Yukon Quest: Mackey first into Carmacks

As night fell on the second day of the 1000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race drew to a close, eight teams had reached the race’s second official checkpoint in Carmacks, Yukon – 177 miles north of yesterday’s Race Start in Whitehorse.2005 and 2006 Yukon Quest Champion Lance Mackey from Fairbanks, Alaska arrived at 1:29 p.m. PST with David Dalton arriving thirty minutes later. Both veteran mushers arrived with full teams of 14 dogs each.Skagway, Alaska musher Hugh Neff was next into Carmacks at 4:46 p.m.While Neff left eight minutes later after the mandatory sign-in and sign-out with race officials, Mackey and Dalton stayed in Carmacks to rest their teams.German born mushers William Kleedehn and Gerry Willomitzer arrived within one minute of each other at 6:22 and 6:23 p.m. respectively and like Neff, paused only briefly before resuming the trail toward McCabe Creek Dog Drop and Pelly Crossing.Perfect weather and ideal temperatures marked the 24th Yukon Quest Start yesterday in downtown Whitehorse.Under a brilliantly sunny sky, thousands of fans from around the world lined First Avenue to cheer the teams as they embarked on their 1,000-mile (1,600 kilometre) journey to the finish chute in Fairbanks, Alaska.Mackey was the twelfth musher out of the chute and is vying for his third Yukon Quest win, he appeared relaxed as he and his handlers readied their team.Wearing bib number 17, Hans Gatt of Atlin, B.C. is the only musher to win the race three times. He placed a close second last year to Mackey and this year, definitely has his sights set on regaining the championship.“I want to finish with a great team of healthy dogs,” said Gatt. “I love the dogs, I love the competition, I love being alone on the trail with my team and I want to win this race.”Eighteen teams, including Gatt, remain on the trail between Braeburn and Carmacks.


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