yes, this is the first time I’ve done any­thing com­pet­i­tively in a Jeep al­though I’ve done lots of wheel­ing in the past. I love the Jeep Wran­gler in par­tic­u­lar. 4WD: Why the Jeep? ACP: It’s dif­fer­ent when you’re in a proper 4-wheel drive. For the type of ter­rain we went through, the deep snow and through the wilder­ness it’s by far the best ve­hi­cle.

4WD: If you did it again, what would you change? Any mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Jeep?

ACP: In­ter­est­ingly we only made a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Jeep. We added aux­il­iary fuel tanks and we put on BFGoodrich’s Al­lTer­rain

T/A® KO2s. They are great in the win­ter on the ice and snow. We did also add some Rigid aux­il­iary lights in the front. The Wran­gler is so well en­gi­neered out of the box, es­pe­cially the Ru­bi­con, with the lock­ing front and rear diffs and the dis­con­nect­ing sway bar, we didn’t need to add any­thing else.

4WD: For this style of race, did you have to push the Jeep very hard, four-wheel drifts through the cor­ners, that style of rac­ing?

ACP: We did get a bit of side­ways up near Yel­lowknife, and the Jeep Wran­gler han­dles re­mark­ably well. It’s not de­signed to be like a Mit­subishi Evo or Subaru STI but it’s not too far off, and we didn’t even touch its off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties. We just used it to make sure we al­ways had trac­tion on the ice roads and climb­ing around the snow near Tuk­toy­ak­tuk. 4WD: Tell me about your most mem­o­rable mo­ments dur­ing the race?

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