August 13, 2018

Category: Mongol Derby

The big story of the day is, of course, that AC and AN rode past DH who sat out a 2 hour vet penalty at urtuu 21 tonight.  AC and AN are roughly half way to urtuu 22, camped out with a family at their smallholding.  They’ve got a head start of about 20km on DH and we are not about to speculate as to whether it will be enough.  As impressive as AC and AN are as a team and as individuals, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.  You can’t discount Devan.

That said, DH will not only be chasing AC and AN tomorrow, she’ll be running away from CH and AL, who are camped out a mere 10km out of urtuu 21.  EAL is also camped out between urtuus 20 & 21, another 10km back.  From her steady and impressive performance so far, she remains a serious threat to DH’s quest to win the derby.

After roughly riding a series of semi-wild horses 750km across the Mongolian steppe, a mere 40km separates the first six riders.  We certainly aren’t making any bets here in HQ.  I mean we can’t anyway.  But if we could… oh ignore us – back to the action.

At the other end of the field, a mobile rodeo is developing as riders tire, the horses (as always) feel disinclined to listen and riders are less able to convince their erstwhile steeds that eternal glory lies ahead if they could only canter on just a little more…  Both MGR and RH were bucked off three times today; RH has three dislocated fingers and MGR has whiplash.  Both headed back to UB in the blood wagon for medical checks and, in MGR’s case, a neck x-ray (don’t panic – it’s just whiplash).

Both are determined to ride on.  Also in the blood wagon are KG, with her arm in a sling and CS with some of the worst chafing the derby has ever seen.  Chafing may sound minor, but trust us – it isn’t.  Apart from the discomfort, the risk of infection and the near impossible task of keeping what is essentially a massive open wound clean as you ride on can easily put riders out of the race.  DHE and RB are also in the bloodwagon after a hard time out on the field.  We in HQ are trying hard to keep riders in the saddle and riding, but this is where it starts to get complicated.  Each stage covered in the blood wagon incurs a three hour time penalty, but doesn’t necessarily mean the rider has to stop riding.  They can be carried forward to join the race up the field but riders can (and do) get timed out if their time penalties mean they wouldn’t finish the race within ten days.

In amidst the chaos at the back, however, are some riders quietly riding well & pushing hard to stay in the race in spite of much hardship – JL & GR at urtuu 15 are racing, really racing and only have late riding penalties.  KOL & WG are also at urtuu 15 and have entirely blemish free vet cards.  Further up the field, honorable mentions go to MG, MT & JP – also yet to incur any penalty.  Oh, and JM.  Lost, gumpy, still single – no penalties and providing lots of entertainment for all.  Chapeau, JM!

Long may it continue.  Over and out, HQ.


AC & AN, camped out between urtuus 21 & 22

Urtuu 21, playing monopoly with the Ganbaatar family, DH

In between urtuus 20 & 21, CH, AL & EAL

Urtuu 20, HW enjoying a luxury stay on her own with the Baatar family

Urtuu 19, the Archibells with JP & MT, whose only concession to hardship seems to be staying with derby families – tonight the Bayarkhuus

Urtuu 18, JM, CR, KR, EK & VA with the Enkhbat family

In between urtuus 17 & 18, TTM

Urtuu 17, KO with the Purevee family

Urtuu 16, NMS, JS & MG.  We hope MG is teaching both NMS & JS a complicated Cuban first dance routine while the Naljir family look on

In between urtuus 15 & 16, MM & TB

Urtuu 15, JL, GR, CB, MB, KOL, SN, CF, CON, PK & WG with the Otgontugs

Retirees: FA, KG, MS, SA

In the bloodwagon, keen to get back on the course: MGR, RH, DHE, RB, CS