Teams passing each other on the trail are an integral part of sleddog racing. Passing rules have been put in place in the interests of safety and fairness. The official rules are available here.
There are two teams involved in passing – the passer and the person being passed.
The passer has started his race at least 30 seconds after the person being passed, is travelling at a faster speed and therefore has right of way.
The passer must shout TRAIL loudly so that the person being passed can hear – remember he is facing away from the passer. The passer must shout TRAIL well before he is close to the person being passed, to give the person being passed sufficient time to get off his scooter and hold his dogs off the trail if he wishes to do so.
The person being passed must give way to the passer, by moving his dogs and scooter to one side of the trail so as not to block the passing team. The person being passed should also slow down if needed to allow the passer to get by quickly.
If the person being passed cannot verbally keep his dogs on the side of the trail he should do so physically by moving his scooter into the bushes to pull his dogs over, moving his scooter between his dogs and the other team or getting off the scooter to hold his dogs.
The person being passed should allow the passer to get away cleanly. The person being passed may need to slow down a little to do this, if the passer’s dogs momentarily lose momentum or confidence after the pass.
The person being passed may not overtake the passer until at least 30 seconds or 200 meters after being overtaken [60 seconds or 400 meters for 3 & 4 dog teams] , to allow the passer sufficient time to get by cleanly. Exception : if the passer has had to stop to untangle, repair equipment or has gone the wrong way the person who was passed may overtake the passer before the allowed time.
The last 500 meters of the race are known as No Man’s Land [this is usually marked by a witches hat on the side of the trial] In No Man’s Land the person being passed does not have to give way but he must not block his competitors and in the interests of fairness and safety should use common sense and courtesy.