Part 1: Info we got right after we posted the first update today
-Team 8 completed 45 minutes of inspection on their Ski-Doo sleds and have left McGrath in 6th place.
-Team 10 continues to dominate the field, running fast and stretching their lead.
-Team 2, Barber has a soft front track shock. They are going to ride it to Nome and change it out there.
-Team 17’s sleds are perfect and the riders took it very easy yesterday. They are poised to really turn up the heat today and run faster than yesterday.
-Team 7 is in the same shape as Team 17 with equipment being in top shape and ready to ride quickly. David and Bartel will be flying the remainder of the day.
-Team 11 (Palin/Huntington) has returned all the way to Wasilla. It appears they had a trailer delivered to Deshka Landing and have towed their sleds back to town.
Update this morning from Harriett Hamilton Fenerty:
Monday Morning McGrath
The leaders of the 2014 Iron Dog are enjoying a breakfast, making a plan and will be back on the clock sometime this morning getting close to 11:14 AM…….yesterday’s race stat sheet proved that even Mother Nature won’t hold back a good old Iron Dogger…..especially the veteran racers.
The race is on and we see the leader board filled with the names of all the usual suspects……..only one scratch overnight, although I sure saw a lot of SCRATCHERS on the machines yesterday at the start line. The Scratchers are used to kick up some snow dust to create a cooling spray of ice and snow so machines didn’t overheat in this low snow year. It is an interesting concept………and my guess is based on the number of racers on the course, they worked!!!!!
It was a little slow going for the mid/back of the pack, but racers are still making their way to McGrath today, they have to do 14 hours of Layover before they leave, some did 6 or 8 in either in Skwentna or Puntilla last night and will also have to wait out the adjusted time. Gonna be a long day of waiting for some while the leaders leave in glorious clear sky and cool temperatures……just right for an Iron Dogger!!!!
The Takotna team of volunteers are staged and ready, we hope they can make a couple runs back to a comms location, however Ophir is about 20 miles away from Home, so that might be difficult……..after a racer leaves Ophir they will be on a 99 miles stretch to Poorman where the wind is strong, the SBS crew is staged and ready to send them on their way to Ruby and then the racers will be on the Mighty Yukon…….head to Galena, LO options are Ruby, Galena or Kaltag…..this is where strategy takes place…….the game of possum…..where are they and why…….another day of good racing ahead all…….have fun, tune to the GPS page, load up the auto refresh and if you are interested in a specific team highlight their individual page and see their pings!!!!
GOOD LUCK racers of the 2014 Iron Dog…….we cheer you ON!!!!!!
Part 2: Most Current Info
The GPS indicated that team 11 likely went back to the Deshka Landing from Skwentna and someone met them there with a truck/trailer. Huntington’s GPS is showing the sleds at the Palin residence now. We will see what race officials say about that team restarting after gaining assistance but it appears to be all but over for them. (UPDATE: According to the official website, team 11 has scratched)
Team 10 was first to hit the Yukon around 4:15pm where speeds really picked up. On the average, I would say that the top 6 teams on the river right now were running 75 miles per hour. Clicking on a racer and seeing 80 or a touch faster wasn’t uncommon either. These racers are doing just that, flat our RACING!
It appears that teams 2, 17, and 41 have all hit Galena, where it was indicated that they may overnight. That doesn’t appear to be the case as of 5:00pm where team 10 is about 8-10 miles out of Galena, heading downriver to the next checkpoint of Kaltag, 98 miles away. Team 2, Barber/Sottosani have blown through Galena as well in the waning daylight with team 6 (George/George) currently in 3rd place hot on their heels!
By all indications, Teams 8 (Johnson/Aklestad) and 41 (Davis/Simons) are stopping in Galena, while a LARGE portion of the remaining racers are either just hitting the Yukon River or are headed there this evening. For many of these teams, pushing all the way to Ruby might be over 100 more miles from their current position. To give you an idea of what team 30 was up against, they ran into equipment problems early, spent what was likely a sleepless night on Puntilla lake, made repairs, and have powered through the bone crushing Farewell Burn, and are pushing through toward the Yukon. They have traveled over 250 miles just today on little to no sleep, making time as fast as they can with a goal of 500 miles…in one day…on a sled. They call this the longest, TOUGHEST snowmobile race on the planet for a reason.
Like indicated in Part 1 of this article, teams 7 and 17 are still holding onto great positioning. Team 17 has pulled into Galena with Team 7 expected to arrive within the hour.
Just past the 600 mile marker into the race, team 10 is still dominating the first position. Chris Olds recently pinged the GPS at 84.8mph, so they are definitely not letting up. Team 10 will be in Kaltag before 6:00pm at these speeds, where I have to imagine they will overnight and get some much needed rest. Still just 3 teams have blown by Galena.
GPS updates will tell a tale of strategy with the front-runners, but at one time we had 10 racers within an estimated 17 miles of each other. At the speeds they were travelling, you would’ve only had to wait 15 minutes to see them go by. This race is FAR from over and it will be interesting to see why teams 8 and 41 are not pushing toward Kaltag (equipment, fatigue, who knows?). We will do our best to keep you updated, but as of now…..SPEED is the key on the Yukon, where they will travel toward the ocean, onward to Nome. Keep it clean on the trail and you will see some incredible split-times between the Yukon river checkpoints.