We caught up with the ground crew – Spencer Brown and Ben Kennedy to get their view on the challenge ahead.
SB: We have the overarching responsibility of ensuring safe passage of the teams and their health and wellbeing. These people have been training for over a year in readiness for this event and we as ground crew have to ensure and make judgement calls on whether they are well enough to continue with the race after the checkpoints. The teams are dedicated to the cause, they’ll be tired and they’ll want to keep going no matter what and we will have to manage those emotions for the good of their health.
BK: As Spencer said, ensuring the teams safety is the biggest priority. Another challenge will be controlling the logistics having two teams on the water that could potentially be apart by hours at the checkpoints and the finish.
SB: Timing and driving strategy is also key for the ground crew. We will be covering about 2500-3000km in all and, as we are travelling the the backwaters of Canada, there a very few fuel stations. We will need to conserve as much fuel as possible through the way we drive and pack as light as we can… even carrying additional water could impact on whether we arrive where we need to when we need to!
SB: There is also the human aspect for Ben and I as well – we will be splitting the driving into two hour shifts. It’s all very well arriving at the checkpoint and the finish on time but if we are too tired to be of any use to the teams we will have failed.
BK: I agree, the physical challenge of the event is going to be difficult for us as well as the teams… for very different reasons obviously but myself and Spencer will have to manage that so we can be on hand to assist wherever we can.
BK: I’d also like to add that, for me, taking part in the Yukon River Quest as a member of the ground crew is a privilege and I feel honoured to be going out to support the teams.