Polaris team wins Tesoro Iron Dog 2000

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2001

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- Ken Lee of Eagle River went to bed nervous in the village of Tanana on Friday night.

He didn't get much sleep worrying about the slim 29-minute lead he and partner Tracey Brassard held over Mark Carr of Kenai and Kory Cronquist of Eagle River in the Tesoro Iron Dog 2000.

''They're excellent riders,'' Lee said. ''They can come back and pass you if you sneeze wrong.''

Carr and Cronquist shaved nine minutes off the lead Saturday in the final 224-mile leg from Tanana to Fairbanks, but Lee and Brassard held on to win the world's longest snowmobile race with an overall time of 38 hours, 46 minutes.

Driving Polaris Pro-X Edge 600s, Brassard and Lee made it down the Tanana and Chena rivers in 3 hours, 27 minutes.

It was the first win for Brassard, 36, who has finished the race four times, and Lee, 39, who has finished seven times.

Lee said the trail was the roughest he's ever seen it.

''The majority of it was no snow and rough, tussocks showing, ice not frozen,'' Lee said, and the machines took a pounding as a result.

Lee and Brassard hung in second to fourth place for most of the 1,971-mile race from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks, chasing Tyson Johnson of Anchorage and Chris Olds of Eagle River. On Friday they reached Ruby and were told that the pair had just left.

As Lee and Brassard resumed the chase, they were greeted by Tyson and Olds returning with a blown piston. Lee and Brassard never trailed again.

Carr and Cronquist, who drove Ski-Doos, finished in 39 hours, 6 minutes.

The 2001 version of the race was the fourth over the Wasilla-Nome-Fairbanks route. Brassard and Lee's time was 16 minutes off the record pace set by Carr and Scott Davis of Soldotna in 1999.

Brassard and Lee took home $25,000 of the $105,000 purse. Carr and Cronquist split $18,000 in prize money.

An Arctic Cat team of Davis and Kirk Hibbert of Minnesota finished third in 40:49. They earned $14,000.

Jack Klayum and Eric Quam, driving Ski-Doos, moved up from sixth place to fourth Saturday with a time of 42:42, and will split $10,000.

Johnson and Olds, another Polaris team, finished fifth in 42:48 and collected $8,000.

Defending champions Todd Palin of Wasilla and Dusty VanMeter of Kasilof, driving Yamahas, dropped from fourth to sixth place with a last-day run of 5 hours, 24 minutes, and an overall time of 43:20.

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