Polar Race 2003 News: 16-24 April 2003 (Leg 2)
24 April 2022
- Steve East and Mike Krimholtz of Extreme Steps give their account of
the second leg
With Extreme Steps at Checkpoint 2, all teams are doing their
preparation for the race restart tomorrow. Mike and Steve of Extreme
Steps found time yesterday to jot down their thoughts on racing from the
Polaris Mine (Checkpoint 1) to just North of Bathurst Island (Checkpoint
Back at base in Resolute Bay, preparations continue for the move of the
checkpoint team from Checkpoint 2 to Checkpoint 3 once the race has been
restarted. The next leg of the race is mainly over sea ice and the
conditions expected are to be hard on the first day as they cross rubble
and soft snow near the coast, after that it will start to flatten out
and it will be similar to conditions already experienced. This leg
involves little coastal navigation and has no choice of route. The
racers have to follow a straight course on a bearing of 335° using
different navigational techniques including the sun and wind.
The weather today and tomorrow is causing concern on two fronts, firstly
for the racers during the first day of the third leg and secondly as bad
weather means the plane will not be able to get to the checkpoint team
to move them on. Whereas at Checkpoint 2, there is a marked runway
(well we put down two black rubbish bags filled with snow at each end of
a flattish area of ice), a suitable landing spot as near as possible to
the planned position of Checkpoint 3 will need to be found by the
pilots. Bad weather will make this much more difficult than on the
previous two occasions when the weather has been good.
When the plane goes out to move the checkpoint team from Checkpoint 2 to
Checkpoint 3, Tony Woodford will join Richard Burgess and Ian Davis will
come back to base. Tony who is an experienced biker in the UK has become
a Skidoo wiz here in the Arctic.
We are constantly looking in detail at the logistics of getting the
racers back from the finish line, again weather and planes play a major
role in getting people to the finish coinciding with the arrival of the
23 April 2022
- ViP3 reaches Checkpoint 2 at 2055 hrs, so all four teams have now
The ViP3 team, which consists of Casper Hays, Babs Powell and Richard
Raine put in a tremendous effort today and covered 17 miles to get to
the checkpoint late this evening (Tuesday 22 April).
Casper Hays said:
"We are all OK and extremely pleased with how things are
going." When we spoke to the Checkpoint Team at 2130, ViP3 were
putting up their tent and making camp before going into the checkpoint
tent for a dinner cooked for them. Then they will have a well earned
rest and, subject to satisfactory medical assessment, all teams will
restart on Thursday 24 April.
Initial Style Explorers spent their rest time yesterday (21 April)
setting up a coffee bar using their pulks. They then served coffee and
hot chocolate to the Extreme Steps team and the checkpoint boys. Did
Manley and the coffee bar look like his feast in Ottawa?
View from a Checkpoint
Richard Burgess was at Checkpoint 1 with Richard Bull, Tony Woodford and
Ian Davis from 11 April to 15 April. As well as igloo building and
visiting the Polaris Mine, the main purpose of the Checkpoint Team is to
meet the teams as they arrive at the checkpoint, handle any problems
medical or otherwise that the racers have, 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 and start the next leg of the
Race. This is Richard Burgess' view of life at Checkpoint 1.
22 April 2022
- Extreme Steps reach Checkpoint 2 proving they really are getting to
grips with Arctic travel and racing. Also read about the Polar Team, a
team made up of "tough" characters
The Extreme Steps team of Mike Krimholtz and Steve East completed the
second leg of the Polar Race when they arrived at Checkpoint 2 at 0817
hrs this morning (21 April).
They will now have some well-earned rest. Checkpoint 2 is just over half
way to the Magnetic North Pole and thus the racers are more than half
way to the finishing line. Checkpoint 2 is in Cator Harbour on Sherard
ViP3 have travelled 13.1 miles since they last called in yesterday and
plan to walk for another one or two hours this evening. The conditions
underfoot are tough with a few inches of loose snow but the weather is
good with no wind. They intend to start early tomorrow and do the
remaining miles to Checkpoint 2 where they will be welcomed and cheered
in by the other racers and the Checkpoint Team.
Jock Wishart writes about the Polar Team:
The Polar team who are currently lying second in the Polar Race is made
up of two very determined characters.
Tony Martin, their leader, is a former army commando who spent 12 years
as a ski trainer and in civilian life is now an event manager. He is a
real "livewire" but efficient and businesslike in everything
he does. Someone whose word you can always trust and to whom there is no
problem that cannot be overcome. If Tony says he is going to do it then
he will do it!
He has an ideal teammate in Richard Dunwoody, one of Britain's greatest
jockeys. Due to injury Richard had to retire prematurely from horse
racing. He is however a highly competitive person so he was looking
around to find something else he could really get his teeth into. He had
first met David Hempleman-Adams at an Honours ceremony in 1993 and he
was eventually persuaded to walk across Baffin Island with another
friend of ours Neill Williams. From that moment on he was hooked by the
Arctic. For Richard a race in these conditions is something close to
As they have already demonstrated, the pair of them will drive
themselves to the point of exhaustion in order to win this race. At the
moment they lie second but if the leaders falter the pair of them will
be ready to pounce.
21 April 2022
21 April 2022
- Both Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team had encounters with polar
bears during the second leg
Both the Initial Style Explorers team of Chris McLeod, Phil Ashby and
Manley Hopkinson and the Polar Team which is composed of champion
jockey, Richard Dunwoody and former marine Tony Martin had to take
defensive action against a male polar bear in the same location: Polar
Bear Pass on Bathurst Island which, as the name suggests, is a migratory
area for these bears.
In Initial Style's case the team fired 5 shots above the bear but it
still kept 'moving in'. The racers however showed great calm in the
situation and, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, banged their ski sticks
together over their heads and this eventually scared the bear off. This
noise had a greater effect than the gunshots!
A couple of hours later, the Polar Team also encountered, in exactly the
same location, what is presumed to be the same polar bear. Alarmingly
this bear again showed keen interest in the racers. This time the four
shots that the Polar Team fired over its head did manage to scare it
Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team are recovering at Checkpoint 2
after the gruelling finish of the second leg but they have found time to
write in their own words their accounts of the second leg including
their version of the polar bear incident.
Also read the press
release on the polar bear story.
Exhausted and tired at the end of the 2nd leg Tony Martin said:
"The race is certainly on! In covering approximately 200 statute
miles in 6 days and taking the lead from Initial Style Explorers after 5
days, records must surely have been broken. Both the leading teams have
been close to complete exhaustion and hypothermia on a number of
occasions because of the sheer pace they have kept up. This strategy is
not recommended for novices but will be employed by both teams to the
end. This race is certainly the most physical, mentally the toughest and
probably the most strategic race I have ever competed in."
Dr Ian at Checkpoint 2 has been checking over the health of the Initial
Style team and Chris McLeod of Initial Style Explorers described their
health as "fighting fit", however
- Phil has some frost nip on his nose but no problem.
- Chris has a slightly damaged cornea due to wind and cold, however
Dr Ian says a few days rest with eye covered and he will be fine.
- Manley has no problems!
Meanwhile the Extreme Steps and ViP3 teams are still racing to
Checkpoint 2. During their scheduled calls this evening:
- Mike Krimholtz (Extreme Steps) said: "Had an excellent day
covering 17 miles and we are now 11 miles from Checkpoint 2. Intend to
rest for a while then move straight on to CP2 and estimate we will be
there by 0600 hrs - tell the checkpoint team eggs scrambled for
- Casper Hays (ViP3) said: "We have had a great day, are all fit and
well and have done over 14 miles so far today. We intend to continue
walking this evening until we have done more than 15 miles."
ViP3 and Extreme Steps during Leg 1
20 April 2022
- Initial Style Explorers win the second leg of the Polar Race with
another tremendous burst to the finish and celebrate Manley Hopkinson's
birthday in style at Checkpoint 2
Initial Style Explorers reached Checkpoint 2 in 3 days 13 hours 32 min
to win the second leg of the Polar Race for the Wedgwood Blue Ice
Trophy. They arrived at 0149 hours on the 19 April in atrocious weather
with strong winds swirling around making travel very difficult. They
had travelled continuously all day and evening on the 18 April to cover
the last 30 miles in one long, arduous push for home. ISE arrived on
Manley's birthday and the checkpoint team and the rest of the Initial
Style Explorers sang 'Happy Birthday' before Initial Style Explorers who
were exhausted had a well earned rest.
Polar Team who had been playing a cat and mouse game with ISE throughout
the second leg arrived at Checkpoint 2 at 1301 with their forced stop
last night losing them 11 hours on ISE. However Tony Martin reported
that he believed, after talking with the checkpoint team that they had
made the correct decision in stopping when they did.
Both ViP3 and Extreme Steps had a tough day in extremely cold weather
and they were heading into the wind all the time. Mike Krimholtz of
Extreme Steps said: "We are stopped in the lee of the land and it
is the first time we have not had a biting wind in our faces for the
last couple of days".
The Polar Race is certainly living up to its billing as "probably
the world's toughest race".
19 April 2022
- Checkpoint 2 established in Cator Harbour on Sherard Osborn Island.
Polar Team and Initial Style Explorers are expected to arrive late this
evening (Resolute Time)
The checkpoint team of Richard and Ian flew out to Cator Harbour today
and established a camp to await the arrival of the leading teams in the
Polar Race. The weather in Resolute was windy with low cloud and the
pilots informed us that there was a possibility that we would not be
able to land, however as we approached Sherard Osborn Island the weather
improved and, fortunately, a landing was possible.
Gary and Tony accompanied the checkpoint team on the flight. Tony helped
to erect the large tent whilst Gary communicated the actual position of
the camp back to base in Resolute. Initial Style and Polar Team
contacted base to find out the exact position of Checkpoint 2 as they
headed for the finishing line of the second leg. When the plane left
Richard and Ian were ready for the first arrivals.
ViP3 had bad weather today, high gusting wind and did not set off until
4pm when the weather improved. Unfortunately, it did not last and when
they rounded the next headland they were forced to stop and make camp
having achieved only 3.7 miles.
Extreme Steps achieved 12.6 miles and at their scheduled call were
making camp in high winds. This kept their call very short!
Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team are both going flat out for the
checkpoint and, hopefully, their arrival will be the main news in the
18 April 2022
- Things are hotting up at the front of the Polar Race as the Initial
Style Explorers and Polar Team vie for the lead
Both the Polar Team and Initial Style Explorer teams, who won the first
leg are pushing themselves to the limit in order to get to the finish of
the second leg of the Polar Race 2003 in first position.
This second leg, which is 120 miles from the start at Polaris
(Checkpoint 1) to the finish (Checkpoint 2) at a point North of Bathurst
Island, is tough and demanding with thin ice and open water to be
avoided at all costs.
Currently the Polar Team of Tony Martin and Richard Dunwoody have gained
on Initial Style Explorers and are now only 2 miles behind having gained
3 miles on their opposition in the last 24 hours. Both teams are now in
the area of thinnest ice and expect to finish tomorrow though it is
anyone's guess who will be in front!
It is certain that the Checkpoint Team will have to deal with two very
tired teams when they first arrive.
The checkpoint team is flying out to Checkpoint 2 tomorrow (Friday 18
April) and plans to be in position by 1600hrs. Initially, Richard
Burgess and Ian Davis will be the support people at the checkpoint.
17 April 2022
- Impressive performance by the Extreme Steps team who are Arctic
All teams travelled pretty fast and covered some very respectable
mileages on the first day of the second leg. During the second day the
going was tough with a lot of pressure ridges but again all teams turned
in impressive mileages.
See Race Progress for details.
Polar Race organiser, Jock Wishart writes...
Particularly impressive was the performance of the Extreme Steps team
made up of Steve East and Dr. Mike Krimholtz, who are rapidly improving
from being rank novices to hardened racers. They have a good routine and
now they are over the initial "Arctic shock" are showing good form,
though that does not particularly surprise me from their previous
Steve, I have known now for 6-7 years as a fellow dragon boat racer for
the Kingston Royals Dragon Boat Club, one of the top dragon boat clubs
in the UK. He was not particularly good at it when he started, being a
bit physically weak at the time but he persevered as he does with
everything to become a stalwart of the club. Always the guy who is last
away and the person you can always count upon to do the odd and often
dirty jobs; a thoroughly nice man who you might underestimate at your
peril. He has given up a lot to do this race, which has been a dream of
his for a long time. He is certainly proving what he is capable of now!
He is well complemented by Mike Krimholtz, a doctor who at first I
thought might be more interested in his experiments on melatonin than
racing. His psychometric profile however pointed to him being determined
and a leader. He now seems to relish the whole Arctic experience and is
growing in stature every day.
Extreme Steps - a team not to be taken lightly.
16 April 2022
16 April 2022
- Leg 2 of Polar Race 2003 gets underway at 1216 hrs in perfect
Despite only getting in at 1600 hours the previous day, both the ViP3
and Extreme Steps teams opted to start again at noon on the 15th April,
which was the scheduled start day for the second leg, along with Initial
Style Explorers and Polar Team who had come in a few days earlier and
were well rested.
Gary Walker, from the organising team, started the race with Richard
Bull firing the starting gun.
The second leg is both the longest and most complex as well as there
being a number of places where the teams could encounter thin ice. These
areas need to be avoided and the teams were given a briefing on the ice
conditions by Jock Wishart who had got the latest information from the
local weatherman and from the Canadian Weather website.
This leg starts from Polaris with the teams heading up the centre of
Queen's Channel before crossing to the shore of Bathurst Island at
Airship Point to avoid thin ice. The teams will then work their way up
the shore to the top of the island before crossing the mainland to Cator
Harbour on Sherard Osborn Island where Checkpoint 2 is located - a
distance of 122 miles.
It will be interesting to see what pace the teams keep up in the
excellent conditions prevailing but it is expected that strategy
decisions will be more important in this leg than the last.
The checkpoint team flew back to base at Resolute with the pilot doing
an overhead pass and wag of his wings to wish the racers on their way.
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