Every year I try to convey what is actually happening and what these racers are accomplishing during this race. This event is dubbed the 'World’s Longest, Toughest Snowmobile Race' and for good reason. Yesterday there were a few racers that traveled over SEVEN HUNDRED miles on their snowmachines in a single day. I'd like you to re-read that last sentence. Over 700 miles was covered by Team 7 Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad yesterday before they declared layover in Unalakleet.
Most people would consider a 700 mile day in a car to be a long day. This is with all the conveniences of climate control, probably heated seats, cruise control, and whatever other creature comforts you might bring along. For comparison, this is like riding from Detroit to Boston, as seen below on the map. Those that think they can do this race, probably cannot. Those that do, are probably tougher than you.
One of our favorite teams to watch, Team 30, unfortunately had to make the tough call to throw in the towel. Sometimes what you're up against regarding parts and repair is just too much to overcome. From their Facebook team page: 'Well we had to scratch. Too many broken pieces. Kody’s track is about to shred, we need a new clutch and some new suspension bolts, all of those are fixable. But Kody’s over-structure is broke and that is not fixable so we are calling it in Unalakleet and getting our flights figured out now!'
The only Arctic Cat racing pair, Team 4, was also forced from the race today as well, which is unfortunate. No word on why, but they have reflected this on their team page as well.
On a post from Jeff Erickson out of Unalakleet, he posted that one of the local kids checking out the sleds noticed a spring retainer missing on one of Team 5's sleds. The team was able to do some quick wrenching and fix the issue. Good looking out from the locals!
16 Pro-Class teams are still on the trail as of 8PM Thursday night with an expected finish back in Big-Lake around 12:00PM on Saturday. There is still plenty of miles and rough terrain to shake up the pack, so stay tuned for more race updates after another racing day tomorrow!