2018 Iron Dog - Day 6 Update

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A day of wrenching came and passed in Nome as riders turned into mechanics and raced the clock to perform repairs to their sleds.  Teams are allowed up to two additional sets of hands for this event and often in this tight-knit racing community, we see fellow racers lending a hand to one another, friends and rivals all at the same time.  You can get a feel for how fast these guys work on their equipment by watching the video below.  Note that they are working on both sleds simultaneously and have an additional helper.
  Surprisingly there didn't appear to be much in the way of notable repairs, short of Team 2 having to do some fairly significant motor work.  It was a bit hard to tell from the live feed on Facebook, but by the best guess it seems that they replaced at least one piston and rebuilt the machine in roughly one hour and eight minutes.  Sottosanti of Team 2 reported that "Most of the teams fuel filters are clogged. Looks like most everyone is changing them."  When pressed if he felt there was a confirmed fuel issue, he stated "Yeah just not sure which check point."  Feedback from readers of the Day 4 Update reported that the verbiage was suggestive of bad fuel at Koyuk and that it was written in a way that it shed bad light on that particular checkpoint.  This was not the case, and Sottosanti's comment confirms that at least he, as a racer, felt there was bad fuel somewhere...we just don't know where. Team 8 was having performance issues on at lest one of their Ski-Doo machines on the Northbound run up the coast and during the repair period, it appeared that they replaced both the fuel injectors, fuel filters, and some sort of fuel bellows/regulator and the exhaust can (which appeared to have holes in it).  Total repair time for Team 8 was under 15 minutes, which is a testament to not only how well these racers can ride these machines at break-neck speeds for hours on end, but also to how in-tune they are with their equipment and how talented they are sitting on the machine and also behind the wrenches. Though the race is halfway over and the majority of the prize purse is still up for grabs, Team 10 Morgan/Olds were "Gold Rush" winners of the 10k in Gold Coins for being the fastest team into Nome! 2018 Iron Dog Team 10 Gold $10,000 in Gold Coins for the Fastest Team to Nome!   2018 Iron Dog Morgan Olds Nome The Race Leaders Ready to Depart Nome
Teams left Nome in balmy 13 degree temperatures starting at 4am, with the first 10 teams being released based on their actual time difference between the team in front of them. After the 10th team is released, the rest of the racers will be let out of Nome on roughly 10 minute intervals.  Due to the previous storm delay, Iron Dog race officials have revised the mandatory layovers for the Southbound leg of the race, but are still planning for a early afternoon finish in Fairbanks on Saturday. The big news today on the trail is actually the trail itself.  As of yesterday there was no trail from the Huntington Bible Camp (famous for the 'bumpergate' pictures of Team 8 getting assistance from locals last year which, ultimately caused disqualification of both Tyson Johnson and Tyler Aklestad) to Tanana and beyond.  According to locals there is more than two feet of base and it snowed another 10" last night.  This is not a good time to be the race leaders as breaking trail is significantly slower and requires much more fuel consumption than following in your fellow riders 'footsteps'. Currently the top 4 teams are on layover in either Ruby or Galena.  Chris Graeber, former Iron Dog race marshall, did some quick number crunching and reported some unofficial trail times from the top racing teams between Nome and Unalakleet:

Team 10 4:29 Team 6 4:14 Team 16 4:34 Team 14 5:00 Team 20 4:35 Team 8 4:31

The top teams appear to be all moving very well and because we've got a few different teams holed up in various checkpoints for various timed layovers, it's a little hard to tell who is exactly where in the race since leaderboard positioning might not be truly accurate, all things considered. 2018 Iron Dog Team 18 Unalakleet Team 18 Giving the Thumbs up Southbound from Unalakleet Team 14's Casey Boylan can be seen in the video running out of fuel on his Ski-Doo literally feet from the White Mountain checkpoint.  Due to the distance between some of the checkpoints, you will notice auxiliary fuel tanks on these sleds as racers need the additional capacity for the long and desolate stretches of trail.  On the very first day of racing, Boylan reportedly broke one of his saddle tanks from its mount, requiring him to ratchet strap the tank to the tunnel of the machine.  It is suggested that due to the jostling and bouncing of the tank after this trail expedient repair, it eventually pinched the fuel line running from this reserve tank, causing him to run out of gas.
Team 22 is very much still in this race battling against an all-male cast of counterparts.  Chris Maynard shared this amazing aerial footage of Ashely Wood and Rachel Kidwell racing toward Unalakleet on the Northbound section of trail.
[video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://www.thealaskalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-Iron-Dog-Team-22-Unalakleet.mp4"][/video]
It seems that this day of racing has been, overall, pretty clean with very little 'trail carnage' to speak of.  The only thing that we are seeing is a mishap involving Team 20 Faeo/Gueco which resulted in one of their Ski-Doo sleds having a broken windshield and the racer also losing his on-board GPS.
2018 Iron Dog Team 20 Broken Windshield Photo courtesy Sarah Voiles Hawkins
Stay tuned for tomorrows update which will include the race finale and details surrounding who won, what happened, and more!

1 comment

Thank you!!

Jackie Sottosanto April 17, 2021

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