Richard Burgess' Account of his time at Checkpoint 1 on Polar Race 2003
Richard Burgess was at Checkpoint 1 with Richard Bull, Tony Woodford and
Ian Davis from 11 April to 15 April 2022 during the Polar Race. This is
his report. As well as igloo building and visiting the Polaris Mine,
their main purpose was to meet the racers as they arrived at the
checkpoint, handle any problems medical or otherwise that the racers
had, communicate with Race Control in Resolute on a daily scheduled
basis, take pictures and video footage, re-supply all the teams with
food and fuel for the next leg of the race and start the next leg.
This is Richard Burgess' view of life at Checkpoint 1.
Ice Work at CP1
It's not until you've spent five days on the ice confined to a space no
bigger than your bedroom cupboard with three people that you truly value
your personal space. On top of that it was about -25°C most of the
time and the diet consists of the sweetest sweets you could imagine.
Needless to say we were full of energy with little to do. What to do?
We had three days until Extreme Steps and ViP3 were going to arrive. We
After a two day stint of bad weather, which further delayed the
remaining teams, we ventured outside. The icy winds had brought with
them a covering of new snow. One foot high ridges of snow had closed
round the tents as the wind whipped round them. The snow brought with
it things to do. Dr Ian and myself decided use the snow to build an
igloo. Not being an igloo building genius, and Ian having never built
one before, we thought it would be a good challenge. We set to work
cutting ice blocks with Richard Bull's machete and began laying the
blocks in a circle on the ground. We then added more and more layers
and closed off the top. We then cut a hole for the door. A tunnel was
then extended from the entrance a couple of feet to keep out the wind.
Our Igloo actually looked like an igloo - we were pleased.
During our stay at Checkpoint 1, Tony Woodford and Richard Bull paid a
visit to Polaris mine. Despite the fact that they had a heated indoor
swimming pool that looked over the frozen waste (our campsite), a hot
tub and showers, their visit was purely business. They had to deliver
some the tapes of Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team crossing the
finish line at Checkpoint 1. Ian and myself stayed back at the
checkpoint. The workers at the mine invited all four of us back the
following night for a meal (Spare Ribs mmmmm). That evening we phoned
base camp at 2100 for our daily check in and to our dismay ViP3 and
Extreme Steps were due to arrive the night of our promised meal. Oh
well, things never run quite so smoothly in the Arctic.
When the remaining teams arrived, Tony Woodfood filmed them crossing the
line. It was close, there was only a minute gap between the two teams.
After being interviewed by Tony and checked over by Dr Ian, they set
camp and started their well deserved 24 hour rest period. The following
day the Twin Otter plane arrived at the checkpoint to take us back to
Resolute. The gun went at 1216 and the racers continued their journey
towards Checkpoint 2.
The checkpoint ran relatively smoothly and it's good to be back at South
Camp Inn. We had a good laugh on the checkpoint and I'm looking forward
to the next checkpoint.
15 April 2022