Whitehorse Daily Star

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HOLDING FIFTH – Yukon Quest musher Allen Moore arrives at the Circle City checkpoint in fifth place on Sunday. Photo by SAM FRIEDMAN/NEWS-MINER

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Photo by Photo Submitted

IN FIRST PLACE – The team of Yukon Quest leader Matt Hall travels down the trail where it parallels the road to Circle Hot Springs near Central. Photo by SAM FRIEDMAN/NEWS-MINER

Musher Hall grabs Quest lead into Circle

The Yukon Quest has a new leader,

By freelancer on February 13, 2017

CIRCLE — The Yukon Quest has a new leader, and he’s not one of the three former champions who dominated the first half of the race.

Two Rivers, Alaska musher Matt Hall made a big move Friday night, running 100 miles in one long run down the Yukon River from Eagle to Slaven’s Cabin.

In the process, Hall pushed past former Quest winners Hugh Neff and Allen Moore.

Hall arrived here at the Circle checkpoint at 7:55 p.m. Saturday as the checkpoint thermometer dropped to about 40 below.

A few people were out to see him, some gathered around a burn barrel for warmth.

Brent Sass – who later scratched – arrived at 8:25 p.m.

Both drivers elected to stop in Circle, which isn’t a mandatory checkpoint. They discussed their runs at adjoining tables while eating steak and potato dinners.

Hall said he had planned to make a move on this section of the trail.

“It kind of works out where it’s one of the only spots to do it in the last part of this race,” he said.

Sass said he saw the tracks and noticed Hall had passed him while he rested at the Trout Creek hospitality stop 46 miles outside of Eagle.

Sass said he didn’t mind giving up the lead at this stage of the race. Wind had blown three to four inches of snow over the trail, he said.

“I was happy at the point because he was breaking trail and the dogs were on a fresh trail,” he said.

“Recently, I’ve been in the front a lot, and it’s amazing how much just a dog team in front of you helps their (the dogs) motivation and attitude.”

Twenty-one dog teams left Whitehorse Feb. 4 for the 1,000-mile race to Fairbanks.

By Sam Friedman
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Comments (1)

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Robert Service on Feb 13, 2017 at 5:08 pm

The Lone Trail - by Robert Service

Ye who know the lone trail fain would follow it
Though it lead to glory or the darkness of the pit.
Ye who take the lone trail bid your love goodbye;
The lone trail, the lone trail follow till you die.

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