Crispin Studer is the Carbon Hill king once again.
The Carcross musher won his fourth 30-mile dog sled division at the 20th annual Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race on Saturday at the Mount Lorne Community Centre.
“I’m happy, it’s always fun to win the race,” said Studer. “The people who put the trail in – I think it was the (Canadian) Rangers – did a really good job.
“The dogs did really good, the trail was awesome, it was colder than I thought, which was good for the dogs.”
RELATED:See full results here.
The 33-year-old, who won the race’s 30-mile dogsled division three straight years between 2008 and 2010, completed the race in one hour, 43 minutes and 44 seconds.
That would be a record if not for the course being shorter than usual. Because of warm temperatures leading up to Saturday, 30-mile racers didn’t cross Annie Lake and the course was instead about 28.7 miles.
Temperatures dipped down to about minus 10 Celsius at the start of the race.
“It’s warmer than we’d like, but not plus eight or 10 like it was a few days ago,” said Studer.
Jonathan Lucas placed second at 1:48:35, ahead of William Kleedehn in third at 1:51:55.
After taking off the 2011/12 race season, Studer returned to win his second Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race last year in Dawson City. He also won his third River Runner race last February.
Studer, who is originally from Switzerland and moved to the Yukon in 2006, placed 13th in last year’s Yukon Quest.
Tagish’s Dave Johnson finished the 10-mile dog sled in record time … barely.
Johnson crossed the finish line in 30:35, just one second faster than his record-setting 2012 time. Johnson also set the previous record in 2006.
“It was awesome. I couldn’t believe it, I thought with the hot weather the trail would be worse, but it was super fast,” said Johnson. “The (Canadian) Rangers do such an awesome job with the trails. It’s such a fun weekend.”
Johnson recently returned from racing in the Grande Prairie Sled Dog Derby in Alberta and the Caribou Challenge in 100 Mile House in B.C. He took third in Grande Prairie and second, by one second, at 100 Mile House.
“It’s always nice to do the local stuff too,” said Johnson. “I’ve been doing this one for quite a few years. It’s one of our favourite races up here.”
Whitehorse’s Adam Robinson was likely the only racer to travel over 30-miles by trail on Saturday.
Robinson took first in the 30-mile skijor race, but encountered some navigational troubles during the race.
“A snowmachine came up behind me and the driver said, ‘You’re going the wrong way,’” said Robinson. “I think (I did an extra) five or six miles.”
Robinson, who was in the race for the first time, finished the trek in 2:47:24.
“On the way out the trail was super icy, so you can’t really skate,” said Robinson. “You’re kind of just holding on for dear life. It’s all bumpy, so you have no smooth glides.
“On the way back, once the sleds went over it and the sun warmed it up, I could skate. I think I was probably 15, 20 minutes faster on the way back. It’s usually the opposite because the dogs are tired.”
The only other skijorer in the 30-mile division was Katherine Sheepway. She scratched from the race when she decided to return on more familiar trails. She too found the conditions less than ideal for skijoring.
“I wasn’t able to slow down completely or brake completely because of an injury on my foot – I wasn’t able to dig in enough,” said Sheepway. “I was approaching a really difficult part of the trail and I wasn’t feeling confident, so I turned my team around.”
Sheepway won the first two Yukon Brewing Twister races so far this season, setting the overall fastest time in both races ahead of dog sled teams. She also placed third in the six-mile skijor race on Saturday.
“This trail is notoriously icy and it was pretty bad out there, but (my husband) Darryl (Sheepway) told me it’s in the best condition he’s ever seen it in. So my hat goes off to all the mushers running eight-dog teams out there.”
Johnson wasn’t the only record setter on Saturday.
Whitehorse’s Cynthia Corriveau set a new record in the six-mile skijor with a time of 21:17, beating the previous time of 21:26 set by Charmyn Harms in 2002.
Carriveau placed second in the 30-mile skijor at last year’s Carbon Hill and in 2011. She also placed second behind Katherine in this season’s Twister races.
This year’s Carbon Hill race featured 19 sled teams and 15 skijor teams. No junior or kids races were held this year.
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