2016 was Wild Dog’s 21st year. This equaled the longest running dryland race in Australia’s history. Wild Dog is held in South Australia & was South Australia’s first open breed race. Wild Dog was also Australia’s first IFSS sanctioned race back in 2010 and we have followed on every year since.
The 2016 Wild Dog was held on the weekend of the 9th & 10th of July and this year we hosted the Australian Premier of Dog Power movie and we were super proud to have Kale Casey attend the event too. We have a heated marquee set up in the forest and we had nearly 80 competitors attend the movie on the Saturday night. We had 80 hot pizza’s delivered and we all enjoyed pizza & dessert before we all settled in for the main event.

Saturdays racing was fast! We usually get the fastest teams in Australia come out for Wild Dog and this year was no exception. The National titles were held the weekend before interstate and we had all bar the 1 Dog National champion come to Wild Dog. 2 Dog, 3 Dog, 4 Dog, 6 Dog, & the 8 Dog champions for 2016 were all at Wild Dog and were ready to race. We had nice cold temps for the Saturday morning and the tracks were looking great. With 4 separate people in the 4, 6, & 8 Dog classes cracking the 30kph average barrier for the 5.4km track it was a shoot-out at the top of the time sheets. The top 5 of Saturday’s heats were all within 53 seconds. This meant “No Brakes Sunday” was going to be cracker of a day.

Nationally Wild Dog is commonly known as “Wet Dog” because I, along with a lot of the founders of the race, are yet to see 2 dry days of racing at Wild Dog, I mean Wet Dog! This year was no exception. The rain came down just after the Dog Power movie on the Saturday night and hung around till race time Sunday morning (7:20am) The puddles had grown substantially and a good section of the track had a good covering of water. This didn’t slow the teams down, a few teams went faster!! All the classes were fiercely contested & it made all of us on the committee think that this could’ve potentially been the “Fastest ever Wild Dog Derby” with only the 1 dog class having the slowest average speed still with a cracking 27.63kph on a heavy wet track. With the winners of the bigger classes all sitting in the 30+kph average it just makes us all look forward to 2017.

2017 will make Wild Dog the longest serving Dryland race in Australia’s history and we are putting a call out to you, the mushers of the world, if you have ever been interested in seeing Australia or even Australian mushing then start planning for next year. We at Wild Dog are offering you a chance to race here and be a part of Australian mushing history. You can’t bring dogs due to quarantine and the high costs but if you are interested then we may sort something out. Race or not, this is one race not to miss on the Australian calendar. Put it in your diaries, July the 8th & 9th 2017 will be Wild Dog Derby’s 22nd Birthday and you are invited!! P.S. we will have cake 😉

Clint Graham
Wild Dog President

Photos by JM Photography