Mongol Derby RACE REPORT: Day 5 – Thursday 8th August

Headlines

  • British rider Lara Prior-Palmer overtakes USA’s Devan Horn to take the lead, but only just
  • First and second placed riders separated by minutes at close of riding but will a potential time penalty for Lara have a major impact on who wins the race?
  • Lara Prior-Palmer rides 4.5 legs in one day – possibly a Mongol Derby record at 160km
  • Four riders withdraw from the race and head back to Ulaanbaatar
  • Several riders accept assistance or lift forward and ride on ‘hors concours’ (riding but not officially still in the race for a leaderboard position)
Lara Prior-Palmer is all smiles getting in first to horse station 17, 8th Aug 2013

Lara Prior-Palmer is all smiles getting in first to horse station 17, 8th Aug 2013

Race Commentary: Race Chief Katy Willings

“A lot of riders, especially the ones who left Horse Station 10 this morning have had a fantastic day of riding in great scenery. It seems it was much more pleasant on a horse than being in one of the crew vehicles which hit some dangerous and very boggy roads.

“The leaders went over the enormous mountain pass between 14 and 15 which would have been a big highlight and milestone for them [pictures to follow] as it’s very high and spectacular.

“Tomorrow the leading pack will probably get to the second penalty station which is the last place on the course to serve any time penalties or be credited for any kind of time discrepancy that may have taken place [after that station any subsequent penalties incurred will be served on the finish line and the rider's finishing time, and potentially their leaderboard position, will be adjusted.] The race is so close now that any penalty served at that point with 5 legs to go could have a huge impact on who our 2013 winner is.

“This evening Lara Prior-Palmer galloped out of station 17 after requesting permission to ride out with only 10 minutes of permissible riding time to go. She put in 6 kilometres in that time and it appears from the tracking logs that she didn’t stop moving until 9pm so she’s potentially clocked up a one hour penalty [2 minutes penalty for every 1 minute ridden after the deadline of 8.30pm]. The reason she is likley to have done that is if she had only ridden for 10-15 minutes and camped out with the horse, it would be very likely that horse would make every effort to go back to its home rather than staying out with the rider overnight. But the question now remains, when she reaches the penalty station at 20 will she be an hour ahead of Devan?

“Another point to bear in mind is that Devan Horn got to a horse station yesterday 20 minutes before the vet arrived so she wasn’t able to present the horse immediately.  It’s never happened before so the race management team will be consulting on this tonight to make a ruling. It’s possible that if the time is credited to her Devan will have 20 minutes in hand so if she doesn’t incur any penalties and Lara’s penalty is confirmed her advantage could be 1 hour and 20 minutes.”

Prometheus Medic James Hubbard is on hand to administer treatment to Todd Cranney at horse station 9, 8th Aug 2013

Prometheus Medic James Hubbard is on hand to administer treatment to Todd Cranney at horse station 9, 8th Aug 2013

Richard Dunwoody’s Race Commentary & Photos

Official race photographer and former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody calls in from the steppe via satellite phone to describe the action on Day 5 (summary below):

A summary of Richard’s commentary:

“It’s been a long day – up at 6 as always on the Mongol Derby! I was down at Horse Station 9 to cover the middle of the pack to leave the station, such as Tamara Hudleston, Lynne Gilbert and Sandra Fretelliere.

Lynne Gilbert and Sandra Fretelliere (right)

Lynne Gilbert and Sandra Fretelliere (right)

“We called in at Horse Station 11 then and Dylan Delahunt was flying along with Mondi Kanyana. After that we were off to Horse Station 13 and came across the medics car and it was well stuck … it was a very boggy road and it took us a long time to extract it!

The media car and media assistant Ganaa give medics car one help on the way to horse station 12, 8th August 2013

The media car and media assistant Ganaa give medics car one help on the way to horse station 12, 8th August 2013

“Then we wanted to catch up with 1st placed Devan but as we found out she is no longer in front. I think she had a horrible day from what she said. She had a horse get away from her, and maybe navigation problems and she’s had a bit of illness which has run through crew and riders so she’s had a really hard day . But there’s still a long long way to go and a lot can happen.

“[Lara Prior-Palmer came] in to the horse station just after 8pm, her horse passed the vet inspection pretty quick and she was out at 8.20pm for 10 minutes riding!”

“Meanwhile Devan has come in and she was only about 10 minutes behind, but after the day she had she decided to [stay] at Horse Station 17. They’ll have to be back on it again at 7am sharp [when the permitted riding hours begin again] and the race could go for two or two and a half days [for the leading pair] just depending on what horses they get over the next few days.

“I think Lara did four and a half [legs between Horse Stations] today – that is really, really good going, tremendous stuff. From my two years covering the race that’s probably the longest anyone has done so hats off to Lara. She’s loving it and has a very big smile on her face. Its’ going to be a fascinating race.”

Richard was asked if the three riders chasing the leading pair who are just one horse station or so behind are still in contention to win the Mongol Derby…

“You’d have to say so,” he replied, “anything can happen, you get a dudd [slow] horse, or one that drops you or you get a penalty for some reason. It can happen to the first two as much as anyone else, you don’t hope it’ll happen because we want the race to continue the way it is.”

Katie Vincent (left) and Lynn Hamilton at a riders and crew briefing at horse station 9, 8th Aug 2013. Tsetsgee (2nd right), Bayarsaikhan and Shinesanaa are all Mongol Derby interpreters.

Katie Vincent (left) and Lynn Hamilton at a riders and crew briefing at horse station 9, 8th Aug 2013. Tsetsgee (2nd right), Bayarsaikhan and Shinesanaa are all Mongol Derby interpreters.