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Gatt's lead grows down final stretch

Two-time defending champion is the first to reach Carmacks

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Two-time defending champion Hans Gatt was the first musher into the Carmacks checkpoint Monday to extend his lead in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Gatt of Atlin, British Columbia, arrived at 7:29 p.m. Yukon time (6:29 p.m. Alaska time), nearly three hours ahead of his closest competitor. Gatt was resting his 11-dog team at Carmacks, Yukon Territory, as of 10 p.m. Yukon time, according to race officials.

Zack Steer of Sheep Mountain, who had led much of the race before relinquishing the lead to Gatt, was in second place. He arrived in Carmacks at 10:23 p.m. Yukon time with 10 dogs in harness.

The Carmacks checkpoint is 188 miles from the finish line in the 1,026-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. There is a mandatory eight-hour layover at Braeburn, the last checkpoint, located 109 miles from Whitehorse.

David Dalton of Healy was in third place, having left the Pelly Crossing checkpoint at 9:49 p.m. Monday. Dalton is running a 14-dog team and is the only remaining musher who has not yet dropped a dog.

Pelly Crossing is 75 miles from the Carmacks checkpoint.

Dan Kaduce of Chatanika was in fourth place; he arrived in Pelly Crossing at 6:46 p.m.

Two other mushers remained in Pelly Crossing as of Monday night - Frank Turner of Whitehorse (arrived 8:26 p.m.) and Peter Ledwidge of Dawson City (arrived 8:58 p.m.)

John Schandelmeier of Paxson was en route to Pelly Crossing, having left the Stepping Stone rest stop at 8:10 p.m. Sebastian Schnuelle of Whitehorse (arrived 5:35 p.m.) and Thomas Tetz of Tagish, Yukon Territory (arrived 6:35 p.m.) remained at Stepping Stone.

Tetz is driving a team owned by Deborah Bicknell of Juneau.

The last musher on the trail, Agata Franczak of Dawson City, left that checkpoint at 3:45 a.m. Monday.

Three mushers scratched at Dawson City on Monday - Kyla Boivin, Trevor Braun and Rod Boyce. Boyce is an editor at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Twenty mushers remain in the race. Thirty-one teams left from the starting line in Fairbanks on Feb. 14.

For updated standings, look on the Web at www.yukonquest.com.



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