A year off of racing has done nothing to slow Crispin Studer and his dogs.
The Carcross musher won the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race last Friday in Dawson City.
It was the second title he regained this season after not racing during the 2011-2012 winter.
“It went fairly well. The weather was warm, but not too warm, the trail was a bit punchy, but the way back was much better,” said Studer. “I had the advantage that I was up front when the race started, so I had better trail.
“The dogs, I was really impressed with them. They were running really good. Everything went just the way I was hoping.”
Studer, who won the Percy in 2011, finished the 338-kilometre race from Dawson to Eagle, Alaska, and back, in 22 hours and six minutes.
He ran nine dogs in the race that follows the delivery route of legendary Yukon mail carrier Percy DeWolfe, nicknamed the Iron Man of the North.
Studer had some stiff competition in the race.
Placing second was Tagish’s Michelle Phillips with a time of 23:38. Phillips won this year’s Yukon Quest 300 race in February. She is a six-time Yukon Quest musher (in the 1,000-mile race) placing fourth in 2008.
Four-time Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt came in third with a time of 23:55.
Last year’s Percy champ Gerry Willomitzer, of Shallow Bay, Yukon, came fourth in 24:23. Willomitzer placed third in the 2007 Yukon Quest.
Yellowknife’s Dyan Bergen, another Quest musher, raced to fourth in 25:29.
The hometown favourite, Dawson’s Brian Wilmshurst, placed sixth with a time of 25:40. Wilmshurst, who has raced in the last two Yukon Quests, was given the Vet Care Award and tied Marsh Lake’s Simi Morrison for the Sportsmanship Award. Morrison placed 12th in the race of 14 teams.
Though there was no Percy Skijor event this year, the Percy Junior, from Dawson to Fortymile and return, had 10 entries.
Carcross’ Maren Bradley won the 160-kilometre junior with a time of 10:00. Bradley placed fifth in February’s River Runner 120 and competed in the Yukon Quest in 2012.
Whitehorse’s Jonathan Lucas, who was the only entry in the Percy Skijor event last year, came second in the junior at 10:28.
Marcel Marin raced to third with a time of 10:35.
The other title Studer recaptured this season was the River Runner, winning the race a third time in February.
Studer, who is originally from Switzerland and moved to the Yukon in 2006, missed the previous sled season as his family welcomed a new addition.
“I didn’t race a lot last year because my second boy was born,” said Studer. “I’m really happy because I know my breeding is going the right way and the dogs are still doing good. So I was really happy with my season.”
Studer placed 13th in this year’s Yukon Quest and finished 18th in 2004. He also won the Yukon Quest 300 in 2009.
Studer and his dogs from Pika Kennels won the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race’s 30-mile dogsled division three straight years between 2008 and 2010.
“My plans (for next season) are to run a bunch of 200- and 300-miles races in Alaska,” said Studer. “I want to focus on mid-distance for the next couple of years. That way I’m not away from the kids for two or three weeks. For most of those races they can even come along and have a fun trip as well.”
Studer also plans to defend his River Runner and Percy DeWolfe titles next season.
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