Sled dogs and dryland mushers from the Republic and Northern Ireland descended on Aghrane forest, Ballygar, Co. Galway last weekend for the first race in the Irish Federation of Sleddog Connolly’s RED MILLS Engage National Championship.
The sleepy woods silence was broken with the howls of racing dogs from all corners of the country with a long warm summer behind them bursting to get back out on the trails to do what they do best and are breed to do, pull rigs, scooters and bikes at break neck speeds down the forestry roads.
For most of population of Ireland the sight of dark cold winters is the worst thing possible but not the dry land mushers so most along with the dogs could not wait for the racing season to start again and it did not fail to impress.
The trails even after heavy rains were in perfect racing conditions. The first race out was four dog open (any breed of dog including mixed) over a distance of 4.25km and was won by Anthony O Hara, Gorey. A decision was made as temperatures were rising to lessen the race distance 2.75km for the reminder of the races for safety of the dogs.
Next out was the 4 dog Nordic (Nordic purebred dogs) which was won with a very impressive time by Diane McFarlane NI with her team of Siberian huskys. Next race was Bikejoring which was won by are very own World champion Susanne Bojkosky and her greyster Niva followed by Alan Mc Divitt both preparing for the European Championship in Italy next month. This was followed by Bikejoring Nordic which was won by a newcomer in only his second race Michael Reilly.
2 dog scooter Nordic was won by Mossie Corrigan with great preparation for his trip to Italy in November also. 1 dog scooter open was won by Susanne Bojkosky again and Alan McDivitt in the Nordic both proving their training and hard work for the Europeans are really paying off.
Last out was the Canicross which was won by newcomers Nicky Curren and his Malamute Kai in their very first race.
A great day was had by all and special thanks to Joanne Watson from Connollys RED MILLS who was on site to give nutrition and feeding advise and to present the prizes to the winning teams.
Next stop is Castle Castlewell Northern Ireland on the 23 November hope to see you there