Benson is fastest-ever Red Lantern Award winner in Yukon Quest


Posted: Sunday, February 29, 2004

Tom Benson of Dubois, Wyo., crossed the finish line in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, at 4:09 p.m. Yukon time Saturday (3:09 p.m. Alaska time) to win the Red Lantern Award as the last finisher of the 2004 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Benson, who finished in 20th place, recorded a total time of 14 days, 5 hours, 9 minutes for the 1,026-mile race that started Feb. 14 in Fairbanks, Alaska. His time was the fastest by more than 7 1/2 hours for a Red Lantern Award winner, beating the 2002 time of 14:12:52 posted by Wayne Hall.

Benson was one of six mushers to cross the finish line on Saturday, and three teams finished the race on Friday. Hans Gatt of Atlin, British Columbia, won his record third straight Yukon Quest title on Wednesday morning with a time of 10:17:54. Gatt won $30,000 (U.S.) out of the $125,000 purse that was split between the top 15 finishers.

Finishing on Friday were Gerry Willomitzer of Shallow Bay, Yukon Territory, in 12th place, Catherine Pinard of Whitehorse in 13th and Marcel Marin of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in 14th place.

Crossing the finish line on Saturday were Eric Butcher of Fairbanks in 15th place, who claimed the last money spot. Jennifer Cochran of Fairbanks finished in 16th place, Agata Franczak of Dawson City, Yukon Territory, in 17th place, Crispin Studer of Whitehorse in 18th place, 2001 Red Lantern winner Bruce Milne of Two Rivers, Alaska, in 19th place and Benson.

There were 31 dog teams to start the race, and 11 teams scratched. Complete results can be found on the Yukon Quest's Web site,

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