Last year’s winner Matt Hall of Two Rivers, Alaska, finished second in the 2018 Yukon Quest with a time of 10 days, two hours and 46 minutes. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Yukon Quest field officially halved as another musher scratches

Trail rerouted near Braeburn due to overflow

The Yukon Quest is drawing to an end and it seems half of the original field will reach the finish line.

At 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 15, Whitehorse’s Claudia Wickert scratched from the race in Braeburn. A release from the Yukon Quest said issues with her lead dogs were the reason for her decision.

That means 13 mushers of the 26 that left Fairbanks have officially withdrawn from the race.

Americans took the fop four spots in this year’s race, as Allen Moore was followed into Whitehorse by Matt Hall, Laura Neese and rookie Vebjorn Aishana Reitan.

Ed Hopkins, the top Canadian, finished at 12:52 a.m. on Valentine’s Day with 12 dogs on the line.

Two more mushers crossed the finish line on Feb. 14 — both rookies.

Tim Pappas of Willow, Alaska, finished the race in 10 days, 22 hours and 37 minutes.

Pappas credited his dogs for his sixth-place finish.

“I’ve just felt pretty lucky to be travelling with them this whole way,” said Pappas. “They exceeded my expectations through the entire race.”

Next across the finish line was German rookie Bernhard Schuchert.

A veteran of 14 Finnmarksløpets, a 1,100-km race in Norway, and an Iditarod finisher, Schuchert told the News last month that he was drawn to the Quest because it was the only long distance race he hadn’t completed.

At the finish line, Schuchert said this was the toughest race he’s ever done.

Two more mushers finished the race on the morning of Feb. 15.

American rookie Alex Buetow finished the Quest with a time of 11 days and 20 hours, followed by Mendenhall’s Luc Tweddell.

Tweddell said running along Lake Laberge was different than the usual overland trail.

Like many of the mushers, Tweddell said it was dark when he was on the lake, so he didn’t see much of the scenery.

A section of trail eight miles from Braeburn has been rerouted because of overflow.

Warmer weather caused conditions to worsen and race officials detoured the trail 500 to 700 metres around the overflow out of concern for safety of the remaining teams.

As of 1 p.m. on Feb. 15, Dave Dalton, Riley Dyche, Rob Cooke and Nathaniel Hamlyn are all on the trail from Braeburn to Whitehorse.

The Yukon Quest is holding a post-race Meet the Mushers event in the Grey Room at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre from 6 to 10 p.m. on Feb. 16. Admission to the event is free.

On Feb. 17 from 5 to 10 p.m. the finish and awards banquet is at the Coast High Country Inn in Whitehorse.

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

Quest Results

1 Allen Moore 9:20:01

2 Matt Hall 10:02:46

3 Laura Neese 10:04:56

4 Vebjorn Reitan 10:09:23

5 Ed Hopkins 10:12:52

6 Tim Pappas 10:22:41

7 Bernhard Schuchert 11:11:16

8 Alex Buetow 11:20:00

9 Luc Tweddell 11:20:17

10 Dave Dalton

11 Riley Dyche

12 Rob Cooke

13 Nathaniel Hamlyn

Yukon Quest 300 Results

1 Ben Good 2:05:43

2 Joanna Jagow 2:05:43

3 Richie Beattie 2:08:15

4 Chase Tingle 2:15:09

5 Chris Ciancibelli 2:18:29

6 Deke Naaktgeboren 2:20:13

7 Allen Dunn 2:20:24

8 Thom Walker 3:07:25

9 Laura Allaway 3:07:41

10 Olivia Shank Neff 3:09:30

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