2024 Iron Dog - Day 4 Update

Cody Barber of Team 39 was screaming across Safety Sound at over 70mph as he and his race partner, Brett Lapham, secured their first position into Nome at mile 1,469.  Below you can see what the racers were up against in this quick video from the Selawik checkpoint.

Quotes from racers included things like 'Can’t see 5 feet from the sled. Terrible ground storm' from Collin Clayton of Team 24 along with 'Survival. Worst ground storm I have ever been in. Phase 4.5, can’t see 20 feet in front of me. Lost sight of my partner but I could hear him on the radio. “Dad there are muskox out there'.

Roughly 20 minutes behind the leaders, Team 14 and Team 9 are battling it out along the coast, fighting yet another day of very poor racing conditions. 

Team 14 was first to depart Kotzebue this morning after quickly changing a rear torsion spring before they left and quickly caused quite the stir online as one of them began tracking back toward Kotzebue.  The pair ran into a mechanical issue which was a broken front left shock on Boylan's machine.  Leslie raced back to Kotzebue, secured a shock, returned to his partner where both of them made a quick trail repair to get them back in the race.

This clearly chewed up what lead they had and cost them precious time and also two positions on the leaderboard at that time.  The top 3 teams are stacked very tightly and little mishaps like this could mean everything.

In what appears to be a bit of a miracle, Team 33 is not only back in the race but running clean and fast after the bad wipeout that George Lambert took during a whiteout blizzard yesterday forcing them to tow into Selawik.

Local resident Ronnie Ray had a perfect match for the team and allowed the racers to cannibalize his matching machine and get them back on the trail!  It is clearly evident by the online postings that Team 33 is definitely the fan-favorite for this section of the trail.  The outpouring of support for these guys is unmatched!  Photo of the donor sled below

Note the changed number on the windshield, from the sled that just finished the Kotzebue/Kiana race Saturday.

We also mentioned yesterday Team 41 running into a bit of a medical situation that forced them to seek treatment at a local clinic.  After receiving stitches in his chin (the photo below of the broken windshield is what we call a clue), Tyler Reese was able to join his rookie cohort and continue toward Nome.  The pair currently sits in 11th position.

 For anyone wondering what took Team 7 out of the race, Tyler Akelstad reported that in the blizzard conditions with near-zero visibility he came upon steel drums and other debris in the trail that he wasn't able to see until it was too late.  From the Iron Dog article here, he reports All of a sudden, it was 2 feet in front of me and then it was gone”. 

This forced them to scratch in Buckland where they decided to tow to Kotzebue, an easier location to ship machines home from. Aklestad went on to say “Since Day 1, we kind of had that snowball effect where once it starts going bad it keeps building...It wasn’t our year, but props to those guys up front; they are all having a good run, and we’ll be back next year.”

With a tight group vying for the podium, there's really not a lot of space between spots 4/5/6 on the leaderboard either.  Team 3, Conner/Gocke, are absolutely neck and neck with the local boys we talked about prior, Team 33, and Team 26, Gossett/Gugel are running those two down as well!

The rest of the field of racers will continue to trickle into Nome where teams will enjoy a 24 hour rest and the opportunity to inspect and repair their machines as necessary for the remaining distance home, a little over 1000 more miles

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published