The Mongol Derby 2016 Rolling News - Part 1

The 2016 Mongol Derby has begun. This post will have all the pictures and all the leaderboards fresh from the Steppe. 

Welcome Derby fan. The Rolling News Part 1 is over. To see the news from day's 1-5, scroll down this page. To get the freshest news from Days 6 onwards click the red button:

Day 5 Derby Digest

At the close of Day 5, the front thirteen riders have solidified their lead. Clustered between U17 and U18, the Derby title could be claimed by any of them.  

In Urtuu 18 tonight are the front pack: Venetia Philips, William Comiskey, Tatiana Mountbatten, Courtney Kizer, Heidi Telstad and Marcia Hefker-Miles. Of those, Courtney Kizer is currently carrying a 2 hour vet penalty. If the other five don't pick up any further penalties, she alone will be held at Urtuu 21.

Shortly behind them, camping on the steppe is Australian rider Shannon Nott. He began the day with Courtney Kizer and Marcia Hefker-Miles but was delayed when he lost his horse. He requested Derby assistance to retrieve it and rode on with the hour's penalty. He finished the day with an astounding 9 minute turnaround at Urtuu 19 before riding on. Clearly he's determined to catch up....

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Day 5 Leaderboard

The all important daily leaderboard. Here are the official standings. 

Day 5 Photos 

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Day 4 Leaderboard 

The leading pack is 13 strong, and the frontrunners keep shifting. Click on the link below to see the official Leaderboard from Day 4 with penalties. 

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The Day 4 Digest

Day 4 is wrapped up, and in true Derby form, the leaderboard has changed. 

Today's front runners are Shannon Nott, Courtney Kizer and Marcia Hefker Miles. The three are camping out in the steppe in the hope of holding onto their lead. They only made 10kms out of Urtuu 14 before the race closed, so have taken big gamble: 

"They've passed up some world class Khuushuur at U14 and a dry bed surrounded by racing medals to hang onto a 30 minute lead and sleep in a ditch. Plus U14-15 is the most beautiful ride. Perhaps the most stunning on the course except that it's hammering it down with rain, so they won't see much of it." - Race Chief Katy.

Closely following them, four riders will be enjoying that U14 Khuushuur this evening: Heidi Telstad and William Comiskey, as well as Venetia Philips and Tatiana Mountbatten. Behind them, six riders are camping out after U13 meaning that there are only 40kms separating the leading pack....

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Day 4 Photos

The latest photos from the Steppe from Derby photographer Richard Dunwoody. Day 4 has seen pouring rain for much of the day. Faces are getting gaunter as they are worn down by the distance and exposure the conditions. 

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Day 3 - Mongol Derby Digest

The fortunes of the leading pack have changed swiftly and the next 48 hours could decide the Race Class riders. The front six are overnighting in Urtuu 11. As the first of the two penalty Urtuus, all except rider Venetia Philips will be held there in the morning. Venetia will have to choose whether to sit out the penalty with friend Tatiana Mountbatten or ride on without her. 

All the riders in the field will sit out their penalties accrued so far at Urtuu 11, meaning the first rider out the gate from there is the overall race leader. 

Camping on the steppe tonight beyond Urtuu 10, Shannon Nott and William Comiskey are both riding penalty free and either might be able to overtake the leading pack through Urtuu 11.

Both chaps had trouble with their horses today. Shortly after leaving Urtuu 9, William's horse went lame, and he turned back, splitting with previous riding companion Heidi Telstad....

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More Day 3 Photos

Another batch of photos fresh from the steppe, from Mongol Derby photographer Laurence Squire. See them on facebook here.

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Day 3 Leaderboard 

Day 3 is over. Day 4 is set to be a decider at the front end of the field. As the riders sit out their accrued penalties, the first rider out of Urtuu 11 in the morning will be the overall race leader. 

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Day 3 Photos

Day 3 photos from Derby photographer Richard Dunwoody. 

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The Mongol Derby Digest 

Day 2 of the Mongol Derby 2016 is done and the leaderboard looks totally different.

The race saw its second retirement from UK rider and former professional jockey Kevin Darley, defeated on this occasion by bad knees. 

At the front of the field, Venetia Philipps and Tatiana Mountbatten (Team Riding for Rangers) are camping out with fellow Brit Alexandra Hardham and Aussie Shannon Nott. With Alexandra and Tatiana carrying 2-hour penalties each, the 4 ladies will be faced with a choice at Urtuu 11; to wait together and risk losing their lead or separate and hope they can regroup later. Yesterday's front-runners William Comiskey and Heidi Telstad are still riding together but have slipped down the ranks, proving how quickly fortunes can change on the Steppe. 

Across the rest of the field multiple riders are getting thrown off their horses. US rider Marie Griffis is choosing a series of outstanding horses from the line ups, and it's been paying off as she's made good progress up the ranks. Choosing live-wires has drawbacks and on the third roll of the day she sustained an injury. She finished the day at Urtuu 6 with a bit of a hobble, helped along by her current riding companions Rosie Bathurst and Alice Newling. With luck, the three of them might have a dryer nights sleep than last night. Attempting to camp in a goats pen, they were caught in a downpour before they were rescued by local herder family and treated to multiple samples of the local vodka to warm up. Tonight, they'll be sleeping with seventeen other riders at Urtuu 6. Space may be more of a issue than the weather this evening.

Sebastian Bridger also met the ground more often than planned today. He was bucked off three times between Urtuu 4 and 5 before accepting a carry forward from the race team which comes with a 3 hour race penalty. Of the five Household Cavalry team, only James Harbord and Urbain Tego Tagne are currently riding without penalties. They too will have to decide at Urtuu 11 whether to sit out the penalties as a team or to split into two factions forming a breakaway penalty-free group. 

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Read about the Derby Penalties

The Derby runs on a system of penalties designed to protect both horses and riders. Even if the penalties haven't been served, they can have a dramatic effect on the leaderboard. Find out the system here: 

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Day 2 Leaderboard

At the front of the field is Alexandra Hardham, Shannon Nott, Venetia Philipps and Tatiana Mountbatten. Two of the four are riding with penalties, so all could change tomorrow. See the full leaderboard: 

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Day 2 Photos

The Daily photos from one of our Mongol Derby photographers, Richard Dunwoody, from the Steppe.
Click on the arrows to look through the set or see it on facebook here

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Sign up for Daily Updates

We write a daily summary for Derby fans. Sign up: 

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Day 2 - The Medics Report

The size and emptiness of this part of Mongolia cannot be overstated.... We are crossing rivers, driving through swamps and across endless miles of untouched pastures. We, of course are doing it in a Toyota Land Cruiser with our biggest concern being whether we can reach the food in the back without stopping. The riders are doing it on hardy but temperamental horses, with only 5kg of gear and a GPS to navigate by. Hard core!
— The nameless 'Medic 2' - Prometheus Medical

The Mongol Derby medics write a daily report. The full blog is here.

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Follow @MongolDerbyLive on twitter

Race Chief Katy covers the race live on twitter during racing hours, 7am-8.30pm UTC:

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Day 1 Leaderboard

Day 1 is over and this is the shape of the field at dusk. With a record number of riders choosing to camp, it's begun to rain on the steppe and these horses are flight-risks. It could all change by dawn. 

The Medics Report

Day 1 is complete without serious medical mishap. Medical support is provided on the Derby by the excellent team at Prometheus Medical LTD, but on this occasion they are twiddling their thumbs:

[The riders] have shown an excellent ability to stay on their steed and keep the team bored, which is a good thing, right?
— The nameless Medic 1 - Prometheus Medical

Read their blog here

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More Day 1 Photos

And still more incredible photos of Day 1, this time from Veteran Derby Photographer Richard Dunwoody. Click the arrows to see the album. You can also see the full album on Facebook here

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Read our Predictions: The Riders to Watch 

The training days are over. Our riders have spent the past year and often longer honing their fitness and riding skills. Even the most refined routine can be upset by the horses, conditions or the weather. Some riders take to the Steppe more naturally than others, and the end of training is a perfect time to speculate on the shape of the race to come:

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Day 1 Photos

Photos fresh from the Steppe.  This lot are from before the startline from Derby photographer Laurence Squire. Click the arrows on the right to see the album or you can see the album on Facebook here

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Read about the Derby Course

Get the full breakdown of the course our 41 riders will be facing. This year, it's 1008kms and the terrain has never been more varied. Click on the link below to read about it and explore the map:

The Mongol Derby Course is open 4th-14th August 2016
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