Allen Moore speaks to a race official at the Pelly Crossing checkpoint of the Yukon Quest on Feb. 3. Moore was the fifth musher to arrive in Pelly Crossing, but left with the lead after immediately continuing on the trail following his check-in. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Day two of the Yukon Quest sees multiple lead changes

As of 10 a.m. on Feb. 4, live tracking showed Yukoner Michelle Phillips in first place

The Yukon Quest continues as mushers race 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Day two on Feb. 3 saw most teams race from Carmacks to the next checkpoint in Pelly Crossing, a distance of approximately 115 km, and some continue on towards Dawson City.

With the race now a full day removed from the trucking, individual race strategies mean mushers have started to leapfrog each other depending not only on speed, but also the timing of their rest stops.

Canadian Hans Gatt continued to set the pace early in the day. Leaving Carmacks with the lead, he arrived in Pelly Crossing at 5:21 p.m. where he rested for six hours.

Matt Hall was next into Pelly, followed by Dennis Tremblay and Yukoner Michelle Phillips.

Defending champion Allen Moore was the fifth to arrive in Pelly Crossing, doing so at 9:16 p.m., and he took the lead when he chose to leave for the Stepping Stone hospitality stop after only grabbing from his drop bags and adding a dog to bring his total up to 14.

Moore said the trail was in good condition and that his team was running well.

“No concerns,” said Moore. “Things are going smoothly.”

Moore indicated he had planned to run through Pelly from the start and joked with his handlers he couldn’t skip the food in Stepping Stone.

“How can I pass it up?” he asked. “It’s there waiting on me; I just gotta go get it.”

Gatt was the first out on the trail in pursuit of Moore, leaving at 11:18 p.m., followed by Brent Sass at 11:19 p.m.

Phillips was the fifth musher to leave Pelly Crossing, doing so at 1:24 a.m. on Feb. 4.

Tremblay left approximately 30 minutes after Phillips.

Nathaniel Hamlyn arrived in Pelly Crossing just before midnight and was back on the trail by 6 a.m.

Other Yukoners in the race include Jason Biasetti who checked into Pelly Crossing at 2:07 a.m. in 17th place, Brian Wilmshurst who reached Pelly Crossing in 20th place at 3:35 a.m., and Rob Cooke who arrived at 5:20 a.m. in 24th position.

As of 10 a.m. on Feb. 4, live tracking shows Phillips in first place nearly halfway between Stepping Stone and the Scroggie Creek dog drop.

In second is Paige Drobny, followed by Moore, Tremblay, Gatt and Sass.

Ryne Olson, Hamlyn and Torsten Kohnert are all also on the trail between Stepping Stone and Scroggie Creek.

Current red lantern Lisbet Norris is near McCabe Creek while all other mushers are on the trail to Stepping Stone or resting in Pelly Crossing.

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

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