Allen Moore of Two Rivers, Alaska, had a rather uneventful weekend, considering he was in a 300-mile dog sled race.
The 57-year-old rode pristine trails in good weather on his way to winning the 26th annual Copper Basin 300 race on Monday in Glennallen, Alaska.
So, how was the race? “Well, when you win, it’s always good,” said Moore. “Everything was good. Weather was good, trails were good. I couldn’t complain about anything.”
Moore took first with a time of 50 hours and 35 minutes. It was his third year in a row winning the race and sixth in total. Forty-nine teams began the race on Saturday with only five scratching by the end.
“Nothing really bad happened as far as weather, as far as trails, and normally it does,” said Moore. “This year the weather was warm, we didn’t go through waist-deep water. A lot of years it’s 40 below and the wind is blowing, it’s snowing, you go through water – all kinds of things – and that just didn’t happen this year.
“It was easier to camp out. It was easier than most years.”
Knik, Alaska’s Ray Redington Jr. placed second; Girdwood, Alaska’s Nicolas Petit came third; Two Rivers’ Ryne Olson fourth; Wasilla, Alaska’s Benjamin Harper fifth.
Two Rivers’ Aliy Zirkle, who will attempt to defend her title in the Yukon Quest 300 next month, placed sixth.
Redington, Olson and seventh place’s Matt Hall all entered in this year’s Yukon Quest 1,000.
Dawson City’s Brian Wilmshurst led Yukon’s four mushers in the race with 21st place. Yukon’s Rob Cooke finished 36th, Fabian Schmitz 32nd and Peter Reuter 43rd.
Wilmshurst and Cooke are also registered for this year’s Yukon Quest 1,000.
Next month’s 1,600-kilometre race will be Wilmshurst’s fourth consecution Yukon Quest. The 32-year-old placed 10th last year for his best finish yet and was given the Sportsmanship Award.
Next month will be Cooke’s second Quest after placing 18th in 2013.
Moore will be attempting to win his third straight Yukon Quest next month.
“Sounds like we have a good field and it’s going to be an exciting race,” said Moore. “I’m sure they’ll be a lot of stories from the Quest because there always is.”
Moore’s dog team will be “very similar to last year, although some of the older ones will probably not be on there. However, some of their young will … Ones that are just as good or better. So it could be a better team, you never know.”
Moore is one of four past champions registered for Quest, this year running from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska, beginning on Feb. 7.
2012 Quest champ Hugh Neff of Tok, Alaska will attempt to take back the crown after finishing as the runner-up behind Moore the last two years. Next month will be the 47-year-old’s 15th Yukon Quest.
Fairbanks, Alaska’s Lance Mackey will attempt to win a record fifth Quest next month. Mackey, 44, who is the first musher to win the Quest and Iditarod in the same year, has four of each title under his belt.
Denali Park, Alaska’s Jeff King hasn’t raced the Quest in 25 years, but he’s not exactly a long shot. The 59-year-old won the race in 1989 and claimed second in 1986 and 1990.
There are currently 26 teams registered, including five Yukoners.
“It’ll be exciting,” said Moore. “You just never know what you’re going to get when you get to the Quest. They all are really good mushers, they have done well in the Iditarod and a lot of other races. You just have to be a little bit lucky in these races, not get dogs injured. If you keep your dogs healthy, you have a good chance at being up in the front, which I hope I am.”
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