Phillips and Sass Leap-Frogging On Approach to Braeburn in 2020 Quest

Michelle Philips arrived into Carmacks late last night, disappearing into the night before Brent Sass had a chance to catch up. But according to the unofficial GPS tracker, as of 8am, Sass is right on Phillips’ heels less than 200 miles from the Yukon Quest finish line.

By the time Phillips reached Pelly Crossing yesterday morning, the next official checkpoint after Dawson City, she had established a three-hour lead on Sass. But while she elected to rest for a little less than four-hours, Sass stayed for a few minutes and left Pelly yesterday in first position again at 11:15am PST. Both Phillips and Sass dropped a dog before leaving, bringing their teams to 11 dogs each.

Over the course of the next 75 miles from Pelly Crossing to Carmacks, Phillips overtook Sass, checking into Carmacks at 11:51pm (PST) last night with an hour lead. She did not rest at all this time and was out by midnight in first position. Sass arrived into Carmacks at 12:54am (PST), stayed for roughly ten minutes as well, and was back on the trail in second position.

Phillips and Sass are the only teams to have reached Carmacks at this point in the race.

It’s about 80 miles from Carmacks to Braeburn, the next and final checkpoint on the Yukon Quest trail. Once mushers reach that stop, they are required to take a mandatory eight-hour layover where their teams will be examined by a Quest veterinarian. Then it’s a 100-mile jaunt from Braeburn to the finish line in Whitehorse.

As of 8am AKST, the GPS tracker shows Phillips and Sass neck-and-neck with 45 miles left until Braeburn. Even though it seems like it can’t, this two-way race keeps getting tighter and tighter. 

Image at top: Brent Sass outside of Pelly Crossing during 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from Yukon Quest, used with permission.