Mary is the first woman to win the 8 dog SDAS Championship
Report of the big Darnaway day by Mary Carter
On the weekend of the 23rd & 24th November, the Satanta Siberian Husky race teams loaded up and headed North to Morayshire to Darnaway forest to take part in the very first IFSS World Cup ever to grace these shores. SDAS hosted the event, which was also the SDAS National Championship and qualifying race for next season’s IFSS European Dryland championships.
An early start
We were up early to start to prepare our race equipment and hydrate our dogs for the race. Then we had to hand in our final entry paperwork for our chosen teams, collect our race bibs and CSJ ‘Bag-For-Life’ – stuffed with an array goodies from our kind sponsors.
The trail briefing described the exciting gradual downhill start through the beautiful mature forest, with some tricky turns and then a relentless climb to ‘Leafy Heights’ (the trail that snakes along the cliff edge top of the river gorge), round some hairpin bends, then a steep descent and undulations through to the finish.
The only 8-dog team driven by a female at Darnaway
Soon it was time to get our dogs ready, so along with our excellent ‘support team’, Vicki & Mike, we set about harnessing and hooking up our first eight dogs which were to be the only eight dog team driven by a female at this event – my team.
I was seeded to start second, so we hooked the team up at the van while the first team prepared to leave the start chute. Then once the first team was off, we pulled the quick release and John rode the rig (his weight having greater effect on the braked wheels than me!) while we guided the dogs safely through the excited crowds to the start.
Soon the two minute interval was up and we were off,and began our exhilarating rollercoaster ride that saw the rig broadside around the fast turns. Then using reverse lock to keep on track, we mastered the whip action turn at the end of ‘Leafy Heights’ before hurtling down the brisk descent with all four wheels locked, releasing in time to negotiate the 90 degree left, “Woo Whoooo!”
By this time I was on the heels of the team that set off ahead of me. There were a couple of failed attempts to pass cleanly on the fairly narrow ‘No Right of Way’ section, so I kept my team right behind until we came to the finish.
Both round with 1 minute ahead
No sooner was I back to the van, with my dogs watered, wiped, treated & put safely back on their drops, John, Vicki & Mike began hooking in John’s 6 dog team, who were to take the same adrenaline rush trail as me.
A faultless run for John, so at the end of day 1, we were both around a minute ahead of the competition and leading both classes.
Winning in a total time of 29 minutes and 4 seconds
Day 2 began with the same excitement and relief that I would not be faced with a team to pass on a narrow section of trail. Disaster struck on the outrun as my dog at point had got his front leg over the line.
Brakes on and a ‘Whoa’ command brought the team to a halt, where they waited until Brodick flicked his leg back over, then we were off again….
We finished 14 seconds slower than our day 1 time, but still 36 seconds ahead, winning in a total time of 29minutes and 4 seconds, 1 min and 35 seconds clear.
John wins in 27 minutes & 26 seconds
John had a faster day 2 run, knocking 18 seconds off his day 1 time giving him the overall time of 27 minutes & 26 seconds, 1 min and 34 seconds ahead …and clinching the double whammy for the Satanta Siberian Husky teams who were both the fastest two Purebred teams over the long trail at Darnaway.
SDAS National Champions’ in both the 6 and 8 dog classes
Our super results saw us crowned ‘SDAS National Champions’ in both the 6 and 8 dog classes, (with me being the first ever female 8-dog SDAS Champion,) and we both gained our top qualifying result for selection onto the GB Team competing in France next December for the IFSS European Championships.
Big thanks, as ever, to CSJ for fuelling our teams with CP30 and Go On herbs to achieve such ‘darn’ good results at Darnaway!