Hawkchurch sled dog racer is British runner up

Navy man Matthew Evans and his huskies leave competitors in their wake

A HAWKCHURCH man is rapidly becoming a hot favourite for UK honours in a sport more normally associated with the icy wastes of the Arctic Circle.

Matthew Evans, 29, has finished runner up in the British sled dog racing championship with his two Siberian huskies, Tonrar and Laika.

The sport is fast gaining popularity in the UK, despite the lack of snow - with entrants using a three wheeled rig instead of a sled, a variation known as dryland mushing.

The sled dog “mushing” season runs from October to March in the UK, taking advantage of the colder months as the dogs should not race in temperatures exceeding 15 degrees. Matthew competes all over the country with his huskies, in the two dog class and was delighted to take second place for the 2011/2012 season.

He took up the sport three years ago and trains three to four times a week with his pack of four Siberian Huskies.

He has a special forestry commission permit to train in the woods at Hawkchurch, along with other areas of Britain.

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During the summer he and his partner, Louise Nidd, turn their attention to showing their huskies at dog shows around the UK and are hoping to qualify for Crufts again for 2013.

Matthew serves in the Royal Navy and, since joining at the age of 16, has completed several tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is based at the Fleet Air Arm, Yeovilton.

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