A pair of scratches and an injury scare have highlighted the last few days of the Yukon Quest.
Over the weekend, Dave Dalton and Chase Tingle both elected to scratch in Dawson City. Coming to the same conclusion within almost ten minutes of each other, both cited a stomach virus was affecting their teams, saying it was in the best interest of their teams to cut their runs short.
Two scratches could have been three as current ninth-place racer Richie Beattie fell off his sled yesterday and had his team arrive into the Dawson City checkpoint without him. Beattie told KUAC radio Saturday, “quite simply I fell asleep, woke up, and I was hopping back up to my feet and watching my dog team roll away from me.”
Canadian veteran Rob Cooke was close behind Beattie and picked him up on the trail before Race Marshall Peter Reuter gave him a snowmachine ride into Dawson City. Beattie has since recovered and left Dawson City unscathed, as race rules allow for assistance in emergency situations when no competitive advantage is gained.
This year’s race started with a field of only 15 mushers and has now whittled its way down to eleven. However, there are some benefits for the remaining mushers.
“Yeah, you don’t see anybody on the trail. You don’t realize it really, but it’s not very crowded in the checkpoints.”– Torsten Kohnert
That’s current fifth-position musher Torsten Kohnert speaking with KUAC radio earlier in the race. He checked into Pelly Crossing just over two and a half hours ago.
As of 9am AKST, first position has been taken back by Brent Sass, with the GPS tracker showing him to be just over a mile ahead of Michelle Phillips. Third position is held by Cody Strathe and fourth goes to Allen Moore. Both checked out of Pelly Crossing within an hour of each other on their way to Carmacks.
Image at top: A pair of sled dogs in Dawson City during the 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from Brandan Griffis, Yukon Quest, used with permission.