2008 Exxon Mobil Championship Sprint Race Results and Photos

Sunny and brisk temperatures greeted all the teams for two days of running the Exxon Mobil sprint sled dog races this past weekend. Moving to the Chugiak trails from the ASDRA trails, allowed for more snow and safer conditions for the dogs. Open class musher Ken Chezik, from Michigan finished both heats in first place to take the win overall. Chezik bested a very competitive field including past champion Egil Ellis (3rd), last year’s Rondy runner-up Bill Kornmuller (2nd), and last years winner at this race Arleigh Reynolds (6th). Arleigh was part of a sizeable group of Fairbanks area mushers looking to escape the bitter cold of interior Alaska this winter. Although temps ranged in the single digits here in Chugiak, they must have felt sweltering compared to the 50F below zero recently in the interior.Eddie Dayton finished a strong 4th place and is demonstrating this year that he can run with the sharp end of the competition. Curtis Erhart, another Fairbanks area musher rounded out the top 5. Many open class mushers consider this race part of preparation for the Anchorage Fur Rondy World Championships, set to run in 2 weeks time in downtown Anchorage. This change of venue for the Exxon Mobil race made it slightly less of a “tune up” because of the completely different trail system. The Chugiak trail system was impeccably prepared given the amount of total snowfall on the ground. A hilly, twisty trail, the Chugiak trails have been called fun and exciting by some, and scary by others. All in all, it’s not a trail on which you will find yourself falling asleep on your sled.In the 8-dog class Stacy Lanser came from second place after the first day to beat out Nathan Sterling for the overall win. Having rebuilt their kennel after her husband Eric retired from open-class racing, Stacy is climbing her way back to the front of the field with each race. Jennifer Probert, continued her dominance in the 4 and 6-dog classes by taking both of those classes’ overall win this weekend, despite having to come back from a 4th place finish on Saturday in the 6-dog race. “I came to an intersection, and all the fences were down. It took me a while to decide which way to go. Until I saw more trail help, I didn’t even know if I was on the correct trail. Then I had problems through the culvert. On Sunday, we had a really good run and made up for all the stops the day before.” Jennifer explains after the race.Racing will return to Chugiak next weekend with the Norma Rasmussen Memorial Limited Race on Feb 17th at 2:00PM. 4,6, & 8 dog clases will be featured. The Junior World Championship race will be shortened to Feb 16 & 17th also at Chugiak Trail system. For full results: http://www.asdra.org/ExxonMobil.htmlFor more images from the weekend’s racing see John Gomes’ and Britt Coon’s sites:http://johngomes.smugmug.com/MUSHING/461096http://www.akbritt.smugmug.com/MUSHING/


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