In 1995 two Siberian Husky enthusiasts ventured down to Victoria to participate in what is now Australia’s biggest sled dog race, the Undera Sled Dog Dash (now the Northern Victoria Sled Dog Club Classic). They returned with the idea to introduce sled dog racing to Queensland and with some encouragement, Northern Exposure Gig Racing Club Inc. was formed.
Sled dog racing can be a recreational activity or a competitive sport for the whole family. With musher classes starting as early as 2yrs (mini peewee with an adult), through the years with peewee (8-10yrs) and Junior (10-16yrs), up to Open (16yrs and up) classes.
NEGRC has seen many changes through the years, and has a promising future ahead. 2013 marked the return of the Northern Exposure Classic, now known as the NEGRC Northern Challenge; a race that previously highlighted the sport in Queensland drawing attendance from many interstate competitors. This race is held annually and gives both inexperienced, experienced and veteran mushers the opportunity to run a designated trail while competing against the clock.
Above all NEGRC’s aim is for its members to have fun and be safe with their dogs at all times!
WHAT WE DO
In our short temperate winters, dryland sled dog racing is the one of the best activities for all sized dogs and breeds like terriers, hounds, pointers, border collies, kelpies, shepherds and nordic dogs (siberian huskies, alaskan malamutes, akitas, samoyeds) who like to run.
Teams navigate the tracks following coloured shaped markers;
red (circle) on the right - turn right
red (circle) on the left - turn left
blue (square) to confirm a correct turn
yellow (triangle) for hazards
Mushers call commands to their dogs at the markers and on track circumstances
"gee" turn right
"haw" turn left
"easy" to slow
"trail" to other mushers before passing
"on by" to make a safe pass
Mushers race their dogs on the marked trail on a two wheeled scooter or three wheeled rig tethered by a harness and gangline.
Mushers can also compete in bikejoring where a standard bike is used instead of a scooter, or canicross where you can run with your dog tethered to the musher by a walking or running belt.
Teams depart from a start chute at timed intervals, typically 30 seconds apart and are individually timed for the distance using a time trial format or heats. These times are then compared to determine the winner of the race after all heats.
Each team is obliged to conduct itself, mushers and dogs, in a polite manner observing the race rules that guide each competitor's conduct. Mushers are dog people who drive, train and care for the dogs as well as anyone.
*Gig - Refers to a three or four wheeled) rig drawn by two or more dogs. It can also refer to a scooter drawn by one or two dogs. Rigs and scooters are strong but lightly built with 20" to 26" wheels, good brakes and rigging for ganglines and night lights.