Yukon Quest: Race leader head for the border

The top 6 mushers in the 2007 Yukon Quest have all departed Dawson for Eagle, AK. Lance Mackey was the first to leave at 12:23 pm this afternoon. Lance’s team looked ready for the challenge as they barked and lunged into their harnesses. William Kleedehn followed Mackey out of the Dawson City campground at 4:46 pm. William was at the staging area with plenty of time to joke with race fans and officials. His team looked fresh and ready to go.Hugh Neff was right on his heels at 5:07 pm followed by a great looking team of Gerry Willowmitzer’s dogs. Hans Gatt departed at 6:48 pm with a well rested dog team as well. Sebastian Schnuelle is reported to be in the staging area.As the front runners left their campsites and ran down the road to the staging area, mushers in the middle of the pack gave a wave and a vote of confidence to the Top 6 then returned their attention back to the care of their dogs. The resting dogs took little interest as the other teams passed. While some let out an occasional bark of good luck, most just settled into their straw and enjoyed their warm meals and massages.Weather in Dawson City is clear and beautiful, however, mushers are anticipating a cold run. Temperatures are expecting to drop and the mushers will be fighting a stiff headwind for the first 50 miles until they turn up the Forty Mile river and head towards the US/Canadian border.Still to leave Thursday night are Michelle Phillips at 10:32 pm and Aaron Burmeister at 11:05 pm.Mushers departing tomorrow morning include John Schandelmeier, Dave Dalton, Mike Jayne, Brent Sass, and Richie Beattie.


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