Michelle Phillips leaves Circle, Alaska, the evening of Feb. 9 during the 2019 Yukon Quest. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Brent Sass surges into the Yukon Quest lead after Eagle Summit

The leader has just 183 km to cover before the finish in Fairbanks

The end of the 2019 Yukon Quest is drawing near as race leader Brent Sass and his team of 14 dogs are at the Mile 101 checkpoint as of 9 a.m. local time on Feb. 10.

Sass has about 183 km to cover before the finish in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The next group of mushers — Yukoners Hans Gatt and Michelle Phillips as well as American Allen Moore — are all stopped at Central, Alaska.

Paige Drobny, Denis Tremblay and Matt Hall are all on the trail between Circle, Alaska, and Central, Alaska, while Torsten Kohnert, Ryne Olson, Jessie Royer and Yukoner Nathaniel Hamlyn are resting in Circle.

Hall said the trail into Circle was in alright shape most of the way.

“It wasn’t bad,” said Hall. “It softened up quite a bit in the sun in the middle of the day, but the first couple hours this morning and the last couple hours into here the trail was nice.”

He said he has only crossed the upcoming Eagle Summit once heading to Fairbanks, Alaska, and that he had no issues with it.

“We scooted right up it,” said Hall. “I haven’t, knock on wood, had a problem with it yet. Because we got up it so easy two years ago, … it’s not something that’s on my mind at all.”

Cody Strathe, Brian Wilmshurst, Martin Apayauq Reitan and Curt Perano are all on their way to Circle from Slaven’s Roadhouse.

Dawson City’s Jason Biasetti, Mount Lorne’s Rob Cooke, Dave Dalton, Deke Naaktgeboren and Andrew Pace are all resting at Slaven’s Roadhouse.

Chase Tingle, Misha Wiljes, Isabelle Travadon and Jim Lanier are all approaching Slaven’s Roadhouse, while Remy Leduc, Laura Allaway and Hendrik Stachnau have all left the Trout Creek hospitality spot bound for Slaven’s Roadhouse.

From Circle to Central is 119 kilometres, from Central to Mile 101 is 45 km and from Mile 101 to Two Rivers is 66 km.

Two Rivers is the last mandatory checkpoint, and mushers must wait eight hours before continuing the final 117 km to the finish line in Fairbanks.

The field remains at 27 mushers.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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