- Final 5 riders cross the line to complete a barnstormingly successful edition of the Derby
- Official standings now confirmed for all riders – leaderboard below
- Vets provide dramatic finale by riding the final leg and being thrown off their horses right on the finish line
The final group of riders have completed the 5th edition of the Mongol Derby. Barbara Seele, Todd Cranney, Inge Rall-Behm, Shelley Bates and Hannah Bronwin rode across the line together at lunchtime today to finish the world’s longest and toughest horse race.
They stayed at Horse Station 24 last night but weren’t up at their usual time this morning after the herders hosting them threw a party in their honour. A sheep was slaughtered, a feast was had and the airag flowed. They set off on their final leg at 8.30am and crossed the line at 1.20pm.
The riders and crew already at the finish camp welcomed them in. Never before have such a hardy group of adventurists shed quite so many a tear that hadn’t been caused by an excruciating injury. As the racing element of the Derby came to an emotional close even those not known for leaking from the eyes in such a situation were having a bit of a bottom-lip-wobbling moment.
Race Chief Katy Willings said the final group “have had a great ride. They supported each other a lot and even though they were the last to arrive they haven’t completed the race slowly by anyone’s measure.
“They pretty much all lost a day or so feeling ill at various times. They split up and regrouped during the race, but have ridden together for a fair few legs towards the end. Over the last few days they’ve been riding solid 120km days so very very respectable stuff indeed.”
Three of the Mongol Derby equine vets joined in the final leg of the race and provided a dramatic finale right on the finish line.
Two of the vets were catapaulted from their horses in acrobatic fashion when a flag flapping in the wind spooked their horses. It’s not uncommon for horses to get a touch spooked at the finish line with lots going on around them. We’ll leave the names out for now but there was a faceplant and a somersault. The horses and vets were absolutely fine and unhurt bar a bit of dented pride due to the large (laughing) audience that witnessed the involuntary gymnastics.
The riders jumped on the chance to turn the tables on the equine vets who have been overseeing them at each station by ‘vetting the vets’. They inspected their horses in detail and issued several harsh possibly entirely made-up penalties, likely to be served out at the finish line bar.
All the riders and crew will gather tomorrow for the official finish line ceremony and party then travel back to Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar on Thursday. We’ll have coverage of the celebrations online tomorrow.
FINAL LEADERBOARD POSITIONS
1. Lara Prior-Palmer
2. Devan Horn
3. = Clare Twemlow & Kirsten Melis
5. Chloe Phillips-Harris
6. Mondi Kanyana
7. = Sandra Fretelliere & Lynne Gilbert
9. = Natacha Lazareff, Dylan Delahunt & Alex Embiricos
12. Ivo Marloh
13. Anthony Ward-Thomas
14. = Barbara Seele, Inge Rall-Behm & Hannah Bronwin
17. = Todd Cranney & Shelley Bates
Retired from the race