Three-and-a-half minutes is all that separated Crispin Studer from a fourth straight title at the 17th annual Carbon Hill Dogsled Race at the Lorne Mountain Community Centre on Sunday.
However, taking the top prize at the event’s most prestigious race, the 30-mile, six-to-eight dog sled race, was Normand Casavant, surprisingly racing with what he described as a ‘B’ team from his kennel.
“Last night, at the last minute, I said to (my wife) Karine, ‘Choose your team,’ and she decided to take all the best dogs,” said Casavant. “But I think they did a good job because I heard I finished first.”
Casavant’s wife Karine Grenier, on the trail with the ‘A’ team, took third behind Studer in second.
RELATED:See more photos from the race.
Trail conditions improved as the race went on, helping Casavant outpace Grenier and Studer.
And his dogs put on a competitive sprint, helping him chase down plenty of other teams.
“I was 13th (off the start), so I had to pass a lot of teams, and the dogs were always excited,” said Casavant. “Another thing too, on the lake Karine had to open the trail when it was soft. When we got to it, there were six or seven already on it, so it was open and compacted. So it was easier for me on the lake.”
Moving up considerably in the standings, Casavant finished last year’s Carbon Hill race in 10th, the same place as he finished the Yukon Quest the last two years.
“Last year I think I took the ‘C’ team,” he said with a laugh.
In the 30-mile, two-to-four dog skijor race, last year’s runner up Cynthia Cirriveau again took second while newcomer Stefan Wackerhagen won. Last year’s third-place finisher, Gaetan Pierrard, who was the only one to enter the division in 2009, again grabbed third.
Tony Radford defended his 10-mile, four-to-six dogs title, arriving ahead of Christine Badcock in second and Pierre Duc in third.
The six-mile skijor race saw a new champion crowned with Caelan McLean taking the title from defender Christal Bartczak, who was fourth. Kendra Murray, the 2008 winner, took second ahead of third-place Katherine Scheck.
In the two-mile junior dogsled race, last year’s third-place finisher Seth Carey moved up to first.
Finishing second was Finn Matrishon in front of Thea Carey.
For the one-dog, 200-metre kids’ race, Mable Matrishon moved up eight spots from last year to take first ahead of Lon Perron and Sya Berkman.
With 58 mushers and skijorers out for the event and with less than ideal near-zero temperatures, no records fell in terms of participation and course times.
“A little bit colder is a little bit faster,” said race marshal Al Pope. “There used to be more dog mushers living down by the lake, so the lake trail was open all the time. That makes a big difference. This time the trail was just put in for the race.”
30-mile dogsled race (6-8 dogs)
1st Normand Casavant – 2:37:10
2nd Crispin Studer – 2:40:39
3rd Karine Grenier – 2:46:12
4th Ed Hopkins – 2:57: 58
5th Kyla Johnson – 2:59:32
6th Blaine Walden – 2:59:38
7th Yuka Honda – 3:04:54
8th Fabian Schmitz – 3:14: 40
9th Alexandra Rochart – 3:16:52
10th Maren Bradley – 3:17:09
11th Eric Porteau – 3:31:29
12th Deb Knight – 3:36:04
13th Roxanne Mason – 3:36:32
14th Megan Routley – 3:50:55
30-mile skijor race (2-4 dogs)
1st Stefan Wackerhagen – 2:52:37
2nd Cynthia Corriveau – 2:57:02
3rd Gaetan Pierrard – 3:07:30
4th Claudia Wickert – 3:13:36
5th Darryl Sherpway – 3:13:55
10-mile dogsled race (4-6 dogs)
1st Tony Radford – 0:32:03
2nd Christine Badcock – 0:36:36
3rd Pierre Duc – 0:41:45
4th Jonathan Lucas – 0:46:02
5th Christiane Champeval – 0:47:04
6th Jim Hajash – 0:49:38
7th Mathias Beck – 0:51:54
8th Gerry Willomitzer – 0:52:46
9th Mara Pfeiffer – 0:56:36
10th Jason Audette – 0:56:36
11th Colin Morrison – 0:56:51
12th Simi Morrison – 0:58:32
Six-mile skijor race
1st Caelan McLean – 0:21:56
2nd Kendra Murray – 0:22:24
3rd Katherine Scheck – 0:25:59
4th Christal Bartczak – 0:26:09
5th Karen McKenna – 0:26:26
6th David Mason – 0:26:29
7th Sandro Holzingen – 0:29:10
8th Trevor Braun – 0:29:13
9th Carmen Muehlemann – 0:30:23
10th Elisabeth Weigand – 0: 32:57
11th Rika Takahashi – 0:37:02
12th Wendy Morrison – 0:41:42
Two-mile junior dogsled race (2-3 dogs)
1st Seth Carey – 9:47
2nd Finn Matrishon – 11:08
3rd Thea Carey – 12:04
4th Samuel Mason – 12:14
5th Nora Braun – 16:50
200-metre kids dogsled race (1 dog)
1st Mable Matrishon – 36 seconds
2nd Lon Perron – 41 seconds
3rd Sya Berkman – 49 seconds
4th Ensio Lera – 53 seconds
5th Xavier LeSage – 58 seconds
6th Asha Naumann Dar – 1:26
7th Constance Lapointe – 1:32
8th Solon McDougal – 1:42
9th Dahlia Lapointe – 1:49
10th Alizee LeSage – 2:20
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org