The Year That Was 2018 – Part Two – GNSHC Great Northern Classic I

Friday August 18th saw me head off for the first sled dog race weekend I can attend in 2018. First stop is Woodville, to catch a ride with Nardine and her team (Kiwidinok Siberian Huskies) for the drive to Waiouru. 

The weather in Woodville was overcast and showers as everyone got busy packing gear, having a quick lunch and loading all the dogs into the trailer. At this point the heavens opened and down came the rain. Shady and Miss Sassy of course, thinking playing in the rain was a great game, were the last two to be rounded up.

We had a smooth trip north to our accommodation, at the army barracks. Very comfortable, warm and cosy. With plenty of space for gear. Note the green plastic bag in the photo. This will appear in the Great Northern Classic II post as a very important piece of equipment 😉


Race weekend accommodation

Saturday morning dawned with overcast skies. After walking all the dogs, grabbing some breakfast, it was off to Karioi Forest to set up with Laura, Mel, Richard, Nardine and all the other keen volunteers. Weather at the forest was low cloud, mist and damp. A small group went out to check the trail, ensure all signs, tape and markers were in place while the rest of us set to the task of erecting the large gazebo.

This gazebo was huge and at first glance looked mega complicated to put up. Turned out though, all involved were of a systematic mindset, matching numbered pieces together carefully so the gazebo was up and sorted in 30 minutes. Well done guys and gals!!

Gazebo set up stage one
Gazebo set up stage two
Gazebo set up stage three
Gazebo set up stage four

When all was set up, it was back to Waiouru for some well-earned lunch. A pre-race briefing was held in the local hall before everyone followed the lead car, in a very long convoy, out to the gates of Karioi Forest. Every car and person were checked through the gate, then we drove our way to the middle of the forest to get the event underway. Congrats to the organisers for how smooth this all went.

On arrival everyone found a spot to park up, unload dogs and gear. Dogs were walked, and mushers readied for the start. 

Convoy to the forest
Preparing for the day
Parking and set up area one
Parking and set up area one

As the scooter class lined up the weather slowly deteriorated to rain, sleet and light snow falling. This came and went throughout the afternoon.

Dogs in the scooter class showed plenty of energy and power off the start line. A few of them even playing chicken with the photographer as they raced past me. Note the many different breeds of dog that are running and enjoying this sport.

scooter single dog start
scooter two dog start
scooter two dog running start
scooter single dog start straight at photographer

All returning with happy faces.

scooter single dog finish
scooter two dog finish
scooter two dog finish
Finish line

Just before the rigs were to line out, the sleet and light snow returned. Out came my purpose rain cover for the camera, where Mel had a great umbrella technique going. Made for some nice environmental shots for me, and the dogs were happy as ever 😊
Forgot to take a shot of my camera in the wet, below is one as an example of the camera raincover.

Camera with rain cover
Umbrella photographer
Rain, sleet and a little snow
Rain, sleet and a little snow

Next the rigs were lined up for their start.

multi dog rig start
multi dog rig start
multi dog rig start
multi dog rig start

A very successful afternoon for all. At 6 o’clock we were bringing up the rear of the convoy heading out of the forest.


Convoy leaving forest


Once back at our accommodation the first task as always, is to attend to the dogs, feed, water, walk and then get them back in their beds in the trailer. After that we humans get to shower and head into town for a nice hot meal and to tell stories of the day.



  1. Awesome photos and story line.
    Looks like a great time was had by all humans and pups.
    Sorry I missed it.

    • Thanks Marni 😊

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