This is a distinction added for the 2015 edition which worked marvellously.
Once the leading 10 riders are through Penalty Urtuu 2, there will be no penalties awarded for the trailing groups. They'll be recorded, just not sat out on the field
Photo by Richard Dunwoody- 2016
After 4 or 5 days, the field is spread over some 200kms, and we have 8-10 urtuus in action in any 24 hour period. As the leaders smell the finish and speed up, the back-markers tend to slow down as they bear the brunt of bad luck and bad judgement.
At the back of the field, awarding technical penalties for outside assistance is counter-productive. It further slows down the people who are already going too slowly to guarantee a finish. It also increases the likelihood we might have to impose a race hold to bring the field closer together again and get back up crews in range of the various groups of riders.
Once the leading riders are have cemented their lead, we suspend the time-penalty system for trailing groups. Any rider who is not riding at a competitive pace and who will not finish in the top ten, are assigned into the Adventure Class. They can now get outside assistance 'for free.'
Negligent or abusive riding will be awarded a simple yellow card (warning) or red card (disqualification) rather than a 2 hour veterinary penalty. Similarly, any kind of idiotic misconduct (misuse of trackers, riding at night) will be penalised with yellow and red cards.
Members of Adventure Class will not get a numbered placing, but after reaching the final urtuu will be counted as "day 8/9/10 finishers." Figuring out who finished 38th and who finished 39th in a fog of horse catching, navigation assistance, dressing changes and Twix distribution is time better spent preparing for the arrival of every rider at the finish line and administering the hangover that will surely follow it.
This only applies to the trailing groups. For the front runners still in the Race Category, the time penalty system remains. At the pointy end of the field, the threat of penalties encourage respectful behaviour towards the horses and a fair contest among the riders as it gets increasingly competitive.
We expect this cut-off to occur around Day 5 of the Mongol Derby. That's a full five days of play to see who's in it to win it. We've seen plenty of magnificent field switch-arounds occur in that time, so even if you have a slow first few days don't be downhearted.