The first ever attempt to take sleddogs across th Cairngrom mountain range in Scotland, was achieved this month.

Ben MacDui is the UK's second highest mountain, and provided severe weather conditions with temperatures dipping to -20C with the wind chill. At the summit the 50KT winds had stripped the snow leaving only sheet ice.

Alan Stewart, Rick Atkinson took two 4 husky dog teams and Alister Taylor accented the mountain in the more traditional way! Rick & Alister are British Antarctic Survey veterans and Rick has also spent many years in Alaska training and racing sled dog teams. All the dogs belong to Alan.

The team would like to thank their sponsors:

  • Lowe Alpine - team clothing
  • Scarpa - the world's leader in 4 season boots.




DATE: 09.03.98 TIME: 09.00 hrs
LOCATION: Watson Lake, Yukon Territories. AUTHOR: Mark
TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED TO DATE: 4067 miles / 6507 km

WEATHER:- -25°C at night, a high of -9°C in the day.


Four days on the run since the last sit-rep has taken us within 5 miles of Watson Lake, Milepost 635 on the Alaskan Highway. Despite having a lot more snow over the last couple of days, progress has been no easier or quicker. This is mainly due to us having to lay our own trails in very light sugary snow. Trapper Ray at Liard River said he has never seen snow like this in the 22 years he’s been in the area! Both Polaris snow-mobiles have really struggled to perform their duties, lacking the necessary power just to progress unladen through 2 foot of snow, increasing our concerns about their suitability for the Yukon and the likelihood of large expenses to replace them with more powerful machines. However, we managed to average 70 miles a day for four days in a row. It would have been higher but for our persistence in trying to get Wendy off the road and onto trails. On Saturday (7th) we only covered 47 miles due to changes between ATV and sled and poor soft trails, even though the morning temperatures are down to as low as -25°C. Although frustrated with conditions, we’ve been pleased with our progress and Watson Lake puts us within 5 mushing days of Skagway.

The second day out from Fort Nelson saw us through the Rockies. It was a beautiful sunny day and the views were spectacular. We sledded down Muncho Lake which will probably be the most scenic part of the whole trip. Got a bit carried away and shot off a couple of rolls of film and Crispin caught he whole event on the video camera. I think we were all rather surprised at how quickly we put the Rockies behind us, but I guess we only just skimmed the most northern part of the range.

Once more our progress and ability to put in long hours was assisted by local help in the form of providing accommodation and food. We stopped off at some lovely lodges along the way, namely at Toad River Lodge, Liard River Lodge and Irons Creek Lodge. We arrived in Watson Lake only to find that our proposed accommodation was actually closed for the winter. Fortunately though Trophy had got into a scrap with Tails that morning and had an inch and a half cut in his scalp! This took myself and Maggie into Watson Lake early where we ended up at the hospital to see a Doctor to stitch up Trophy’s head. In doing so we befriended a nurse by the name of Jocelyn Rhode. On hearing our predicament, she kindly offered to take us into her home for our stay in Watson and that’s where we are now. We decided to take one extra rest day here, partly because the dogs have done so many miles on the road and are rather tired, but mainly because there is so much for us to do in preparation for Skagway and Whitehorse. Now that we are out of cell range and unable to communicate whilst on the move, we have built up a back-log of admin work which has to be sorted before reaching the coast.


The debate continues within the team regarding the financial implications of the Yukon journey. We’ve worked out that if we stop at Skagway we should be able to pay off our debts and more or less break even. The Yukon trip would put us into debt with the purchase of 2 decent snow-mobiles, extra fuel and food costs, shipping and flights etc. It seems a real shame to have to consider our options now, having come all this way. We really do need extra money/sponsorship for the expedition to be a financial success or to give us a chance of success on the Yukon. We know there are a few things in the pipeline but fear that there is insufficient time to resolve them before our departure from Whitehorse. Whilst we would never have got this far without the tremendous support of the local population, if only we had managed to pick up that little bit of extra sponsorship on the way then we would not have this issue to worry about.


We invite you to make a significant contribution now to help us continue our journey up the Yukon. Without your support we may have to finish at Skagway. This would be a major blow not just for us, but also for the many villagers on the Yukon who have been looking forward to our arrival for several months. Do they not also have the right to be involved in this expedition just as much as all the more urban population we have met along the route? Do they not also have the right to see by example this shining positive image of cancer survival and to have their hopes raised by the message we bring? By reaching Skagway Wendy will be the first to cross the North American continent from Atlantic to Pacific in a single winter, but to continue on the Yukon would also see us become the longest mushing journey in one winter, a further inspiration, not only to cancer patients and their families, but also to anybody who has a long journey or battle ahead of them, whether that’s in illness, charity work, business, relationships and other personal goals. You just have to keep going and have belief in yourself. Never, ever, ever give up.


We slept for 8 hours last night, the first 8 hourer for many, many weeks.

Yesterday we enjoyed ourselves! At last we got around to taking photographs specifically for our sponsors. We set up a scene amongst the trees and virgin snow with bright sunlight. It was quite funny, with all the rushing around, jumping in and out of different clothes at minus 20, trying to get the dogs to keep their rear ends from facing the camera, and throwing in different bits of kit every 3 minutes. We spent about 6 hours overall and took some 200 photos. It was also a relief to have it done as were wondering whether we would ever get the time in our ever-so busy schedule and to have fulfilled some of our obligations to our sponsors. We just hope they like the pictures.


These are best kept covered up!

Visit the Dog Trek Website

UK National Championships Final

The Final race of the 6 race series took place this last weekend.

The venue was Carron Valley in Scotland. A heavy snowfall on Friday night gave the 6 & 4 dogs classes the opportunity to wax up their sled runners for the first time for a championship race (the first time in 6 years!!) The snow was the typical wet snow we get and conditions were not fast, but at least it was on snow. By the time it came around for the 3 dog class the conditions had become marginal and the decision was made to change to rigs.

The second day was colder at around 0-2C but the snow had mostly been melted during a warmish Saturday afternoon. O n a personal view point, this season has been the best yet for the standard of competition. throughout the classes all the teams are turning in faster times which must be a good reflection of the championship series in the promotion of good training and care for dogs.The organization as always has been excellent as has the support and atmosphere at all the various venues.

My team: Despite an appalling start to the season I'm hugely proud in how they have responded to a change in training mid season which produced their winning form. In fact I've never seen them run better than at this last race. They really gelled as a "team" which is really hard to do when you only really have 4 A team dogs to make a four dog race team!!

Result (top 3 only)
all classes 4.6 miles 6 dog class

               Sat   Sun   Total  
  6 dog class Neil Marshal 19.26 15.10 34.36 Alex Laidlaw 19.29 16.52 36.21 Alistair Bell 24.17 19.28 43.45   4 dog JM Littman 19.47 16.20 36.07 Natalie Bowman 20.27 17.06 37.33 Alan Stewart 21.53 17.32 39.25   3 dog Steve Birt 21.25 20.39 42.04 Cathy Croman 23.06 20.25 43.31 Tim Foster 24.30 24.01 48.31   2 Dog Neil Marshall 20.33 19.24 39.57 mark Tillier 21.12 19.39 40.48 John Liddle 23.47 20.48 44.35   British Sleddog Racing Championship Titles points were accrued from the six races with the best 4 results counting.   6 Dog 1 Neil Marshal 2 Mike Bradbury 3 Alex Laidlaw   4 Dog 1 JM Littman 2= Natalie Bowman 2= Alan Stewart     3 Dog 1 Cathy Croman 2 natalie Bowman 3 Steve Birt   2 Dog 1= Neil Marshal 1= Mark Tillier 3 John Liddle

The British Mushers Association Award for "Musher of the Year" ( voted by all the Championship competitors) went to Alistair Bell - Alistair lost his best leader in a tragic accident at Xmas, and was ready to quit. But he carried on and continued to be placed well, always ready to handle for someone else's team, good ambassador and general good guy to have around.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Bruce Lee, a veteran long-distance musher who had never won a sled-dog race, ended his drought by capturing the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, officials said on Friday. Lee, 44, of Denali Park, Alaska, won the 1,000-mile race late Thursday night.

He completed the course from Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory to Fairbanks in 11 days, 11 hours and 27 minutes, race officials said. In the late stages of the race, Lee pushed ahead of Andre Nadeau of Sainte Melanie, Quebec. Nadeau, who had led for most of the race, reached Fairbanks on Friday, about four hours after Lee, in 11 days, 15 hours and 13 minutes.

In an interview with the Fairbanks public radio station KUAC, Lee credited his canine team for the victory, which netted a $30,000 prize. "Actually, I just feel really lucky to have these dogs," he said. He also said that his strategy of running fast, then resting his dogs for as long as possible, paid off. "Long-distance dog racing is about two things," he told KUAC. "It's about dog care, and it's about rest. It's not about running down the trail." Nadeau, 42, won $24,000 for finishing in second place, officials said.

As of late Friday, 10 mushers had completed the grueling race and 16 teams remained on the trail, a race spokesman said. Thirty-eight mushers and their dog teams started the race on Feb. 8 in Whitehorse.

More information at


So, what exactly is different about this year's Grand Portage Chippewa John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon?

Let us count the ways: It's shorter; it's probably faster; it runs on territory that is new for many mushers; and it begins and ends near what is normally the northernmost point of the trail - Grand Portage. But some things about the Bear-grease won't change. There are still oodles of hills, but they aren't the killers associ-ated with the usual Beargrease. The Sawbill checkpoint, one of the race's most idyllic and tran-quil wilderness stops, remains. And the racing itself might be more exciting as mushers com-pete along a 312-mile route as op-posed to the traditional 500. "I think it's going to be a tre-mendous sporting event," said Mark Nordman, a Grand Marais musher and Beargrease adviser who's training for the marathon race. "I don't see any problems (with the trail set up)," Nordman said. "The teams will probably be a little bit together more, but you're not going to see a tremen-dous change." The Beargrease board of direc-tors developed an alternate trail route at an emergency meeting Tuesday night.

The board had until today to come up with a plan for running the Jan. 11 race in spite of the extreme lack of snow along the regular route from Duluth to Grand Portage and back. For spectators, finding the best vantage point from which to watch the race will be a largely experimental endeavor. Roughly half of the trail is along the usual route. The other half runs far north to the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. According to Nordman, among the better approaches to watch-ing the race would be to check in Grand Portage and get an idea from race organizers where the mushers might be at certain times. With the start and finish at Min-eral Center or Trail Center near Grand Portage, that area should be a hub of dog activity. Also, the Skyport checkpoint along Devil Track Lake will be pretty busy. All three races - the 100-mile, 190-mile and mara-thon - come through there, and it's a mandatory layover for the 100 and marathon teams.

Aside from the revised route and the skipping of several towns normally visited by the Bear-grease mushers, little else will change. Events like the mushers' ban-quet, registration and veterinar-ian checks will still be held Jan. 9 and 10 in Duluth. And the race will still depend on the dozens of volunteers who make the race possible. Patty Prudden, Beargrease spokeswoman, said arrange-ments are being made to bus vol-unteers to the starting line and return them home on race day. Word of the new route is spread-ing rapidly among the core vol-unteer groups, she said. Prudden said there was some disappointment about not getting to start the race in Canal Park for the first time. But that's not discouraging them from trying it next year. She said it would have been a nice arrangement for spectators and businesses in the area. "I think we just wanted to give more merchants the opportunity to bring more business down there and the chance to get more of the public involved because they could have watched the race all the way up the Lakewalk," Prudden said. The Beargrease marathon route: First leg from Mineral Center in Grand Portage to Sawbill. Second leg from Sawbill to Devil Track Lake to Seagull Lake. Third leg from Seagull Lake to Devil Track Lake back to Sawbill, with a mandatory 6-hour layover at Poplar Lake. Final leg from Sawbill to Mineral Center, with a mandatory 6-hour layover at Skyport. Beargrease 100-mile race: Runs from Mineral Center to Sawbill, with a 6-hour layover at Skyport. Beargrease 190-mile race: Runs from Mineral Center to Sawbill and back, with a 6-hour layover at Sawbill. - Visit TribUniverse, the World Wide Web site of the Duluth News-Tribune, at - (c) 1998, Duluth News-Tribune, Minn. Distributed by. (c) Copyright Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, 1998. DULUTH NEWS-TRIBUNE, MINNESOTA 02/01/98


TEAMS of huskies are to take advantage of the cold Scottish winter weather to warm up for their first ever Olympics. The country's top sled dog teams are due in Scotland as the International Olympic Committee is expected to recognise dog racing as an Olympic event. Although husky racing is a late arrival in terms of Olympic recognition, the sport itself is ancient. It dates back to the days when native Inuit hunters would race across the frozen wastelands of Alaska and Siberia after the hunt. Competitors are hoping that the Scottish climate will provide authentic conditions. But if there is no snow, the dogs pull wheeled-rigs through six miles of bumpy forest track at speeds up to 26mph.

The second heat of the premier husky racing event in Britain will be held in Tentsmuir Forest on the Fife coast on 3 and 4 January. With UK quarantine laws under review, this year's winners could be representing the UK on the international sled dog circuit by next season. In the past, racers have been unable to take their own teams to events abroad and have relied on borrowing unfamiliar dogs. JM Littman, a top international musher and the head of the British Mushers' Association said: "We were once viewed as the eccentrics here in the UK, but with sled dog racing increasing in popularity, the standard of competition improving, and with the IOC set to accept sled dog racing as an Olympic sport, we are now getting that sporting recognition."

As 100 teams prepare to descend on the forest, Mr Littman is confident of his own chances. Alex Laidlaw, Scotland's top racer and the co-organiser of the Tentsmuir race also fancies his chances. Mr Laidlaw He is one of the favourites in the six dog class, but a fellow Scot, Alain Stewart, has already notched up his first win in the four dog class from the first heat. He beat the top two seeds, Mr Littman and Natalie Bowman, to take his first national win. He said: "The four dog class is very competitive and I'm sure JM and Natalie will be hard on my heels at Tentsmuir."

The national championships consist of six races. Earlier this month the first event was held at the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. After Tentsmuir, the circuit moves to Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk on 17 and 18 January, Aberfoyle in the Trossachs on 31 January and 1 February, Goodwood in Sussex on 21 and 22 February and finishes back in Scotland at the Carron Valley on 7 and 8 March.

SCOTSMAN 23/12/97

Dog sled team takes to sands of California


sled dogs 

See Preston's dog sled team in action.  

video icon

1.9MB/25 sec./320x240 
935K/25 sec./160x120 
QuickTime movie


December 5, 1997 
Web posted at: 12:10 a.m. EST (0510 GMT)  

OXNARD, California (CNN) -- Dog sled teams might seem more at home in the chilly wilds of Alaska than the sands of sunny Southern California. 

But CNN's Greg LaMotte happened upon Preston Springston, who has put together a furry crew that he describes as "the fastest and best sled dog team in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties." 

Then again, Springston's is probably the only dog team in those counties. Join LaMotte as he visits with this sometimes unruly crew. 



© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Hit & Run Accident

ASHVILLE, NY — A man's dream of racing in the Iditarod ended when a pickup struck his sled dog team during a night training run.

Two of Byron Sturdevant's dogs were killed and six were hurt in the hit-and-run accident in Ashville, about 55 miles southwest of Buffalo.
"I don't think I could ever get back into running. I wouldn't want to put any more dogs at risk," Sturdevant, of nearby Sugar Grove, said Thursday.

The accident happened about 9:45 p.m. Sunday as the dogs were pulling a three-wheel rig equipped with lights and reflectors. Sturdevant said he stopped the rig and stood in front of it as the pickup approached head-on. But he saw the truck wasn't slowing down and jumped from its path.

The truck hit all eight dogs, he said. Killed were Scooter, a 4-year-old Alaska husky, and a 5-year-old Siberian husky named Shadow. A 6-year-old German shepherd that appears to have been brain-damaged may be put to sleep, he said. The other dogs were scraped and cut, and one dog suffered a broken leg.

"I'm done sledding," said Sturdevant, who had been trying for three years to put together the right team to run in the Iditarod. "I thought I actually had it," he said.

The driver of the truck had not been found Friday. The Chautaqua County Sheriff's Department was investigating.

October 25th, 97 Anchorage Daily News.

Humane Treatment of Dogs; Tethering; Clarification 
taken from the Federal Register Online

[Federal Register: September 25, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 186)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 50244-50245]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
9 CFR Parts 1 and 3 
[Docket No. 95-078-4]
RIN 0579-AA74

Humane Treatment of Dogs; Tethering; Clarification
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule; clarification.


SUMMARY: On August 13, 1997, we published in the Federal Register (62 FR 43272-43275, Docket No. 95-078-2) a final rule that removed the option for facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act to use tethering as a means of primary enclosure. We also added a provision to the regulations to permit regulated facilities to temporarily tether a dog if they obtain approval from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection

Service. The purpose of this notice is to clarify what kinds of facilities are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act and, subsequently, what kinds of facilities must comply with the final rule on tethering.

 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stephen Smith, Staff Animal Health

Technician, Animal Care, APHIS, suite 6D02, 4700 River Road Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737-1234, (301) 734-4972, or e-mail:



On August 13, 1997, we published in the Federal Register (62 FR 43272-43275, Docket No. 95-078-2) a final rule that amended the regulations by removing the option for facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act to use tethering as a means of primary enclosure. We also added a provision to the regulations to state that regulated facilities may temporarily tether a dog if they obtain approval from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

This rulemaking was based on our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, which has shown that tethering can be an inhumane practice when used as a means of primary enclosure in facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. Typically, this inappropriate use of tethering involves dogs that are permanently tethered without opportunity for regular exercise. This was the basis for our position that tethering is inhumane. However, we recognize that under other circumstances (intermittent use, dogs are vigorously exercised, pets are on running tethers, dogs have close oversight, etc.) the use of tethering may be entirely appropriate and humane. We did not intend to imply that tethering of dogs under all circumstances is inhumane, nor that tethering under any circumstances must be prohibited.

Since publication of the final rule, we have been made aware that some members of the public are confused as to who must comply with this final rule. We have received numerous inquiries from various kinds of dog owners who tether their dogs. These dog owners are concerned that, pursuant to the final rule, they will no longer be able to tether their dogs. We are publishing this notice in order to make it clear who must comply with the final rule, and [[Page 50245]] who is not subject to the provisions of the final rule.

The final rule regarding tethering of dogs was issued under the authority of the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act authorizes APHIS to license, register, and regulate animal dealers, animal transporters, animal exhibitors, and research facilities that sell, transport, exhibit, or use certain kinds of animals, including dogs.

Regulations established under the Act are contained in 9 CFR parts 1, 2, and 3. Subpart A of 9 CFR part 3 contains requirements concerning dogs and cats. With regard to dogs sold, transported, exhibited, or used in research by persons subject to the Animal Welfare Act, APHIS' regulations are intended to ensure that the dogs are given proper and humane care. Persons subject to the Animal Welfare Act include persons who sell dogs wholesale or breed dogs to sell wholesale, sell dogs to laboratories for research purposes or breed dogs for sale to laboratories for research purposes, broker dogs, operate an auction at which dogs are sold, or give dogs as prizes as part of a promotion.

Transporters of dogs, such as airlines, railroads, motor carriers, and handlers contracted to transport dogs, are also subject to the Animal Welfare Act. Additionally, persons who exhibit dogs (such as circuses or carnivals) and laboratories that use dogs for research are subject to the Animal Welfare Act.

These are the groups that must comply with the final rule prohibiting permanent tethering of dogs as a means of primary enclosure. However, any person required to comply with the final rule may request approval from APHIS to temporarily tether a dog.

Any person who is not subject to the Animal Welfare Act does not have to comply with the final rule on tethering, and may continue to tether their dogs. Persons who own dogs as pets are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. Persons who breed dogs as a hobby, and do not sell them wholesale, are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. Dog mushers and owners of guard dogs or hunting dogs are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore, these entities are not subject to and do not have to comply with APHIS' final rule regarding tethering of dogs.

APHIS has no authority under the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit tethering of dogs by persons who are not subject to the Act. Individuals most likely to be affected by the final rule on tethering are those licensed by APHIS as Class A and Class B dealers of dogs. This includes persons who sell dogs wholesale, breed dogs to sell wholesale, sell dogs to laboratories for research purposes, or breed dogs for sale to laboratories for research purposes. Most dog breeder and wholesale industry organizations agree that tethering is not a humane means of primary enclosure for dogs when used under the circumstances typical to breeding and wholesale facilities. Many of these organizations already prohibit member facilities from using tethering as a means of primary enclosure. For this reason, using tethering as a means of primary enclosure is rare among licensed Class A and Class B dog dealers.

We recognize that many persons not subject to the Animal Welfare Act do tether their dogs. Persons not regulated under the Animal Welfare Act who tether their dogs are likely to be using this means of restraint under circumstances different than those typical to breeding and wholesale facilities. In these cases, tethering may be a humane method of restraint. Regardless, APHIS does not have the authority to regulate the activities of dog owners who are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. 

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 2131-2159; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.2(g).
Done in Washington, DC, this 22nd day of September 1997. Terry L. Medley,

Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 97-25482 Filed 9-24-97; 8:45 am]

For further information please visit the Federal Register Online


Canadian Tourist Board supports DOG TREK 97/98


Tuesday 30th of September Wendy Smith of Dog Trek 97/98 press conference was mushing around Grosvenor Square for a Press Shoot set up by the Canadian Tourist Board. The whole Dog-Trek 97-98 team was there as was J-M Littman and his sleddog team. A good press turn out and further press realese and photos to come.

Dog-Trek 97-98 is a world first dog-sledding expedition to cross the north American continent in one continuous journey.
The Expedition will be lead by Wendy Smith and will start in November 1997 from Maine, USA. Wendy has recovered from Hodgkins Lymphoma and believes that this classic endeavour will shine as an example of "life after cancer" She hopes to raise £200,000 for cancer research in the UK, Canada and USA.

Please visit the Dog Trek site for further information. Trail UK will keep you posted with weekly updates of their progress





The IOC Executive Board's review of its file on the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) was removed from the Board's agenda just before the Board's late August meeting at IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The reason given by the Sports Director of the IOC, Gibert Felli, for the removal was that too many other items requiring immediate action had surfaced. Mr. Felli has advised IFSS that the promised Board review of the IFSS file, which includes an Application for IOC Recognition of IFSS and the Sport of Sled Dog Racing, will take place later this year, possibly at the Board's meeting in December.

During the IOC Executive Board's August meeting, a copy of IFSS's 1996-1997 Survey of World Wide Sled Dog Racing was given to each Board member.

Mr. Felli told IFSS President Glenda Walling that he was very impressed with the Survey, as well as with IFSS's complete file of information.

The Survey recorded that 20,883 mushers participated in 1,005 sled dog racing events in 30 countries. 45,896 teams entered the 3,773 class races which were held during the twelve month survey period.

IFSS' next major project is the holding of a World Cup Series during the winter of 1997-1998 in North America and Europe. Up to 10 class races on each continent are to be selected in each of 4 sled categories (unlimited, 8, 6 and 4 dog classes), as well as in 2 ski-pulka categories (men's and women's classes). The first three mushers in each category will pre-qualify for the February,1999, IFSS World Championships in Sils, Switzerland.

Robert I. Levorsen (
IFSS Olympic Committee Chairman

Yukon Quest Makes Route Changes

Disappointing news to report... Members of the Quest's Alaska board called a press conference this afternoon, Friday Aug. 8, to announce they are fed up dealing with their Canadian counterparts.

The organization apparently is willing to throw away 15-years of race history in favor sending mushers on a Fairbanks-to-Fairbanks route in 1998... The change was announced as if it was final... According to folks I talked to in the Whitehorse, Y.T., office, there was no prior consultation with the Quest's Canadian Board. I know there was no vote of the Alaska Quest membership, which has rejected such suggestions by an overwhelming margin in the past. Much of the blame was laid on the Canadian's failure to fully disclose the details of its sponsorship negotiations/contract (who knows?) with FULDA, a German tire company...

Well, it all stinks... As some of you know I'm signed up to run the 1998 Quest. It would be a shame if organizational rivalries taint the traditions of one of the mushing world's great events. To me, there is no Quest without the historic gold rush trail, especially this coming year_the centennial of the 1898 Klondike Stampede. 

I certainly didn't sign up to mush a boring 1,000-mile loop through the neighborhood, with the trans-Alaska pipeline providing a background for a certain Alaska sponsor's commercials.

So, HERE IT IS, a challenge to mushers everywhere... I intend to mush out of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on 1p.m. February 8, trusting friends and true Quest supporters to put in a trail. It may be that I'm out there alone. So be it. I'll be traveling in the spirit the race was founded, demonstrating that a small kennel owner can put together a team of hardy sled dogs capable of amazing feats on the old wilderness trails. I don't know if anyone will find a purse waiting at the finish line. But the way I figure it, the first team to reach Fairbanks via the true Yukon Quest Trail wins the only distinction that counts. Anybody interested? It should be fun and we might just shame people into saving a great sporting event... To tell the truth, my prospects for victory have never looked so sweet.

Brian Patrick O'Donoghue, co-owner with Kate Ripley of Rip O'Roaring Kennel and 91' Iditarod Red Lantern

The UK National Sled Dog Racing Championships

The National Championships reached it's climax at Aberfolye at the beginning of the February.

In both the 6 dog and 4 dog classes the championship title was yet to be decided.

Mike Bradbury had won the two previous races but due to the close points system Neil Marshall still could draw level if he won and Mike finished any lower than 3rd. Neil was coming hot off the Aviemore trail and was is super form and comfortable won the first day, with Mike in second and Alex Laidlaw in third.

Mike dropped 2 dogs from his team the next day, and with Alex only 22 seconds behind him, Mike had a lot of work to do to retain his championship title. Alex beat Mike's second day time but by only 13 secs, leaving Mike in 2nd place to clinch the title for a second year.

The four dog was equally exciting if not more dramatic. Natalie Bowman team had really reached peak fitness and were is amazing form. The first day Natalie's team were ahead by 31 seconds a lead that J-M Littman could do little about. On paper Natalie had the race wrapped up ! But it was not going to be Natalie's weekend, she suffered a front wheel puncture during the heat two which allowed J-M to make up the gap and beat Natalie by just 2 seconds ! J-M conceded that Natalie would of won if not for the puncture but didn't have any plans to relequish the Championship title !

In the 2 Dog championship bid Cathy Croman continued to dominate the class. Unbeaten this season, Cathy had the only to finish 1st or second to regain her title. Aberfolye saw overall a more competitive class, than we had seen at previous races. Natalie Bowman, Sharon Kennedy and newcomers Shane Murray and Karl Binns all showed well. In fact Mark Tillier, the other half of Cathy took some "stick" for being pushed down to the unaccustomed finished position of 5th ! Cathy came through to continue her winning streak and claim her 2 Dog Championship title.

At all the Championship races, a sports and fun class were also run. Not everyone can be a winner. Time, finace and a dogs ability all impose their limitations and some simply enjoy running dogs at less break neck speeds ! These classes recognise this and hopefully went towards encouraging new mushers to this series of races.



JM Littman's 4 dog championship winning team


J-M Littman's 4 Dog Championship winning team. Storm (left) & Numen (right) lead, Dawson (left) & Flint (right) wheel.


BSHRA's Zero Ban To Continue


The BSHRA private race series for the 97/98 season will continue it's ban on Zero line Siberian Huskies.

Only teams that meet the BSHRA entry criteria will be allowed to compete in their 6 race series.

It seems to be not only a questionable exclusion, but also serves to limit an already tiny gene pool yet still further. With genetic and hereditary diseases such as eye problems, crypto's and cancers in Siberian Huskies ever increasing surely a continued policy of dividing the racing community into making a choice whether to use Zero line dogs or not will benefit nobody in the long term.

However there are over 40 races in the UK that do not impose entry restrictions for Siberian Husky teams.


SledDog 2000 go for 1997

Mike Bradbury's challenge series of races has left the ABSA organisation. The 6 series race will now run under it's own banner. New organisers and new venues are promised in the shape of Trevor Fagg's Rendlesham rally, Jim Bryde's Goodwood and Alex Laidlaw's Carron Valley. Kevin Findlater joins SledDog 2000 to organise the Abefolyle race.

Changes have also been made to the classes with a three dog class being added and the sporting and fun class to be amalgnated into one class.

Provisional dates are as follows:

6/7th Dec Forest Of Dean

3/4th Jan Tentsmuir

17/18th Jan Rendlesham

31Jan/1st Feb Aberfolye

21/22nd Feb Goodwood

7/8th March Carron Valley

British Cup Sleddog Forum cancelled

J-M Littman has decided to cancel the Sleddog conference which was to be held in October. Despite the attendance of such well respected names as Susan Butcher and Dr Arleigh Reynolds, support for this year's event had been poor.

"It is the last thing I wanted to do, after having last year's event received so well. Unfortunately it would seem that despite that certain fractions within the UK clubs would rather it not happen. That kind of attitude does little to forward sleddog sports in this country or it's credibility to our peers abroad."

J-M Littman

Dog Trek 97-98

Things are going great guns!!

Here's an update for those of you who have expressed an interest, and offered help.

We've been given dogs by Susan Butcher, equipment from Nordkyn Outfitters, offers of help from numerous mushers who live along the way. Thankyou to you all. Please feel free to speak to us about anything.

The latest news is that Michael Palin (actor, Monty Python, Fish called Wanda, Pole to Pole) has written to help us, and Chris Rea, the singer/songwriter is helping us to raise money, and will write the music to the documentary.

We are getting lots of private donations and they are adding up. We still have fund raising events going on in UK. We're still looking for cash though from a company that seeks publicity, and there's going to be a lot of that.And the nicest part of all this is hearing from cancer patients who have already been made to feel better by the idea that I'm doing this journey for them! I wish them all the very best.

Hope to see many of you as we pass by!

Wendy Smith


NO official 'IOC Demonstration Event" at the Nagano Olympic Games.

There will NOT be an official 'IOC Demonstration Event" at the Nagano Olympic Games. Even when I first spoke to a key Nagano Olympic Committee Director during the Lillehammer Games, the time for getting approval for such a happening had passed. I was formally advised of this the following fall whenI spoke with the IOC Sports Director.

However, there have been Nagano Sled Dog Races during the past two seasons,not far from 1998 Winter Olympic Sites. IFSS President Walling attending last winter's event as a guest of JFSS. Another Nagano Sled Dog Event is planned for 1998. However, it will not be a formal part of the Games, as of right now and will probably take place in January, at least two weeks before the Games begin, similar to what happened at the 1988 and 1992 Games.

Additionally, the two sled dogs now in Japan which helped carry the International Environmental Expeditions "MESSAGE" from the Lillehammer Closing Ceremonies to Nagano made a crowd pleasing appearance when the Message was presented by the Mayor of Lillehammer to the Mayor of Nagano during the Nagano Ceremonies 500 days before the start of the Games. These dogs many well be on display during the 1998 Games. Furthermore, an efforts being made to have the Lillehammer/Nagano Environmental Message carried some how from Nagano to Salt Lake City. I will know more about that later,maybe.

Bob Levorsen
Chairman, IFSS Olympic Committee

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