The top six are now across the line in Dawson, the first 500 miles of trail behind them, and a well-earned 36 hours of rest in their future as they prepare for the second half of the race.
Pulling into the checkpoint shortly before 6am PST, leader Brent Sass said he was well pleased to arrive in Dawson first. Asked for his highlight from the trail so far, Sass said the run from Trout Creek to Eagle has been the standout for how well his team performed through some challenging conditions.
Next in just over an hour later was Quest veteran Michelle Phillips. Phillips said she was glad to be back in Yukon and heading toward home. Mack and Dragon have been her standout performers so far.
Cody Strathe and Allen Moore arrived over the noon hour, roughly forty minutes apart. Strathe said the trail from Eagle was slow going with the snow and wind, but praised his team for rising to the occasion, particularly Turkey and Neko. Moore remarked that he was happy to complete the first half of the race with all 14 dogs, and reminded the assembled crowd that he has started the second half from fourth before and gone on to win.
Torsten Kohnert and Ryne Olson were next in, crossing the checkpoint line within an hour and a half of each other. Both mushers said they have been impressed by the performance of the younger dogs on their teams over the first 500 miles.
The back of the pack remains largely unchanged, with Nora Själin on the move less than 40 miles from Dawson, and the remainder resting at various points from Clinton Creek back.
Sass and Phillips will resume their race tomorrow evening, their 36 hours completed by 5:43pm PST and 6:54pm PST, respectively.
Standings as of 12:00am PST:
- Brent Sass
- Michelle Phillips
- Cody Strathe
- Allen Moore
- Torsten Kohnert
- Ryne Olson
- Nora Själin
- Rob Cooke
- Richie Beattie
- Pat Noddin
- Dave Dalton
- Chase Tingle
- Olivia Webster
This race day update is brought to you by Yukon Quest Major Sponsors Manitoulin Transport and Kluane Freight Lines.