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Sports archive for January 28, 2014

Carcross musher outpaces the field to win Carbon Hill

Carcross musher Crispin Studer survived the starting chute, and then turned on the jets Saturday to win the 20th edition of the “biggest little race in Yukon.”

By Marcel Vander Wier on January 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm

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Photo by Marcel Vander Wier

OFF AND RUNNING – Al Doherty speeds down the trail of the six-mile skijor race Saturday, part of the 20th annual Carbon Hill festivities in Mount Lorne. Doherty finished tied for sixth in his division. Crispin Studer won the 30-mile sled dog race.

Carcross musher Crispin Studer survived the starting chute, and then turned on the jets Saturday to win the 20th edition of the “biggest little race in Yukon.”

The 33-year-old and his eight dogs bested the field of 10 in the 30-mile sled dog race at the Carbon Hill in Mount Lorne.

The 48-km race was one of four based out of the Mt. Lorne Community Centre with a variety of routes winding through the Watson River Valley. In total, 33 teams competed.

Studer, who finished 13th in last year’s Yukon Quest, said the starting chute was an adventure all on its own.

“It was kind of U-shaped,” he chuckled. “It was just like bobsledding going across it. It was quite something. I mean, I could have slowed down but I didn’t plan on doing that.”

Studer is well-known for his quick dogs, which run at speeds of 10 to 12 miles an hour. He said the conditions of the race were surprisingly good.

“The conditions were awesome for what they had to work with,” he said.

“There was a bit of overflow, but there’s nothing you can do.”

Coming in second was Jonathan Lucas (1:48:35) and third was William Kleedehn (1:51:55).

Adam Robinson took the 30-mile skijor race, winning in a time of 2:47:24 after his only rival Katherine Sheepway scratched.

Musher Dave Johnson (30:35) beat rivals Mathieu Devred (31:54) and Luc Tweedell (32:00) to the finish line to claim the 10-mile (16-km) sled dog race. Nine participated in that race.

Cynthia Corriveau won the final division, the six-mile (9.6-km) skijor race, in 21:17. Amil Dupuis-Rossi took second in 23:08, while Sheepway returned from her scratch to tackle the six-mile course and finished third in 23:58. In total, 10 people crossed the finish line.

Weather did play a factor in the race, forcing organizers to reroute the 30-mile distances.

Race coordinator Agnes Seitz said the 2014 Carbon Hill was “a great race, despite the warm weather. We had to adjust some trails ... avoid the lake, but managed good trails and a day of racing in the sun.”

The trail, which typically runs near Annie Lake, was changed this year due to overflow, shortening the race to 28.7 miles.

Iditarod musher Gerry Willomitzer placed fourth in the 30-mile run with a time of 1:54:52.

The Shallow Bay resident called the race a Yukon tradition.

“It’s a race that you always expect to happen,” Willomitzer said. “It takes a lot of volunteer effort, so it’s great that the community out here at Mt. Lorne is so active and put it on.”

In the future, he hopes to see another 200- or 300-mile race take place in the Whitehorse area.

“Unfortunately, I have to say we don’t have enough dog races around Whitehorse,” he told the Star. “I wish we had a 200- or 300-miler around town.”

Willomitzer, who finished third in the recent Copper Basin 300, also announced he has pulled out of this year’s Iditarod race.

The 44-year-old said he needs time to relax and reset.

“It’s maybe time to see something new,” Willomitzer said.

“There’s races down south like the Canadian Challenge in Saskatchewan. That’s quite the drive, but it’s a change of scenery I might enjoy.”

Yukon mushers Hans Gatt, a four-time Yukon Quest champion, and Michelle Phillips are currently registered to run this year’s Iditarod, which gets underway in Anchorage March 1.

CommentsAdd a comment

bobby bitman

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Great picture of Al.  Glad to see that people made it happen despite the trail challenges.  A true community event.  Hats off to all competitors, volunteers and ‘handlers’.

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