Racing Team

European champion 2016 - Fastest 6-dogs sprint team in Europe

Musher Riitta Kempe
Trainer and breeder of the dogs

Musher Kimmo Kytölä
Assisting trainer and handler

Musher Siiri Kytölä 11 years,
rookie of the team

Ari Laitinen
Coach
Master mind behind the dog breeding

Riitta Kempe

 

Team Finland: musher in the national team of Finnish Sleddog Sport Federation

Club: Sisä-Suomen Valjakkourheilijat (SiSuVa)

Co-operation partners:
Happy Dog (Koiraurheilu.fi), Nutrolin (Olini Oy), FitDog Finland Oy, ProBalans (Vitabalans Oy), Best-in and Non-Stop Dogwear

Kennel and the dogs: We have 22 cross breed dogs. They are the Alaskanhusky lines of Ari Laitinen, Vesa-Pekka Lehtomäki and Egil Ellis. German short hair ski-dogs used for breeding are the lines of Kimmo Hytönen, Akiina’s kennel. You can find the pedigrees of my dogs in stamtavla. The dogs are designed for limited sprint classes. Winter races are my main focus, but sometimes I race also four dogs cart races.

Coach: Ari Laitinen

World Championships of sled dog sports
Yleisen sarjan MM-mitalin saavuttaminen on valjakkoajajan unelma ja tiimin pitkäjänteisen uran huippusaavutus.Valjakkoajon MM-kisat järjestetään kahden vuoden välein vuorotellen Euroopan ja Pohjois-Amerikan mantereilla. Käytännössä tämä merkitsee sitä, että valjakkoajon MM-mitalia on mahdollisuus tavoitella 4 vuoden välein. Kaikkina kolmena kilpailupäivänä on onnistuttava tai uusi mahdollisuus lipuu neljän vuoden päähän.

Success in the international races
European Championships 2018, 5th in Sp6 (Millegrobbe, Alps in Italy)
European Championships 2016, gold medal in Sp6 (Savalen, Norway)
World Championships 2015, silver medal in Sp6 (Todtmoos, Germany)
World Championships 2011, broze medal in Sp6 (Hamar, Norway)
European Championships, two times 5th (2012, France and 2014 Finland) and 7th place (2003, Finland)
Scandinavian Open Championships, gold medal (2015, Kiruna, Sweden), SOC silver (2002 Finland)
Finnish Championships, 22 medals – 6 gold, 6 silver, 10 broze

My first sled dog race in Finnish Chapionships 4-dogs sprint class was in winter 1998 in Jämijärvi. My first whole racing season was the year 1999. So I have been racing 20 years with sled dogs.

2001 LMD FC2
2002 Sp8 FC3, LMD FC2/SOC2 (Team Pilkku & co)
2003 Sp8 FC2, LMD EC 7.
2004 Sp6 FC3
2008 Sp6 FC3
2009 DR4 FC2, Sp6 SOC 4.
2010 Sp6 FC1, Sp8 FC3, DR4 FC3, Sp6 SOC 6. (Team Raitanen & Roni)
2011 Sp6 WC3, Sp6 FC1, Sp8 FC3
2012 Sp8 FC 3., Sp6 EC 5.
2013 Sp6 FC 3., Sp6 SOC 4.
2014 Sp6 FC 3., Sp6 EC 5., DR4 FC 2.
2015 Sp6 WC 2., Sp6 SOC 1., Sp6 FC 1., DR4 FC 1. (S-team alias ”Ässät”)
2016 Sp6 EC 1., Sp8 FC 3., DR4 FC 2. (S- and L-teams)
2017 DR4 FC 1. (S- and L-dogs) (not racing in winter season 2017)

2018 Sp6 Finnish Champion (S- and L-dogs), Sp6 EC 5.

 

Start of my mushing career

My first job after university studies (animal breeding, genetics and nutrition) was to develop dry foods for working dogs. Research animals were sled dogs of Juhani Heikkinen, who was the first Finnish World Championship medalist. So, everyone knows what will happen, if you give racing sled dogs to athlete – she will get hooked. Research projects started to prolong and finally Jussi didn’t get his dogs back before summer.

When I began to race with sled dogs, I was quite soon asked to join the board of Finnish Sled dog sport federation. I had a privilege to be the president of Finnish sleddog sport federation for eight years (03-12) and to participate the breakthrough of ”Team Finland” in the 2011 World Championships, Hamar, Norway. Here I am, 20 years later, racing in the international level with my wonderful sprint dogs.

Reseach dogs on the treadmill in Ypäjä.