Allen Moore and Brent Sass had fans riveted Saturday, as they continued their spectacular game of leapfrog down the trail from Pelly to Braeburn.
While Sass left Pelly first, Moore was the first one into Carmacks, where he stopped for a rest. When Sass rolled in about an hour later, he had one question.
“When did Allen leave?"
Upon finding out that he was still resting, Sass said he'd be blowing through the checkpoint. Asked how he was, he responded, "I'm tired, stupid and haven't slept in days."
Grabbing supplies from his drop bags, fuel and straw, Sass and his team hit the trail again, headed for the last checkpoint – Braeburn Lodge.
Waking up from his rest a few hours later, Moore knew he needed to play catch-up. He sat down for a quick chat with our camera crew before taking off.
“It’s the first time I’ve slept since Dawson,” he said. “Maybe I’ll make a right decision this time. It’s amazing when you’re going on sled runners and you can’t stay awake. You’re just going to sleep and hitting trees…that’s what I was doing the last little bit.”
Moore said he came into the 2014 Yukon Quest with a set game plan, but the plan didn’t work 100 percent.
“Now looking back on everything…there was one time that I probably should not have stayed three hours at Trout Creek and he ran all the way through to Eagle.”
He explained having to modify his plan a few hundred miles ago, instead of doing it at this point of the race like he normally would. Moore gave props to Sass for setting the pace.
“He’s really good. He has a lot of dogs, a lot of good dogs. He’s thought this out. But sometimes, just thinking it out isn’t all it takes. Everything has to involved with those thoughts, and make them work. And he’s made them work.”
However, it didn’t take Moore long to catch up with Sass, who stopped for a rest outside of Carmacks. The two were running neck-n-neck towards Braeburn as of 11 pm, with no indication of either slowing down. It’s anybody’s game at this point, as everyone watches the tracker and waits to see who will make a move.
Hugh Neff, meanwhile, arrived in Carmacks at 7:58 pm in third place, three hours behind Moore. He seemed very relaxed as he pulled up, parking his team for a break.
Greeted by a couple of German fans, Neff remarked, “I think it's time for sausage and schnitzel!”
Ten Mushers Pelly-Bound
Currently in fourth place, Cody Strathe made it to Stepping Stone at approximately 10:20 pm Saturday, six miles ahead of Matt Hall.
Strathe parked his team of eight dogs and decided to remain at the hospitality stop for a while. Hall pulled in an hour later and also stopped for a snack.
John Schandelmeier was approximately 30 miles from Stepping Stone as of 11 pm. Other mushers between Dawson City and Pelly included Ken Anderson, Torsten Kohnert, Curt Perano and Dave Dalton.
Anderson was parked at Scroggie Creek while Kohnert was about eight miles out. Perano and Dalton were camped about a mile apart, halfway between Dawson and Scroggie.
Just starting out on the second half of their 1,000-mile journey were Jerry Joinson, Mandy Nauman, and Brian Wilmshurst. The three mushers, who had been travelling together since Circle, were set to leave Dawson at 11:02, 11:07, and 11:15 pm respectively.
Tony Angelo Withdrawn
The last musher to leave Dawson will be Hank DeBruin. DeBruin takes over the Red Lantern position after Tony Angelo was withdrawn from the race Saturday morning. Angelo activated the emergency assistance button on his race tracking device and was escorted into Dawson City with his team.
DeBruin is able to leave Dawson at 6:54 am Sunday.