Percy DeWolfe race gets underway
The Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race started this morning in Dawson City on March 3, 2022.
This year’s race includes four mushers – Connor McMahon, Ilana Kingsley, Nathaniel Hamlyn and Quince Mountain – tackling a modified trail with a total length of 170 miles (275 kilometres).
Starting from the Dawson ice bridge, teams set off on a 55-mile (88-km) first leg to Forty Mile before tackling a 60-mile (96-km) loop on the river, returning to Forty Mile, and another 55 miles to the finish in Dawson. Mushers in the Percy are required to take eight hours of mandatory rest.
Those racing in the Percy Jr. – Jess Sears, Krys March, Martine Le Levier and Matt McHugh – will start in Dawson and race to Forty Mile and back, with only six hours of mandatory rest. The Percy Jr. started on time at 3 p.m. on the Dawson ice bridge.
Prior to the race, returning champion McMahon weighed in on conditions.
“I’m wondering what the trail is going to be like out there,” McMahon said. “I’m definitely really proud of the dogs right now and I know we can go through just about everything.”
McMahon said his team this year isn’t as speed-oriented as the dogs that ran last year, but that the team has confidence and proven durability – something McMahon said was always the focus.
Hamlyn said his team is looking good, but that he’s concerned trail conditions will make for a challenging race.
“The trail sounds a bit soft and punchy, so it’ll be slow going,” Hamlyn said. “I’m going to be going slow with lots of mini breaks to get (the dogs) rehydrated. The hydration is more key than the food.”
Conditions were cool and cloudy for the start, and the hope was the sun would stay hidden.
“If the sun comes out, it’ll get hot,” Hamlyn said. “Every hour you give them a nice little break to dip and roll around in the snow – it’s just that kind of race.”
Kingsley was the first musher on the trail, wearing bib number two and carrying the mail. The first musher traditionally leaves at 10:02 a.m., to ‘follow Percy’ out on the trek to Eagle, Alaska.