Day 10: Sass Takes a Second

Monday, February 11, 2019

The 2019 Yukon Quest title belongs to veteran Eureka, AK musher Brent Sass. Crossing the Fairbanks finish line with 14 dogs at 12:40 AKST, the win marks Sass’ second Quest championship, and the second year in a row the winning musher has finished with all 14 dogs.

Sass said his goals of this race were to “have fun, kill my run on Birch Creek and be competitive.” Overcome with emotion, Sass dedicated his Yukon Quest to his friends, family and fans. Sass went on to dedicate the race to Jeep, a dog purchased by his mentor Joee Redington who passed away a little over a year ago. “Jeep was originally a sprint dog but Joee always said Jeep could run a distance race. He led the team and was phenomenal. Brought the speed up when we needed it, lead the team up the summit during a wind storm.”

With a blistering run in from Two Rivers, Hans Gatt and his team of eight overcame Allen Moore’s forty-minute head start to take second place for the third time. He snacked his young team with Arctic char once they arrived and laughed as he said they would be a great team for next year, but “I don’t know who’s going to run them!”

Gatt said it had been a while since he was out on the Quest trail, since his last attempt in 2011, but “the people at the checkpoints were pretty happy to see me, and I was happy to see them.”

Third place Allen Moore and his 13 dogs arrived one hour and 10 minutes later, cheered in by his family and with a special appearance by his mother who exclaimed she was ready to see her son cross the finish line. Moore said it was good to be crossing the finish line. “I feel like I’ve been gone for a month at least!” He went on about how he expected Gatt to overtake him on the trail based on his team’s performance and speed throughout the race.

Michelle Phillips of Tagish, Yukon was next across the line at 16:47 AKST with a team of nine, finishing her sixth Quest in fourth place. Phillips said the race was tougher than she remembered. Eagle Summit specifically was one she softened in her memories which was quick to remind her how tough it, and the race, really are. “You definitely feel like you’ve gone 1,000 miles,” Phillips says.

By day’s end the close race for fifth place between Matt Hall and Paige Drobny went to Hall by a slim margin. Hall expanded his seven-minute head start out of Two Rivers into a nearly two-mile lead over the course of the 73 miles of trail to the finish line. He crossed the finish line at 23:44 AKST talking about how he was “looking over my shoulder a lot for Paige, I have a kink in my neck.”

The next three out of Two Rivers to make a dash for the finish line will be Denis Tremblay, Torsten Kohnert, and Jessie Royer. Nathaniel Hamlyn and Ryne Olson are expected into Two Rivers to begin their eight-hour mandatory layover in the early hours of Day 11.

Further back, Brian Wilmshurst and Cody Strathe have bested Eagle Summit and are resting at Mile 101, where Curt Perano, Martin Apayauq Reitan and Dave Dalton will soon join them. Pace through to Wiljes are all into Central, with Tingle through to Stachnau all in various stages of Birch Creekness.

 

Standings as of 11:59 p.m. AKST:

  1. Brent Sass
  2. Hans Gatt
  3. Allen Moore
  4. Michelle Phillips
  5. Matt Hall
  6. Paige Drobny
  7. Denis Tremblay
  8. Torsten Kohnert
  9. Jessie Royer
  10. Nathaniel Hamlyn
  11. Ryne Olson
  12. Cody Strathe
  13. Brian Wilmshurst
  14. Curt Perano
  15. Martin Apayauq Reitan
  16. Dave Dalton
  17. Jason Biasetti
  18. Rob Cooke
  19. Deke Naaktgeboren
  20. Andy Pace
  21. Jim Lanier
  22. Misha Wiljes
  23. Chase Tingle
  24. Isabelle Travadon
  25. Laura Allaway
  26. Remy Leduc
  27. Hendrik Stachnau