Gatt takes lead in Yukon Quest

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2003

DAWSON CITY, Yukon (AP) -- Defending champion Hans Gatt has jumped into the lead in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race early Thursday.

Gatt, from Atlin, B.C., arrived at Dawson City at 00:49 a.m. Yukon Time.

More than an hour behind him was Martin Massicotte of St. Tite, Quebec who had been leading the race into the previous checkpoint at Pelly Crossing. Massicotte arrived at 2:03 a.m. Hot on his heels was William Kleedehn of Carcross, who arrived at 2:08 a.m..

Next in were John Schandelmeier of Paxson at 3:27, Hugh Neff of Coldfoot at 3:36 and Thomas Tetz of Carcross at 3:55.

The teams have a mandatory 36-hour layover in Dawson, which is 466 miles into the race. Race officials said winds were picking up in Dawson and the temperature had dropped into the low teens.

Most of the 20 teams in the thousand-mile race to Fairbanks are still making their way to Dawson from Pelly Crossing. Mushers have to climb 3,800-foot King Solomon's Dome before reaching Dawson. By mid-morning Thursday, all of the mushers had passed through Scroggie Creek, the unofficial halfway point on the trail to Dawson.

Race officials said Information from Pelly Crossing indicates, that Darrin Lee is back on his way to Whitehorse. He had not yet officially scratched.

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