Monday, 23 February 2009

Yukon Quest Rules

There's news that Hugh Neff, second place in the Yukon Quest, has been penalized for two hours. Here's the story in the Daily News Miner, but the long and short of it is that he mushed on the road for a number of miles, thus cheating. I agree, mushing on the road is kinda skeezy. He deserves punished. However, the reason why surprised me.

Neff violated the trail procedure rule that states: “All teams must follow the trail as marked or as instructed by the race marshal.”

Well. That seems dumb. Isn't this supposed to be a race of skill, talent, and physical prowess? If people think they can shave time off by going and bushwacking, more power to them. So long as they make it to the checkpoints, and they don't use roads, that's all that should matter. But saying `there's one way between these two points` is silly.

In fact, call me old fashioned, but I wouldn't mind seeing the trail go away. I've got no illusions this'll happen, but in the dim and distant yesteryear, the mushers had to make their own way along. Hard? Sure. But the 'Quest bills itself as the toughest race on earth.