WHITEHORSE – It will be just after midnight Friday before the leader of the 33rd annual Yukon Quest sled dog race can get back on the trail heading for Whitehorse.
Brent Sass of Eureka, Alaska, is leading 21 other mushers on the gruelling 1,600 kilometre race from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, and reached the halfway point in Dawson City at 12:21 Wednesday afternoon.
The checkpoint includes a 36-hour mandatory rest, putting the 36-year-old defending champ back on the trail early Friday, followed by former race champions Allen Moore and Hugh Neff, who reached Dawson City about two hours behind Sass.
As the first arrival at the halfway point, Sass claims four ounces of Klondike Placer gold, worth about $6,700, or US$4,800, but he must finish the entire race, in any position, in order to keep the prize.
Twenty-three mushers set out last Saturday, hoping to be among the top 10 to split a US$115,000 purse for completing the course.
Twenty-two remain on the trail, with top Canadian, Yukon resident Ed Hopkins, in fifth spot and four other Canadians still in the hunt. (CKRW)