Brent Sass’s team digs in to start the 2020 Yukon Quest at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Feb. 1. Sass is currently leading the race on the trail between Eagle, Alaska, and Dawson City. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Brent Sass leads the way out of Eagle during 2020 Yukon Quest

Tagish’s Michelle Phillips is currently in second place with 12 dogs on the line

The Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog race continues as race leaders make the journey from the Eagle, Alaska, checkpoint into Dawson City.

As of 7 a.m. local time, 2019 winner Brent Sass leads the way towards the Clinton Creek hospitality stop with Tagish’s Michelle Phillips running second approximately 13 kilometres behind.

It is on this stretch of trail between Eagle and Dawson City that mushers tackle the third of four major summits, the 1,042-metre high American Summit.

From Eagle to Clinton Creek is 148 km and from Clinton Creek into Dawson is another 90 km.

Sass left Eagle with 12 dogs on the line, the same number he arrived with, while Phillips dropped a dog in Eagle and is now down to 12.

Cody Strathe and Allen Moore are also on the trail between Eagle and Dawson. Moore is still running a full team of 14 dogs.

Sass left the Eagle checkpoint at 1:40 a.m. local time, followed by Phillips at 2:55 a.m., Strathe at 5:34 a.m. and Moore at 5:44 a.m.

It was a busy day on Feb. 4, as the entire field of mushers all left Circle, Alaska, bound for Eagle and then the Canadian half of the race.

Veteran mushers Denis Tremblay and Jason Campeau both scratched from the race on Feb. 4 in Circle, Alaska.

Tremblay scratched from the race at 8:28 a.m. local time and Campeau scratched from the race at 8:36 a.m. local time. Both mushers cited the best interests of their teams as their reason for scratching.

While Tremblay arrived in Circle with 14 dogs on the line, Campeau was down to 12 dogs having dropped one at Mile 101 and another in Central after his difficult trip down Eagle Summit.

The field is now down to 13 mushers.

While Sass, Phillips, Strathe and Moore are currently on the trail between Eagle and the Clinton Creek hospitality stop, Ryne Olson and Torsten Kohnert are resting in Eagle.

Rookie Nora Sjalin is on the trail between the Trout Creek hospitality stop and Eagle, with Chase Tingle, Richie Beattie and Rob Cooke resting at Trout Creek, approximately 74 km from Eagle.

Veteran Dave Dalton is just closing in on Trout Creek, with Pat Noddin approximately 18 km behind Dalton.

Red Lantern Olivia Webster is also on the trail from Slaven’s Roadhouse to Trout Creek.

Once teams arrive in Dawson, they face a mandatory 36-hour layover before continuing the race to Whitehorse.

Dave Turner wins Yukon Quest 300

Dave Turner, a 49-year-old rookie from Fairbanks, Alaska, is the 2020 Yukon Quest 300 champion.

Turner was the first musher to reach the finish line in Central, winning the race at 9:40 p.m. local time on Feb 3 with nine dogs on the line.

Close behind was Jeremy Taska, who finished second just 18 minutes behind Turner at 9:58 p.m.

Yukoner Nathaniel Hamlyn was third in the 300, finishing at 12:31 a.m. on Feb. 4, followed by American Madeline Rubida and her team of dogs from Tagish Lake Kennel in fourth at 2:04 a.m.

All 13 mushers remaining in the Yukon Quest 300 reached the finish line on Feb. 4, although Red Lantern Chase Stoddard arrived after the banquet.

The Vet Care Award was a tie between Traska and Jacob Witkop.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at

john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Yukon Quest

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