Veteran musher Brent Sass wins Yukon Quest 300

Brent Sass with 2 of his dogs at the finish line of the Yukon Quest 300 race in Whitehorse on Tuesday morning. Sass won the 482-kilometre race, beating Yukoner Michelle Phillips by about half an hour. (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada)

‘I feel great. I feel really good. It was really fun,’ said Sass at Whitehorse finish line

Veteran musher and three-time Yukon Quest winner Brent Sass won this year’s 482-kilometre YQ300 race.

The race started Saturday afternoon in Whitehorse and Sass crossed the finish line, also in Whitehorse, on Tuesday at 1:44 a.m., about half an hour before second-place finisher Michelle Phillips from Tagish, Yukon. Mayla Hill of Grande Prairie, Alta., came in third.

“I feel great. I feel really good. It was really fun driving that dog team for the last 300 miles,” said Sass, an Alaskan who has been running dogs for 17 years.

The YQ300 is one of two races that took place this year in the Yukon, while two other Yukon Quest races were held earlier this month in Alaska. Traditionally, the Yukon Quest is a 1,600-kilometre (1,000 miles) race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Organizers decided to run four shorter races this year, two in Alaska and two in the Yukon.

On the weekend, Nathaniel Hamlyn edged out Martine LeLevier by two minutes to win the other Yukon race, the 160-kilometre YQ100.

Rest times made for quicker pace

Sass said the mandatory six-hour rests after racing for six hours were long, but it made for fast run times.

“I mean, we were cruising 10 miles an hour (16 km/h) for a good portion of this last run in the year, and that was a lot of fun,” he said.

“I think the dogs are just really well trained and we had a really fast trail. The trail breakers did a real good job with the trail, and overall, I just think we were really, really prepared for the race.”

He said he finished with all 12 of the dogs he started with.

“That’s a big thing for me and a great prep for getting ready for the next race, the Iditarod,” he said.

The Iditarod is a 1,569-kilometre sled dog race that will take place in Alaska, beginning March 5.

Sass also won the YQ350 race that took place in Alaska earlier this month.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: France’s Thierry Corbarieu wins Yukon Arctic Ultra race in northwestern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Ice fishing World Championships latest in Finnish series of odd sports events, Yle News

Norway: Swedish musher wins Finnmarksløpet, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Alaska’s Brent Sass wins Yukon Quest sled dog race, CBC News

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