2018 Iron Dog - Day 2 Coverage

Team 10 of Chris Olds and Mike Morgan were first to lead one of the largest, if not a record setting, number of teams to make it to McGrath after the first day of Iron Dog racing.  Many prior years of racing saw only half of the pro-class racers make the McGrath checkpoint by the end of day one.  This year, 25 out of 28 teams arrived in McGrath where they will have all the racing times adjusted prior to the checkered flag dropping again, releasing the teams to battle it down the trail. The trail class racers have reported and shown through photos that the pro-class teams should be greeted with surprisingly good trail conditions with great snow coverage and welcoming temperatures as they leave McGrath and head up the Yukon toward the Western coast of Alaska.  The river is in relatively good shape but does have the regular hazards of open-water and large sections of overflow.  If the river is in good shape, this is where you can likely see teams pinging their GPS trackers into triple digit speeds, with sustained speeds of far greater than 75mph. Team 20 Faeo/Gueco flushed the diesel out of their tank that they inadvertently put into one of their Ski-Doo sleds and took 6hrs of layover in Skwentna.  That 6 hour layover is considered their 'flex' layover as racers are required to take three mandatory layovers along the Northbound trail toward Nome.  They hit the trail last night about 7pm and made it to McGrath early this morning.  As of 3:45PM, they battled up to 9th place. Another team to run into trouble early was Team 18 Watson/Zwink who was forced to scratch from the race.  Their facebook page reported: "Our team was ready at the start and number two out the gate, but within 20 minutes Eric had a freak accident and rolled his sled. He sustained a few broken ribs and a few other injuries. He remained conscious but was injured enough to be air lifted to the local hospital. Eric is now back home and starting the slow process of healing. We had to scratch from the race, but we’re all really glad Eric survived the accident. Asking everyone to send good vibes for Eric’s recovery."  Team 23 Sindorf/James reported on the trail and them coming upon the wreck of Team 18 as well: "We made it to McGrath in great shape. Hells gate was pretty terrible this year with lots of open water and hazards. We went slow so we did not trash the sleds. We came up on a nasty wreck out of Big Lake. Eric Watson was being stabilized in a sleeping bag. Andrew Zwink did not look hurt. We feel awful for these guys." [video width="720" height="1280" mp4="https://www.thealaskalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/George_Lamberis_facebook.com_860424714166740.mp4"][/video] Team 7 ran into trouble early yesterday, but were able to get back on the trail after making trail repairs at Skwentna.  Bartel/West were able to continue racing but the latest report had them forced from the race, scratching in Ophir, 425 miles into the race. [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://www.thealaskalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/George_Lamberis_facebook.com_10211603250136220.mp4"][/video]   Not without troubles of their own, Team 49, the 'Sons of Thunder' managed to join the 'Busted A-Arm Club' and reported that they had mate it to McGrath, albeit a bit behind schedule.  On one of their Polaris sleds, they took out both right-side A-Arms in the 'Buffalo Tunnels' portion of the trail which is right before Nicolai.  Luckily they were able to pillage some good parts from Team 45's practice sled and also had a shop/tools to utilize while there as well! Furthering their issues, they posted to Instagram the following: "Carnage, we managed to make decent time to Nicolai, but the repair disintegrated to McGrath. We had to stop to make repairs at least 8 times... Hoping the shock holds up, thinking we saw some oil residue when we got to McGrath" 2018 Iron Dog Team 49 Robbing Parts Team 49 was able to rob parts from a fellow racers practice sled for necessary repairs 2018 Iron Dog Team 49 Mechanical Issues Team 49's machine with trail-expedient repairs to limp the machine to the next checkpoint 2018 Iron Dog Team 49 Mechanical Issues Team 49's machine with trail-expedient repairs to limp the machine to the next checkpoint [video width="624" height="1232" mp4="https://www.thealaskalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/George_Lamberis_facebook.com_10155606462329086.mp4"][/video] The last mechanical issue that a team ran into was more A-Arm damage from Team 19 Daniels/Schachle.  Here's a photo of them on the clock, bundled up, prepping parts for repair and moving as quickly as possible as seconds matter in this race! 2018 Iron Dog Team 19 A Arm Team 19 putting in some wrench time to repair a broken A-Arm We mentioned last night of something brewing along the western coast of Alaska, which proved to turn into a substantial storm, forcing this note from Iron Dog officials: "Due to severe weather on the coast the Race Marshals have issued a mandatory hold in Unalakleet for all racers and trail class riders. The hold will be a minimum of 8 hours. The Marshals will re-evaluate conditions early Tuesday morning." 2018 Iron Dog Weather Advisory 2018 Iron Dog Weather Advisory Field-wide, the 2018 Pro-Class racers are looking very well and aren't riddled with many serious mechanical issues so far, short of what was detailed above.  The well known teams seem to be setting a good pace, are running clean, and with this many teams still in the mix that have traded podium finishes over the years, the second half of this race should prove to be very interesting indeed as the pace will quicken, racers will push each other, and the push toward Fairbanks will be a no-holds-barred endeavor. The video below shows Team 8 'TnT' cruising into Galena.  Video courtesy Peter Aloysius [video width="224" height="400" mp4="https://www.thealaskalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/George_Lamberis_facebook.com_1843441309021537.mp4"][/video]  


Thank you for covering this. Much appreciated (from Michigan)

Julie Hausbeck April 17, 2021

Great job as always helping us keep up to date ! What a year it has been for this race ! Thank you very much !

Mark Edson April 17, 2021

Thanks Mark! I appreciate it!

Kyle April 17, 2021

Thank you for the coverage once again

Ben Kleinenberg April 17, 2021

I’m hearing you may shorten the race – holding teams in Unalakeet instead having them go to the half way point in Nome… Bad choice.. This is the Iron Dog and part of this great race is the toughness of the competitors. Race to Nome and let the chips fall as they may!!!!

Jim Palin April 17, 2021

Thank you for the coverage.

Ben Kleinenberg April 17, 2021

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