For the second year in a row, Eureka musher Brent Sass has won the Yukon Quest sled dog race, after he and 11 dogs pulled into Whitehorse at 1:51 (AKST) Tuesday afternoon. According to the Quest race chart, his total time is 10 days, 2 hours and 9 minutes.
In live coverage from the Yukon Quest race staff, the crowd heard from a very tired Sass. The first thing he says into the microphone is, “I can barely stand right now!” And then the Eureka musher can be seen flopping down on the snow with his dogs, lying down on his stomach and giving them a great, big cuddle. After showing the team his gratitude, one-by-one, Sass then explained how close of a race it was between him and Michelle Phillips.
“I think that both of us didn’t really know what the outcome was going to be until right now. It was a hell of a battle, she (Michelle Phillips) has a really good dog team…but I’m extremely proud of that dog team down there, they did an amazing job.”
Sass would go on in the interview to say that he relied heavily on one of his leaders, Woody, who had never been in lead before this race.
“But I just started experimenting with leaders on the Yukon just because it was such a hard trail, trail-breaking, and a lot of different conditions. So I was experimenting with leaders and he (Woody) just started shining the whole second half of the race. Yeah he’s young and he was in my team last year as a two-year-old. So he’s three years old and he’s got two Yukon Quest championships under his belt, so that’s pretty awesome.”
This is Sass’s third Yukon Quest win, tying him with several other mushers like veteran Allen Moore. And Moore is one of the mushers still out on the trail at this point in the race.
As of 6pm AKST Tuesday night, Michelle Phillips took second place, her highest Quest finish to date. Reaching Whitehorse earlier Wednesday morning at 6:35am AKST, in third, is Cody Strathe, also with his best Yukon Quest finish. Before this year’s race, Strathe had never finished in the top ten.
Allen Moore, the next musher expected to arrive in Whitehorse, is still about twenty miles away from the finish line, according to the GPS tracker.
This update concludes your KNOM coverage of the 2020 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race but the Yukon Quest website continues to provide updates on the ten teams still in the race.
*KNOM’s Davis Hovey also contributed to this report.
Image at top: Brent Sass arrives in Whitehorse to win the 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from Whitney McLaren, Yukon Quest, used with permission.