Brent Sass first to Dawson as Yukon Quest reaches midpoint

For a fourth year in a row, Brent Sass is the first to reach the halfway point in the Yukon Quest.

For a fourth year in a row, Brent Sass is the first to reach the halfway point in the Yukon Quest.

The Eureka, Alaska, musher and his team reached Dawson City a little before 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the 34th annual race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks.

“I feel great. The 13 dogs I have on my team are all feeling well,” said Sass. “I have a friend here who is helping with the dog care in the dog lot, so they’re getting the best dog care possible and I’m going to get some good rest. The trail has been awesome and it’s been a pretty smooth race so far.”

Sass, 37, who won the race in 2015, came in almost four hours ahead of defending champ Hugh Neff of Tok, Alaska. He will carry that four-hour lead back onto the trail following the 36-hour mandatory layover in the Klondike.

Sass, who placed second behind Neff last year, dropped one dog from his team in Pelly Crossing after she began to struggle to keep pace and didn’t eat well at a stop.

“I decided to leave her behind so I could focus on the 13 who were at 100 per cent,” said Sass.

“I have a new sled this year — it’s a sit-down sled — so it’s a whole new strategy that I’m using out there on the trail,” he added. “I think that’s helping make a big difference.”

Matt Hall and Allen Moore, both of Two Rivers, Alaska, arrived in Dawson a little after 10 p.m. last night, with Hall 10 minutes ahead of Moore, putting them third and fourth. Hall, 25, placed fourth in last year’s Quest and third in 2014. Moore, 59, won the race in 2013 and 2014.

10 Mile, Yukon’s Ed Hopkins was the first Canadian and fifth overall into Dawson. The 52-year-old, who placed fifth last year, pulled into town just before midnight.

Katherine Keith of Kotzebue, Alaska, and Fairbanks’ Paige Drobny reached Dawson in the early hours on Wednesday for sixth and seventh, respectively.

At press time this morning, Swede Torsten Kohnert was nearing Dawson in eighth.

Yukon’s Yuka Honda, who lives near Carcross, was in ninth and expected to reach Dawson in the early afternoon.

Dawson’s Brian Wilmshurst is nearing his hometown in 11th, behind Ryne Olson of Two Rivers. Both should arrive mid afternoon or so.

“We always leave a loose schedule for the second half,” said Sass. “Now that we’re sitting here looking at the first half, it’s a lot easier to figure out what to do for the second half. We’ll make some adjustments, probably give the dogs more rest along the way and hopefully have as smooth a second half as I did in the first half.”

As the first to Dawson, Sass will receive four ounces of gold worth about $6,400 that’ll he keep, provided he finishes the race — which hasn’t always been the case. In the 2014 Quest Sass fell from his sled just before the final checkpoint of the race, had to withdraw and forfeit the Dawson gold.

“I tend not to think about the gold until I cross the finish line,” said Sass.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read