Rookie Alaskan wins Quest 300

Nenana, Alaska's Jessie Holmes entered the Yukon Quest 300 with a specific and lofty objective. He entered it to win it. And he did just that.

Nenana, Alaska’s Jessie Holmes entered the Yukon Quest 300 with a specific and lofty objective.

He entered it to win it. And he did just that.

“When I came here, I came with the goal to win the race,” said Holmes. “I didn’t talk about it with anyone other than my handlers, but I wanted to win the race because I thought my dogs had the potential. They’re young and for most of them it’s their first 300-mile race, but I came in with a strategy that would give me an opportunity to be towards the front: to keep short rests … That’s how I trained and set the team up.”

The 33-year-old race rookie completed the 300-mile (483-kilometre) race from Fairbanks to Central, Alaska with a total time of two days and 10 minutes – the fastest total time in years.

He reached the finish in Central at 3:43 p.m. on Monday. 2014 champ Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers, Alaska – the only woman to win the Yukon Quest 1,000 – placed second at 4:39 p.m.

Fairbanks race rookie Joanna Jagow crossed the first at 6:19 p.m. for third.

Holmes was first to reach the final checkpoint in Circle, about an hour and a half ahead of Zirkle.

“I saw her come in and I thought, I don’t know what she’s going to do, so might rest here or go after me, so I’d better not stay here too long,” said Holmes. “I was like, this is my opportunity and if I don’t go for it now I’m going to regret it the rest of the year.”

“I tried not to look over my shoulder because I realized I just had to run my own race,” he added.

Holmes dropped five dogs during the race and reached the finish with only seven, the least of any of the top 12 finishers. This week’s race was just his third 300-mile event and he was using it as preparation for running whole shebang – the 1,000-mile Quest – next year.

“I plan to come back next week and train going over Eagle summit going the other way to prepare for next year,” said Holmes.

“I’m jazzed up and energized. I’m not even tired from this; I feel energized.”

Ontario’s Joshua Skerritt – another rookie – was the top Canadian in the 300, placing fifth at 10:52 p.m. on Monday.

Mendenhall’s Olaf Thurau was the top Yukoner, finishing early Tuesday for ninth.

Teams in the 33rd annual Yukon Quest 1,000-mile race will begin to reach Dawson City, the race’s halfway point, mid-day Wednesday.

At press time Wednesday morning, defending champ Brent Sass was at the front of the pack. The 36-year-old of Eureka, Alaska, left the Clinton Creek checkpoint with an hour and a half lead over second place’s Allen Moore, the 2013 and 2014 champ from Two Rivers.

Sass had a 24-kilometre lead over Moore at last check.

2012 champ Hugh Neff of Tok, Alaska was just behind Moore in third and Two Rivers’ Matt Hall in fourth.

10 Mile’s Ed Hopkins was the leading Yukoner in fifth place. Hopkins, 51, placed third last year for his best finish to date.

As for the other Yukoners: Whitehorse’s Yuka Honda was in 10th; Mendenhall’s Luc Tweddell 15th; Whitehorse’s Rob Cooke in 17th; and Mendenhall’s Gaetan Pierrard in 18th.

With the scratch of American J. Jay Levy on Sunday, 22 teams remain in the 1,600-kilometre race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read