2022 Iron Dog - Day 6 Update

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.

Found these stats to be interesting tonight (stats from Harriet Fenerty):
1 Arctic Cat
12 Ski-doo - 8 still on course
14 Polaris - 8 still on course
7 Champions - 7 still on the course
9 Rookie Teams - 2 still on course
2 Father & Son teams - 1 still on course
3 Brothers In-Law - 2 still on course
2 Brothers - 2 still on course

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!

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As far as the leaderboard is concerned, its the same-old song we've been singing since day 2, which is 'Team 7 is in the lead' and they seem to be solidifying their place at the front of the pack.  Calculating a bit of layover time in their positioning, it appears they have about a two-hour lead in front of Mike Morgan and Chris Olds of Team 10.  While two hours may seem like a good bit of distance between you and those in pursuit, anything can happen in this race and put you back literally hours.  Team 49, Klint VanWingerden and Andrew Gumley watched this unfold for themselves earlier today where they ran into what is being reported as a 'dead dash pod' on one of their machines.  From the team's Instagram page, it says: 

'Klint was able to send an emergency message late last night after checking out of Koyuk. Sounds like the dash pod in his machine completely died. The guys were out on the ice for 2+ hours in the freezing rain trying to troubleshoot before towing back into Koyuk. They found some foam mats in the shop where they were storing their snowmachines and laid down. A local took pity on them and invited them into his home to sleep for a few hours this morning. Praise the Lord for modern day Good Samaritans!'  This has cost them several positions on the leaderboard but they are back at it and appear to be making progress.

Just as quickly as parts failure or mechanical issues can crop up, one wayward bump on the trail could certainly spell disaster for teams and this was evident from a video captured by George Carlson Yaska Jr as a racer from Team 34 was passing by Nulato and thrown from his machine.

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!

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