Sunday, March 13, 2011

Swenson's Records Safe For Another Year

John Baker at the Ceremonial Start of Iditarod 39
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Unless a huge shake up happens in the next day and a half - very unlikely - Rick Swenson's records of youngest winner and 5 wins are still his and only his. Kotzebue musher John Baker is solidly in the lead. He's a "hometown hero", and musher/fan favorite. He's plugged away at this moment for years, and quite possibly would have won last year had he not, in his sleep deprived thoughts, believed he'd made a wrong turn on his way to the halfway point of Cripple. (Dallas Seavey was on his tail and passed him and took away the $3,000 in gold nuggets.)

Lance Mackey has all but given up, telling the press that there's no way he's going to hit five. We've heard this whole humilty speech from the Last Chance kennel before, but this time he seems to mean it. Mackey is hovering down in the 6-10th position fighting off Dallas Seavey and Martin Buser for a top ten finish.

Ramey Smyth and Sebastian Schnuelle have been quoted this morning as saying they can't catch, much less keep up, with Baker's team. Though, they're still in the hunt along with Hans Gatt and Hugh Neff - and a surprise, Reddington, Jr.! The race isn't over, but the top six are never won's in the Last Great Race (though they are far from rookies, all have impressive placements in their careers).

Anyone else think Swenson's breathing a huge sigh of relief? Still the most titles and records held. Can Buser's time record be beaten, though?

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