After pocketing a cool $10,000 for being the fastest team to Nome, Mike Morgan and Chris Olds were up early as they began final preparations to tick off nearly another 1,000 miles on their Polaris Indy XC sleds, making their way toward Fairbanks.
Teams 14 and 6, both riding Ski-Doo sleds both pocketed some cash as well for second and third fasted team to make it to Nome. They walked way with $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. Setting an intense pace toward the halfway point, despite being involved in a serious collision early in the race, Tyson Johnson and Tyler Aklestad of Team 8 set the fastest course time between White Mountain and Nome, rewarding them with a $4,000 cash prize. The race rookies were also rewarded in their own category for fastest times to Nome as well. Team 42, Cruise/Miller, took home product certificates from both Woody's Studs and Klim USA. Despite serious equipment issues, Team 44 also was rewarded with their own product certificate from Woody's Studs.
Winning prizes at the halfway point aside, teams geared up and pointed their skis southbound as Team 10 left the starting chute first at 8am. One by one the teams left Nome, knowing mere minutes separated the first several teams. Early on it was reported that Scott Faeo, a longtime Iron Dog veteran, was catapulted from his machine in the process of bending an upper A-Arm on his Ski-Doo. We believe this happened about a mile outside of Koyuk, forcing the racers to turn around and go back to town for repairs.
Team 6 had actually passed Team 10 and was first to arrive in Koyuk. Initially it was reported as the motor had seized from spectators on-site. After looking into it further, the clutch on one of their machines was locked in the engaged position. Team 10 got fuel shortly after this, passed Team 6 while they were making repairs and on the way out said 'Those sleds are FAST!'
We are hearing that Team 14 did have a an oil leak that they knew about in Nome that could have potentially gotten worse, causing runability issues as well.
One of the biggest developments for the second half of the race is the addition of what was likely the fastest running team (they made the 75 mile stretch from White Mountain to Nome in a scant 52 minutes) to the list of scratched teams. Team 8 did not make it down the coast very far before running into what is being reported as a motor failure on one of their machines. The team towed the machine back up toward Nome, possibly with the intention of making repairs, but ultimately decided to call it quits. With the addition of Team 8, the list of scratched teams climbs to 9 total.
What about team 10? They appear to be running smoothly with a fair bit of chaos happening behind them. If you give these veterans an inch, they will turn it into a mile. Catching professional riders of this caliber who aren't having equipment issues might turn into a tall task for those nipping at their heels.
As of now they have declared a layover in Kaltag, checking in at 2:28pm with team 14 following suit just 14 minutes later. Rounding out the third team to declare layover in Kaltag was, despite the clutch issue earlier in the day, Team 6 just 20 minutes behind Team 14. The field is still tight, but showing a stretching between the front-runners, largely due to the equipment issues that have cropped up early in the second half of this race. Seconds turn into minutes, which turn into miles separating the teams when even ticky-tack issues have to be addressed on the trail.