Marcin Gienieczko smiles as he approached the finish of the Yukon River Quest on June 30. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Yukon River Quest floats to a close in Dawson City

Voyageur teams finish one-two in 20th anniversary race

DAWSON CITY — The 20th anniversary Yukon River Quest came to an end in Dawson City over the weekend with 13 teams crossing the finish line on June 29 and the remaining teams finishing on June 30.

Of the 103 teams that left Whitehorse to start the 715-kilometre race, 76 completed the race.

The voyageur team Yukon Wide Adventures — made up of Thomas de Jager, Gus Oliveira, Stephen Mooney, Spencer Edelman, Kendall McDonald and Brandon Johnston — were the first across the line with a time of 44 hours, 21 minutes and 53 seconds.

Although the team led the race wire-to-wire, things got closer near the end thanks to a patch of bad weather.

Mooney said lightning and rough water forced the team to wait for the worst to pass before continuing to the end.

“It was enough to push us to the shore for safety,” said Mooney. “When you’re in a 30-foot carbon boat with six carbon paddles in the air — yeah, not advisable to stay on water.”

In the mean time, Paddlesports Mongrels, who finished second, were able to stay on the river and make up some time. Despite being over an hour behind Yukon Wide Adventures at the Coffee Creek checkpoint, Paddlesports Mongrels were just 20 minutes back when the race was over.

“You feel like you’re having a good run, but you don’t know if guys are taking faster channels, shortcuts, things like that,” said Mooney. “The way the river bends, they didn’t get hit with the winds the way we did. If we would have been on shore for 40 minutes, they would have been able to see us on a long straight stretch and that would have been a game changer.”

In third place was The Kiwis, the top tandem kayak team, with a time of 44 hours, 57 minutes and 56 seconds.

Team Alpha Super Cool Dynamite Wolf Squadron was fourth overall with a time of 45 hours, seven minutes and five seconds and was the fastest tandem canoe.

In the solo categories, Wayne Anderson was the fastest kayaker with a time of 49 hours, 58 minutes and 39 seconds. Bryan Allemang was the fastest canoeist with a time of 54 hours, five minutes and 36 seconds.

Bart de Zwart was the top standup paddleboard finisher after crossing the line in 55 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds.

The race weekend concluded with an awards banquet at Robert Service School following the Canada Day parade on July 1.

In addition to recognizing the race finishers and top three in each category, organizers also introduced the Great River Club for paddlers who have paddled at least 5,000 km in the race over its 20-year history.

Twenty-three paddlers have paddled between 5,000 and 10,000 km in the race, and four have paddled more than 10,000 km.

Larry Seethaler, Ingrid Wilcoz, Dawn Fralick and Patricia Clune have all completed at least 14 Yukon River Quests.

Seethaler, who has paddled more than 13,000 km in the race, said the race community is what kept him coming back.

“We’ve made so many neat friends and great acquaintances.”

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

CORRECTION:

The July 4 story “Yukon River Quest floats to a close in Dawson City” contained information that was corrected by River Quest organizers after the News went to press.

The story said the team of Sebastien Le Meaux and Stéphane Leblond finished second in standup paddleboard. Race organizers have since issued a correction stating the pair were not eligible for awards because Leblond was assisting Le Meaux, who is visually impaired.

From the Yukon River Quest organizers: “Emily Matthews finished 3rd in SUP. When the board allowed the assisted Handi Vision Sport Evenement team from France in the race as a double SUP, it did not make that team eligible for awards.”

Yukon River Quest Results

Overall

1 Yukon Wide Adventures 44:21:53

2 Paddlesports Mongrels 44:44:31

3 The Kiwis 44:57:56

4 Team Alpha Super Cool Dynamite Wolf Squadron 45:07:05

5 Perfect Storm 46:35:32

Mens Voyageur

1 Yukon Wide Adventures 44:21:53

2 Paddlesports Mongrels 44:44:31

3 Dyea Devils Club 51:50:46

Womens Voyageur

1 Stix Together 51:34:15

2 Paddlers Abreast 61:12:28

3 Horny Women of the Yukon 64:07:59

Mixed Voyageur

1 Voyager VIII Mission 47:20:49

2 Team Ts’alvit 51:15:59

3 Yukon Slayers 65:01:51

Mens Tandem Canoe

1 Team Alpha Super Cool Dynamite Wolf Squadron 45:07:05

2 Perfect Storm 46:35:32

3 Strokes of Genius 48:56:08

Womens Tandem Canoe

1 Ross Sisters 54:53:28

2 Huptown Girls 56:06:51

3 A Dachshund’s Physique 69:33:23

Mixed Tandem Canoe

1 The Bickersons 49:00:21

2 Golden Lake Crew 49:00:21

3 Dozy Difters 52:27:35

Mens Tandem Kayak

1 World of Kayaks Team Estonia Andres-Leivo 48:07:28

2 BendRacing/YogaSlackers 49:03:27

3 Estonian Vikings 49:15:59

Mixed Tandem Kayak

1 The Kiwis 44:57:56

2 Hot Wheels and The Other Guy 55:35:59

3 Spirit of America 55:35:59

Solo Canoe

1 Bryan Allemang 54:05:36

2 William Siersdorfer 55:42:18

3 Margo Millette 56:45:57

Mens Solo Kayak

1 Wayne Anderson 49:58:39

2 Tony Hystek 51:50:48

3 Michael Doerksen 52:52:26

Womens Solo Kayak

1 Eileen Visser 50:59:38

2 Kelley Watson 53:59:42

3 Carmen Gustafson 64:07:50

C4

1 The More The Merrier 52:04:18

2 Louisiana Lionheart 69:23:16

Standup Paddleboard

1 Bart de Zwart 55:35:30

2 Alex de Sain 69:45:11

3 Emily Matthews 69:54:52

Yukon River Quest

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Emily Matthews of Burlingame, California, nears the end of 715 kilometers on the Yukon River. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

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