Yukon Quest: Circle City Checkpoint updates

UPDATED: Feb 18 – 20:00 The front eight dog teams have arrived at the Circle City Checkpoint, with 3 teams still resting in Circle at this time. Aaron Burmeister was the latest team to arrive, checking in just before 8 pm Sunday. Michelle Phillip’s team arrive almost 2 hours earlier, and Sebastian Schnuelle’s team is also still in Circle.Gerry Willomitzer and William Kleedehn checked out of Circle City just before 5 pm and have been travelling together since before the Eagle Checkpoint. Hans Gatt departed Circle after a 6-hour rest, putting his team solidly in second place, but still 6 hours behind Lance Mackey as he began the run to Central.There was an 8-hour gap between Burmeister’s team and Dave Dalton as they left Slaven’s Cabin Dog Drop, so there should not be any additional dog teams arriving in Circle until 4 or 5 am Monday.Temperatures continue to be cold, registering -35 F around Circle this evening. No clouds are visible and a full sky of stars illuminates the trail coming and going from the Circle Checkpoint.UPDATED: Feb 18: 14:00 The first four teams have arrived in Circle City, Gerry Willomitzer and William Kleedehn checked in just before noon Sunday to add their names to the list of front runners. Hans Gatt’s team, as well as Willomitzer’s and Kleedehn’s are resting here while race leader Lance Mackey continues along the trail towards the Central Checkpoint.??UPDATED: Feb 18: 11:00 Lance Mackey rested 6 hours in Circle City, arriving about 3:30 am and departing a few minutes after second-place musher Hans Gatt arrived about 9:30 am Sunday.Mackey’s lead remains about 6 hours on Gatt’s team, and Lance has been able to watch Gatt arrive at both Slaven’s Cabin and Circle City Checkpoint, allowing him to see his nearest running competitor and his dog team.Gerry Willomitzer and William Kleedehn left Slaven’s Cabin about 4:30 am. Judging by the front runner’s times into Circle of just over 7 hours, Kleedehn and Willomitzer should arrive in Circle close to noon Sunday.Nine teams are on the trail between Eagle Checkpoint and Slaven’s Dog Drop, while 3 dog teams (Beisch, Wycoff and Benson) are currently resting at Eagle having arrived just after daylight broke Sunday morning.The final two dog teams have been reported out of Forty Mile hospitality stop on the Yukon River within the past few hours, so Kyla Boivin and Bob McAlpin should arrive in Eagle around breakfast time on Monday morning.Temperatures were very cold last night, with reports from Forty Mile Bridge on the Taylor Highway telling of -53 F during the night. Clear skies dropped the thermometer, but also brought brilliant Northern Lights displays – always a favourite of mushers making longer night runs.

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