Monday, March 14, 2011
Waiting for the Witching Hour
The clock is ticking slowly, but inexorably toward the witching hour. At 3 minutes after midnight John Baker will have finished his mandatory 8 hour layover at White Mountain and will begin his 77 mile race for the finish line in Nome. 51 minutes later, Ramey Smyth will pull his hook and give chase. At this point, unless something truly earth shattering occurs, Smyth is the only musher close enough to catch the leader - IF he can.
The two teams are closely matched. BOTH made the run from Elim in 7 hours, 12 minutes. Keeping up won't be good enough for Smyth if he wants to beat Baker to Nome. If there is a dog-man alive who can do it, though who know say that Ramey Smyth is that man. In several past races he has run this final leg faster than any other team on the trail. That's why he has earned the reputation of being a "closer", because the closer you get to Nome the closer Smyth gets to you.
Although he's third into White Mountain, Hans Gatt has lost too much time to the leaders to be considered a credible threat. Currently his dogs are resting by themselves. With no hope of catching the teams ahead, and not major threats coming up from behind, it's hard to imagine Hans not claiming the third place money.
In a bold move today Dallas Seavey made a huge jump in position, and is now running in fourth place having passed Hugh Neff and Sebastian Schnuelle. All three are making their way to White Mountain and should be arriving in about an hour and a half. Ray Redington Jr. holds the 7th place position, having left Elim at 6:42 this evening.
DeeDee Jonrowe, Jessie Royer and Sonny Lindner are all in Elim, rounding out tonights "top-10". Sven Haltman, Aliy Zirkle and Ken Anderson are all approaching the Elim checkpoint.
Two Rivers 200 Results:
Closer to home, the Two Rivers Dog Musher's Association's Two Rivers 200 race was this weekend, and the Quest and Iditarod qualifier drew a nice field of competitors, considering so many of our local player's are out on the I'rod trail. Here is the finish order from the TR-200. It's worth noting that sixth place finisher Sue Ellis and 8th place Blake Matray were running teams made up of Siberian huskies rather than the faster Alaskan huskies or Eurohounds.
1 Scott Smith
2 Joel Switzer
3 Abbie West
4 Sarah Love
5 Mark May
6 Sue Ellis
7 Matthew Failor
8 Blake Matray
9 Justin High
10 Tony Angelo
Iris Sutton scratched at Angel Creek for the welfare of her dogs.