Mushers and skijorers evidently wanted to get one last race in before the big thaw of spring hits.
Twenty teams participated in the Watson Valley Grand Finale, the last Yukon Brewing Twister race of the season, at the Mount Lorne Community Centre on Sunday.
The finale marked the biggest turnout of the season at the Twister series, organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon. In fact, it saw the most sleds hit the trails since last season’s finale.
It was a good turnout and “it was a good one to win,” said Jonathan Lucas.
Lucas took first in the nine-mile sled division with a time of 33 minutes and 30 seconds, just 14 seconds ahead of Marine Gastard. Third place’s Alex Rochet was close behind with a time of 34:08.
Lucas placed in a tie for first at the Stardog Kennel Twister race in February for his first win in a couple seasons. He finished third in the last Twister at the Takhini Hot Springs in March.
“It’s been a great season: two first, two seconds and two thirds,” said Lucas.
“The trail was as hard and as fast as the last one at the hot springs. At that one I was trying to take advantage of speed and just go fast and I crashed three times and lost lots of time. So this time I learned to use my brakes and we came first.”
The last time Lucas won a Twister race before this year was in the 2011/12 race season, and that was as a skijorer. Dog sledding allows him to run more dogs at once.
“I have more dogs and I’m about to get more,” said Lucas. “My kennel is probably going to grow to 30. So I’m just getting used to running sleds. They all have to get running, so I just take them out on the sled.”
“It’s not me, it’s the dogs,” he added. “Most of them are Deb Knight’s
(of Jesaris Kennel) … She has a bad hip at the moment so she asked me to run them. It’s been a joy for me.”
Katherine Sheepway made it five in a row on Sunday.
Sheepway took first in the skijor race for the fifth time this season, placing first in all five Twister skijor races.
The Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon will hold its annual general meeting on May 31 and will soon begin its Hot Hounds dry-land series races.
Contact Tom Patrick at