Jason Biasetti, seen here at the 2013 Carbon Hill race day, finished 14th in the 2019 Copper Basin 300. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Yukoner Michelle Phillips finishes fifth at Copper Basin 300

“So the trail was put in and then the temperatures dropped down to -40 C. It makes for a fast trail”

The 2019 Copper Basin 300 sled dog race was Jan. 12 to 15 from Ganoka, Alaska, to Glennallen, Alaska, with 35 teams starting out along a very fast 263-mile (423-kilometre) trail.

Nicolas Petit won the race for the second year in a row, crossing the finish line at 7:07 a.m. on Jan. 14.

Second place went to Brent Sass who finished at 7:42 a.m. and third place went to Matt Hall after he crossed the line at 8:31 a.m.

The top Yukoner in the race, Michelle Phillips, finished fifth overall after reaching the finish line at 8:49 a.m.

Other Yukon finishes included Jason Biasetti in 14th, Ed Hopkins in 17th, Brian Wilmshurst in 20th, Pierre Boudreau in 31st and Rob Cooke in 32nd.

“This year’s race was a fast race,” said race manager Jason Severs. “The winner’s run time was just under 26 hours and the trail was fast, hard and described by some of the mushers as a sprint course race.”

The trail was so fast, in fact, that all the mushers crossed the finish line in plenty of time for the finish banquet on Jan. 15.

“All the mushers had finished the race by Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., so that left all day Tuesday pretty much for everybody to go home and start getting stuff cleaned up,” said Severs. “The mushers had pretty much a day off before the banquet.”

Severs added this was the first year in his memory that all the mushers finished before the banquet.

Planning for the annual race starts well in advance — monthly meetings begin in March — but some warm weather made for last-minute trail adjustments.

“We moved the race start two weeks before the race because rivers were not frozen that we had to cross,” said Severs. “Moving the race start, jockeying the dog trucks in and out of that parking lot area — there is a ton of work that takes place behind the scenes.”

Like the Whitehorse area, the trail route had some snow early in the season but fresh snowfall has been hard to come by.

“Our snow is very limited. We got snow back in the middle of December and it’s less than 16 inches (40 centimetres),” said Severs. “So the trail was put in and then the temperatures dropped down to -40 C. It makes for a fast trail.”

Thirty-five mushers started the race and all but one — Hugh Wakker — completed the race.

Kailyn Davis was the last finisher, crossing the line at 5:14 a.m. on Jan. 15.

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

Copper Basin 300 results

1 Nicolas Petit

2 Brent Sass

3 Matt Hall

4 Sven Haltmann

5 Michelle Phillips

6 Allen Moore

7 Robert Redington

8 Matthew Failor

9 Paige Drobny

10 Torsten Kohnert

11 Joanna Jagow

12 Jeremy Traska

13 Ryne Olson

14 Jason Biasetti

15 Ramey Smyth

16 Cody Strathe

17 Ed Hopkins

18 Jeff Reid

19 Deke Naaktgeboren

20 Brian Wilmshurst

21 Kalyn Holl

22 Sebastien Dos Santos Borges

23 Eli Hedgecock

24 Jim Lanier

25 Matthew Paveglio

26 Mark Selland

27 Ryan Santiago

28 Grayson Bruton

29 Laura Allaway

30 Mari Troshynski

31 Pierre Boudreau

32 Rob Cooke

33 Simon Mcloughlin

34 Kailyn Davis

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