THE ONLY VIDEO COVERAGE OF THIS HISTORIC RACE——————————————Day 3… The final day of the Open North American was a nail-biter. Eager fans listened in to their radios and wrote down the times as the mushers passed through the checkpoints. With a reverse start there was bound to be a lot of passing. With so much passing and large teams, mushers have to be aware of each other, and yesterdays many passes were for the most part flawless. Ken Chezik scratched due to sick dogs. He had consulted with other mushers such as Arleigh Reynolds, and was advised that for the benefit of his team in the future, that a scratch would be best. Chezik said after the event that he was very happy to have made that decision. His dogs are young, and they have a long future ahead of them. Aaron Campbell, running Ross Saunderson’s dogs, was the highest finishing rookie. Aaron felt very privileged to have run some of the nicest dogs around, and was thrilled to be a part of the longest running, and most prestigious sled dog race.Mark Hartum finished also very well, and was well helped by his family – especially oldest daughter Mya, who walked the dogs around the truck after each day, loaded the dogs in the bottom boxes of the truck, and held out the leaders. Mya is just 5 years old!The largest cheers were emitted when Stewart Attla pedaled his sled down 2nd Ave. The crowd screamed his name and cheered him on as he finished the race in 18th place.Egil Ellis posted the fastest run of the day, and in doing so posted the fastest ever 3rd day! Egil is known for having something up his sleeve for the final day, and he wasn’t letting us down. His run, though, was not fast enough to beat Buddy Streeper for the 3-day win. Buddy was punching the air all the way down 2nd Ave, knowing that he had won the overall race. As soon as Buddy finished the race he released his dogs from the gangline as a sign for the dogs that their job was done. Terry Streeper gathered bottles of champagne and he and Buddy opened the bottles and poured glasses for the mushers and spectators.Arleigh Reynolds finished 3rd overall, his best ONAC finish. Arleigh had never been on the podium before in this race and was thrilled to have run such a great race and top be in the top 3. Arleigh come into the ONAC with much of the same team he raced with in the Rondy, and despite the meltdown his team experienced on the 2nd day at the Rondy, Arleigh and the team were able to bounce back and run 3 very solid races. The stress of the crowds at the Rondy for much of the race was too much for his leaders. Using the same leaders, and also adding another young leader to the line-up this weekend, Arleigh proved that his team well prepared and has what it takes to be in the top of the sport.At the banquet, Arleigh noted that the younger drivers this weekend – Cadzow, Attla and Ehart – were well on their way to becoming champions, and while it took Arleigh more than 10 years to get in the top 3, he doubts it will take that long for the younger generation to succeed. Mike Cox won the Sportsmanship award for helping another team on the trail, and Bob Chlupach won the Red Lantern, modernized as a more useful flashlight.The radio coverage was very much appreciated, and it was suggested that New Northwest broadcasting receive a rookie of the year award. GCI’s constant support for this race has been greatly appreciated for the last few years, and hopefully the relationship can continue. ——————————————Day 2… The second day of any 3-day race is always a wildcard. The run can go smooth, having worked out the kinks on the first day, or the run can be an accumulation of all the problems possible in one run.Luckily for most of the field, the runs today were pretty easy. The lead dogs, having seen the trail, and having been corrected from the wrong trail, all took the turns and passed the tempting snowmachine trails. The field was smaller today with the disqualification of Shane Goosen, and the late withdrawal by Mari Hoe-Raitto, giving the front runners, and the back of the field less opportunity for head-on passes. This was appreciated. Today brought out many more spectators from the Fairbanks area, and also created a few obstacles like a man and his dog who refused to leave the trail, children playing with large sticks on the trail’s edge and the loose dogs that always seem to appear out of nowhere. All of these obstacles were dealt with smoothly by the confident and professional mushers.There were some passes, and even some early with Mike Cox passing fellow Fairbanksan, Mike Sanford on Noyes Slough, and Mari Wood passing Danny Beck between Creamer’s Field and the Golf Course.Down on Noyes Slough the sun was shining, the trail was very hard and there was only one team that was slowed down for an oncoming team. JP Norris was slowed down to allow one of the incoming teams to come down the blind corner from Creamer’s Field onto the Slough. Many of the mushers were prepared though, with Bill Kornmuller having his snow hook in his hand ready for any sudden stop.Teams were a little more tired coming across the finish line, and many teams are finding their teams are becoming more susceptible to sickness. Teams started out yesterday with mostly 16-dog line-ups and the odd larger team. Today teams were around 14 dogs and we will see the numbers drop off again tomorrow as mushers cut down to their core teams.Tomorrow’s race will take teams on a 27-mile tour, and the added distance will make or break teams. The race is not over yet, so check back and see more videos and interviews from day 3 of the ONAC.——————————————Check out Blaine Streeper’s personal blog, where he lists his splits for the first day. Top Sprint mushers commonly use a small GPS unit to find out how fast they are going. Most set their units to give them a time every mile. Buddy recorded a 20+ mph average for the first 9 miles. WOW!click on the following link: http://ca.blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-a_q.2fkib7Qm8QTeUyc.61I_6SLHBQj8—————————————————————————————————————————-Day 1…The first day of the Open North American Championships started with an honorary start being given to the late Bill Taylor. As the following teams started, the racing began immediately. With the very hard and icy trails on the slough, the teams were flying. Arleigh Reynolds of Salcha clocked the fastest run to the first checkpoint with a time of 9:04 over the 3 miles.Rookie and one of the youngest competitors Lester Ehart bagged a dog in the first few minutes of the race, making it a heavier load to pull the rest of the 20 miles.The road crossing proved difficult for a few mushers with a pile-up at the Danby road crossing, and there were a lot of head-on passes through the slough, with Egil and Buddy both racking up 4 each.Buddy Streeper “smashed the course record into 90 pieces” with a new record of 57:59.5 over the 20 mile course. The previous record was held by Egil Ellis of 58:38.4 in 2004.Shane Goosen has been disqualified due to a passing incident which injured one of Mark Hartum’s lead dogs. Goosen failed to yield the trail to Hartum and the leaders of Hartum’s team hit Goosen’s sled causing a serious wound to the nose of one of Hartum’s leaders.Egil’s truck was conspicuously missing, and in its place was Rob Downey’s truck. Egil had truck problems on the Johansen Expressway last night and 8-dog limited class musher Rob Downey graciously loaned his truck for the weekend.The atmosphere was joyous and everyone was excited about the race, the biggest race on the annual racing cards. The radio coverage was well done by New Northwest, and with new radio announcers, the coverage was fresh and up to date.Drivers start out tomorrow in their order of placing from today’s race, and more head-on pasing will occur. Most drivers will let their teams run on a little tomorrow now that their dogs have seen the trail.Check back for more interviews and photos from the trail and starting area.——————————————————————————————————————————March 15, 2007Trail reviewThe trail is hard, and in most places fast. With the exception of Creamer’s Field and the sloughs, the trail has ample coverage of snow. In the large field of Creamer’s, the ground is showing through and there is no forgiveness. The teams will be traveling at around 19.5 to 20 mph, on average, and drivers will be needing to pay attention to the trail conditions and their dogs, moreso than their speed.The trail has parts of overflow which will test the leaders, and also dips throughout which will ensure that the hardiest and best prepared teams will prevail.The race starts at 1pm on 2nd Ave, and until then we can only hope that trucks start, runners are waxed and the final preparations are completed for the Granddaddy of them all, the Open North American Championships.Good luck to all the teams!——————————————————————————————————————————The start list for the Open North American is as follows:Check back over the weekend for interviews, videos and photos from the trail and on 2nd Ave.1. Bill Taylor (honorary)2. Denny Beck3. Rob Peebles4. Arleigh Reynolds5. Egil Ellis6. Blaine Streeper7. Aaron Cambell8. JP Norris9. Lester Erhart10. Mari Hoe Raitto11. Mike Cox12. Don Cousins13. Shane Goosen14. Eddy Streeper15. Michael Tetzner16. Mark Hartum17. Bill Kornmuller18. Mike Sanford19. Mary Wood20. Bob Chlupach21. Josh Cadzow22. Heather Hardy23. Jason Dunlap24. Gary Markley25. Ken Chezik26. Neal Johnson27. Andy Hutten28. Stewart Attla


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