Yukon Quest musher Matt Hall wins Rookie of the Year
Alaskan crosses finish line Tuesday afternoon, taking 3rd place
Yukon Quest musher Matt Hall crossed the finish line Tuesday afternoon, earning him third place and the title of Rookie of the Year.
The 22-year-old from Eagle, Alaska, had the fastest run of all the mushers on the final stretch of the race, so far. Hall clocked a time of 10 hours and 14 minutes from Braeburn to Takhini Hot Springs. In comparison, Quest winner Allan Moore, took more than 11 hours to complete the same section of trail.
"It was awesome, a lot of miles but we had a blast!" Hall told the media at the finish line.
He also said that he had already started planning to race next year when he stopped at the race's halfway point in Dawson City, Yukon.
Ken Anderson arrived in fourth place shortly before noon. John Schandelmeier is not far behind him.
This year's race has been fraught with issues. Early in the race a section of the trail over one of the mountain summits was taken out of the race due to poor trail conditions. The race was re-routed along the Yukon River between Eagle, Alaska, and Dawson City. Competitors complained of rough conditions on that section.
A handful of mushers have experienced race-ending issues on the trail. One time race front-runner, Brent Sass, fell off his sled and hit his head on some ice. He was taken out of the race on Sunday and flown to Whitehorse for medical attention.
Also just outside the Braeburn checkpoint, Quest veteran Cody Strathe activated the help button on his GPS tracking device early Tuesday morning. That automatically pulled him from the race and prompted an RCMP search.
On Saturday, Tony Angelo of Fairbanks also pushed his help button. And tragedy struck Dave Dalton's team from Healy, Alaska. The musher scratched in Pelly Crossing after one of his dogs died. He said the decision to pull out was for the well-being of the rest of his team.
Yukon mushers Jean Denis-Britten and Normand Casavant both scratched on the second day of the Quest.
Only one Yukon musher, Brian Wilmshurst of Dawson City, remains in the race. On Wednesday morning, he had yet to reach the Carmacks checkpoint.
The 1,500-kilometre journey began Feb. 1 in Fairbanks. Weather conditions caused the finish line of the race to be moved. This year the race ends at Takhini Hot Springs, 30 kilometres north of Whitehorse.