Polar Race 2005

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Polar Race 2003 News: 30 April - 3 May 2022 (Leg 4)

3 May 2022 - Extreme Steps complete final leg in a very fast time and ViP3 get to the pole on the same day

The Extreme Steps team of Steve East and Mike Krimholtz surprised everyone but themselves in putting up an extremely fast time on the final leg. They adopted a strategy of making the last leg of 40 miles into a "sprint leg" in the first ever Polar Race for the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy.

Extreme Steps at the Pole    
Extreme Steps at the North Magnetic Pole

Very much the novices when they started out they astonished everyone with their speed of progress up the learning curve and on the third leg had finished only a few hours behind the highly rated Polar Team of Tony Martin and Richard Dunwoody. ViP3 and Extreme Steps started the final leg on a different day and at a different time to the two leading teams. They pushed themselves to the limit taking only a few hours sleep and posted a last leg time of just over 27 hours.

ViP3 at the Pole    
ViP3 at the North Magnetic Pole

Finishing fourth in the race and probably creating a new Arctic record was the British team of ViP3: Richard Raine, Casper Hays and, the only female racing, Babs Powell who has shown, for a generation of fifty year olds, how mind can triumph over body.

Babs Powell

She is almost certainly the oldest female to have ever accomplished such a feat, a terrific achievement for her and her teammates who unselfishly bolstered her during the race.

Babs Powell supporting the Lord's and Lady Taverners

2 May 2022 - Initial Style Explorers complete the last leg of the Polar Race and are confirmed as the overall winners

The Initial Style Explorers team of Chris McLeod, Phil Ashby and Manley Hopkinson dominated the Polar Race for the Wedgwood Blue Ice trophy. They finished today (Thursday 1st May) to win the Race 22 days after setting out from Resolute Bay in Nunavut.

Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team at the North Magnetic Pole

Their actual time racing between checkpoints was just over 10 days, which meant they were averaging nearly 35 miles a day. This is quite a phenomenal performance in the severe conditions prevailing and a statistic that astounded the locals more used to doing that sort of speed on skidoos. They survived temperatures as low as -40°C, deep snow and ice and encounters with polar bears.

Gary Walker presented the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy to the winning team on the finish line, which must rank as one of the more unusual and most northerly of prize-givings ever enacted.

Initial Style Explorers cracking open the champagne

Finishing only a few hours behind in the overall stakes was the second placed team of Tony Martin and former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody who overcame a multitude of injuries including a twice dislocated shoulder to finish.

Gary Walker congratulating the Polar Team

What is unclear yet is who has won this stage as both Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team opted to start a day earlier than the other teams and until the other teams both finish and their elapsed time for the leg is calculated we will not know that result.

There may still be a surprise yet!

Extreme Steps and ViP3 will feature in tomorrow's web update. Both teams are in great spirits.

1 May 2022 - All the teams are on the ice racing to the finish of the final leg of the Polar Race 2003 for the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy

Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team continue their head-to-head confrontation during the final leg of the race. Tony Martin of Polar Team said: "Initial Style Explorers may be ahead overall but we are still going to be going flat out to beat them on this final leg."

ViP3 and Extreme Steps set off this morning (Wednesday 30 April) on the final leg in good spirits and looking forward to getting to the Magnetic North Pole. At the moment, we are expecting Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team to reach the finish tomorrow (Thursday) and ViP3 and Extreme Steps may well arrive tomorrow as well.

Terrain encountered by Extreme Steps during the 3rd leg

Extreme Steps using the Garmin eTrex GPS to establish their position

In the call from the checkpoint team, we were given an update on the most northerly open golf competition between Ian Davis and Mark Harris - Ian 6, Mark 3, 6 to play.

Gary Walker manages the Control Centre in Resolute, the communications between the Control Centre and the UK and the Control Centre and the teams out on the ice. He is also has responsibility for generating all the articles and pictures that go out each day to update the website.

30 April 2022 - ViP3 reach Checkpoint 3 and Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team set off on the last leg of the Polar Race 2003

ViP3 arrived at Checkpoint 3 at about 1900 hrs after completing the penultimate stage of the race in good weather conditions - sunny and no wind. They are fit, in fine spirits and will start the final leg with Extreme Steps.

ViP3 arriving at the checkpoint
ViP3 arriving at the checkpoint

Meanwhile at noon today Initial Style Explorers and Polar Team started the last leg of the Polar Race. The third leg was a mass start and the picture shows Ian Davis officially starting the third leg.

Start of Leg 3

Leg 3 underway

Jock Wishart introduces Initial Style Explorers, the team that has led the way by winning every leg so far of the Polar Race. They are:

  • professional in attitude
  • professional in approach
  • professional in spirit
  • probably the Complete Team.

Initial Style Explorers
Initial Style Explorers

Phil Ashby was the youngest ever Major in the British Services and won the Queen's Gallantry Medal for leading the escape in Sierra Leone. He wrote a best selling book on his exploits on which a film is being based and bets are now being taken on who will play him in the lead role. Brad Pitt and Vin Diesel are the front-runners. Phil is a bit of an equipment freak always looking to improve any item of equipment that he is issued with. It is his knowledge, determination and drive that has made ISE the team they are.

Chris McLeod is the team leader and another decorated ex-marine. He is determined and focused in everything he does and is always looking for an edge for his team. He can be a bit impulsive - trying to scare away Polar Bears by beating ski sticks above his head and advancing on them proved to be a good idea, though not for the faint hearted.

Manley Hopkinson is the "joker" in the pack and the cement that links the two other characters together. He is a former "matelot", served in the Gulf war and then skippered a yacht in the BT Global Challenge. Immensely strong he started off, as the most inexperienced skier of the trio but now needs to be kept at the back to prevent him setting too fast a pace!

Jock Wishart
29 April 2022

Matty McNair Matty McNair, who with Paul Landry carried out much of the pre-race training here in the Arctic, read a poem for the Racers on the night before they started.

After reading the poem Matty added:

"The team who is winning is the team who is having the most fun!"

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