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Quest Leaders Approach Dawson

Sled dog team mushes along a snowy forest trail
A 2019 Yukon Quest team on the trail, somewhere near Pelly Crossing. Photo: Julien Schroder, Yukon Quest. Used with permission.

The long stretch between Pelly Crossing and Dawson continues to see steady competition between the top five positions in the 2019 Yukon Quest, with Brent Sass, Allen Moore, and Michelle Phillips packed tight.

As of 9am Tuesday, official results show Allen Moore holding the lead; however, those are only updated at the official checkpoints. Veteran Allen Moore would make this year his fourth Quest win if he manages to keep his lead, celebrating a double victory with his partner Aliy Zirkle, who won the Quest 300 over the weekend.

Current unofficial results show Brent Sass in the lead, just under 20 miles away from Dawson. If he maintains his 9-mile-per-hour speed, he could be at Dawson by noon PST (11am AKST). Competing neck and neck and neck behind him are Michelle Phillips, Hans Gatt, and Allen Moore, all vying for second position into Dawson, only about five miles behind Sass. Unofficial results also show Paige Drobny into the top five.

Alaska rookie Martin Reitan is currently in position 18, after having taken advantage of a race rule change this year that allowed mushers to pick up more dogs before Pelly Crossing. Reitan left Whitehorse with a team of just 8 but came into Pelly with a full team of 14.

While Moore, Sass, and Gatt all took a few hours of rest in Pelly, Phillips’ current strategy seems to be to fly ahead. Neither Phillips nor Drobny took rest in Pelly, nor have they stopped long at the hospitality or dog drop points. Once mushers reach Dawson, they are required to rest for 36 hours. Conditions coming into Dawson look fair: as of now, temperatures are hovering around -14° and cloudy with an 18% chance of light snow as the first teams are predicted to arrive this (Tuesday) afternoon.

Image at top: a 2019 Yukon Quest team on the trail, somewhere near Pelly Crossing. Photo: Julien Schroder, Yukon Quest. Used with permission.

Davis Hovey also contributed to this story.

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