2023 Iron Dog - Day 6 Update

Iron Dog officials, fans, and racers alike were met with a brief break in the winter storm hammering on the cost of Alaska to allow the race to safely resume as of 6am this morning.  All of the teams completed their necessary wrenching and repairs as they begin their trek south back toward Big Lake to finish this 2,503 mile journey.

As the above course map shows, getting off the coast will be the main goal for teams today.  That meant a minimum 263 mile run to get from Nome to Unalakleet.  As of early afternoon the top set of teams have pushed even further inland toward Kaltag where they will be declaring layover.  Team 7 was first to arrive to declare a 7 hour layover at the checkpoint.  Following the leaders were Teams 14, 39, 23, and 49 all declaring 6 hour layovers there as well.  Pictured below is Team 14 into Kaltag from Trinity Viveiros

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Team 2 was almost immediately plagued with a rare parts failure forcing them to tow into White Mountain and declare a layover.  From their team Facebook page: "On layover in White Mountain. We’re trying to get parts. The weather isn’t cooperating tho. We broke our primary clutch in half. We’ve never seen a clutch break like this. Definitely a fluke deal. Hopefully we can get it fixed and back on the trail home."

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Team 31 wasn't without issues either as its being reported that Kelly Sommer has blown a center shock forcing them into a 1 hour layover in Koyuk.  In typical pro-class fashion this was an easy fix for this team and they were back on the trail at roughly 2:30pm.

The big story for the day was the situation involving Team 7 and Iron Dog ambassador Team 77.  Video posted online shows Team 7 returning to the White Mountain checkpoint with Team 77 members on their sleds.  While  the audio portion of the video is badly muffled with both wind and machine idling noise, Race Marshall Tyson Johnson confirms that Team 77 sank into deep overflow.  The ambassador team is doing the entire round-trip unlike the expedition class which ends in Nome.  Chris Olds of Team 10 who had previously scratched was riding with Team 77 as well. 

The rendering of aid by Team 7 added a considerable amount of delay to their race-day as they had to back-track, refuel, and make logistical plans with the other team.  There are many instances in the past where race officials credit this time back toward racers, making things fair and equitable in light of what could have been a much more dangerous situation without Aklestad and Olstad lending a hand.  Its highly likely that they will be credited this time back to their overall course time.

Trinity Viveiros also snapped a photo of Team 7 with remnants of the rescue mission they found themselves on with their machines and partially themselves covered in ice from overflow

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'Split-Boss' Stan Brown always does a great job compiling split-times between the checkpoints for the pro-class teams.  You can see below that the travel along the coast was fast and very tight even considering the distances of over 200 miles.  In light of a few teams fighting mechanical issues, the front-runners aren't spreading out as much as one might think in light of long distance running.


Cover photo credit: Bradley Thiemeyer 



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