A day on the Mongol Derby is a long time, even this morning the field was very close together with any of 15 riders in contention. Now the top 6 have finally broken away and are 2 stations ahead of the chasing pack.
The leaders (Elise Poitrinal, Braden Cameron, Michele Tanaka, Byeronie Epstein, Maxim Van Lierde and Ben Wilks) are riding at a tremendous pace and (for now) are riding as a team. So far only Elise is carrying a vet penalty into PS2 (station 21), it remains to be seen if they will split there, before or ride on together until the finish line is within sniffing distance. With a lead of around 70 Km, it's looking less likely the chasing pack will reach them.
Devan Horn has had another attritional day on the steppe. After sitting her penalty this morning she seemed determined to make up time and set of to HS12 like a rocket. Unfortunately she didn't make it much further before falling victim once again to the heat. She hit the 'help' button on her tracker and took refuge with a nearby family while she waited for backup. She was taken back to Station 12 where she's back under medical observation.
After what looked like a promising recovery she seems to be not doing too well, dehydrated and vomiting meaning she is likely to lose part of tomorrow too.
Another rider who is on his last life is Iain Hayter. The report is that he's 'pissing blood' suggesting a bladder or kidney infection. Currently he's on antibiotics, fighting through the pain barrier to keep going but it seems likely he'll need to withdraw soon.
Catherine Gudde and Catherine Coward on the other hand are troubling our medics much less. After a difficult day 3 they've been riding well to catch up with the action in front.
There seems to be some admirable sportmanship this year. Sophie Wilford has been riding with Bruce Chernoff and decided to wait with him while he sat a penalty at HS11.
Liz Brown tonight is enjoying her fourth night between Urtuus, it seems she's more content to find locals to stay with. Her plan seems to be paying off though as last night the herders she stayed with managed to find a bath for her.
The leading 6 are all receiving admiration from crew and locals alike for their attitude. Who said nice guys can't come first?
The top six at least are more than half way to the end, and we're still on schedule to crown a winner by day 8.
Derby Chief Katy on Twitter
We're still plagued by technical issues with our satellite systems at the moment. We use three different networks which all seem to be struggling. Once again we've not had any pictures back from our official photographer on the steppe, the pictures on the right are from Eric, a member of the event crew.
We were also without rider trackers for part of the day, so apologies for the tracking map not being up to date. correct rider locations can be found on the Day 4 Leaderboard
Derby chief Katy will be reporting on the race, live on Twitter from 10am local time: @MongolDerbyLive
The Full List of Riders can be found over on the Mongol Derby website.
Applications for 2016 are open. If you prefer to participate than spectate you can apply here.