The Mongol Derby is underway, 41 racers left the starting line on August 8th. They’re riding 1000km over the next 10 days. Riders just completed Day 3 on the Steppe with South Africa, New Zealand and Australia are currently battling it out for the lead. Terrible weather conditions (driving rain and freezing cold!) have made this year’s race live up to its ‘toughest’ billing.
Highlights Day 1
- Leslie Wylie, Editor HorseNation.com, took the early lead reaching the 4th resting point.
- Riders are required to stop riding by 20:30 each day which left nearly a dozen riders midway between stations forcing them to spend the night alone in the wilderness with their horse.
- Pierre Germain was injured, kicked in the face when he fell from his horse. A couple of stitches and he remounted and kept riding.
- Liv Wood’s horse was uncooperative forcing the rider to walk and lead the horse to the first station.
- The weather turned sour with icy hurricane-like conditions in the morning.
- Jennifer Cook unintentionally unbridled her horse as she fell off. Five crew members tried to catch him on horseback, it took a motorcycle to round him back up.
- Hanna Schumacher was carried to the next station by the support crew when her horse took off during the storm.
- Another horse made a run for it while Annette Kriller was attempting to adjust the saddle. Outriders were unable to catch him, he eventually tired and was caught 15 kilometers away.
- Rather than spend the night in the wilderness many riders chose to absorb penalties to make it to shelter. Three riders are caught between stations and will sleep in the wilderness – Rebecca Hewitt, William Comiskey and Jodie Ward.
- First rider, Julia Fisher, out of the race with apparent broken ribs.
- Two riders made it to station 8, Emma Manthorpe and Maria Palzer. Mark Bauwens brings up the rear of the pack arriving at station 4.
- Potato farmer, Jakkie Mellet, 40 from Lydenburg, South Africa, has covered almost 420km of the 1000km race, with the hugely experienced rider Marie Palzer, 22, from Marahau, New Zealand, riding alongside Olympic heptathlete,Ed Fernon, 29, from Sydney, Australia, just a few kilometres behind.
- Tough weather continues with a film crew vehicle stuck in a bog, but the riders and horses handled the muck with ease.
- Leslie Wylie rode an entire leg of the race (40km) without stirrups after her horse took off with the saddle and her gear. She hiked back to the station and was given another horse however, her tack and gear remain in the possession of the run away who by evening, had not yet been located.
- Rebecca Pumphrey lost her horse after the bridle broke and the horse bolted.
- A large group of 15 riders clumped together and stuffed themselves into shelter overnight overwhelming the facility and vets checking the horses.
- 3 riders, Ceri Putnam, Sally Toye and Roberta MacLeod will sleep out on the Steppe hobbling their horses and praying they’re still around by daybreak.
- 2 more riders are out of the running – Jane Boxhall, UK from a rough fall and Rick Helson, USA for dehydration and hypothermia.
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Photography Courtesy Julian Herbert @ Mongol Derby 2017