2024 Iron Dog - Day 8 Update

Last night and into this morning, while everyone was on a 15 hour layover in McGrath, the leaderboard proved that this was definitely a tight race.  Just 26 minutes separated the front two teams and just 95 minutes separated the top 5 teams.

17 year old Austin Carroll of Team 18 was able to get some info to his mother who posted via Facebook about the long and tiring day yesterday for him and his racing partner.


At 4PM on the 24th, much of the pack is clustered around the southbound checkpoint of Tatina.  Team 30 reported that it is exceptionally nice there today and joked that nobody wanted to be first through the pass toward Puntilla Lake and Whiskey Bravo for a mandatory hold to ensure a mid-day finish in Big Lake.

For Saturdays strategy, teams did have layover options ahead McGrath milepost 2,164 (extension), Nikolai milepost 2,216 and Tatina milepost 2,290. There is wet and heavy snow accumulated from at least Shell Lake to Big Lake. Anywhere from 10-24” since Wednesday, gusting winds and possibly some fallen trees in the trail as well.


Looking at the leaderboard its a varitable cluster of teams that may be physically in front but looking at the course time, it starts to paint a clearer picture of who the frontrunners are.  Teams 39, 14, 10, 6, and 9 are all nipping at each others heels.  At this stage of the race, a hiccup of any size might mean the difference of keeping the lead or capturing it from another team.


It doesn't take Iron Dog race fans to spot abnormal pings of the GPS and Team 33 was no different.  Fans spotted GPS updates either stopped or moving very slowly and suspected problems.  Despite a heroic effort on the trail and overcoming one bad wreck earlier on the trail coming into Selawik, the duo were forced to scratch.  From their team Facebook page, it is reported that 'Our guys are an official scratch. They are both ok!! I finally got inflight WiFi to get an update. Skyler crashed pretty bad and the snow machine is in too bad condition to continue. He gave parts to another team off his rig. Radar is gearing up to head back out to pick up Skyler and they will fly back'

Team 24 was also stopped on the trail, raising the blood pressure of family and friends of Clayton/Gurley.  Clayton has an InReach communication device and after a period of time stopped reported that they were fixing a rear torque-arm bolt on one of their Polaris Cross Country 600 machines and a shock on the other.

Leaving Tatina there is a significant water hazard on the river just southbound from that checkpoint.  Team 16 and 15 left first, blazing fresh tracks through the fresh snowfall, but one of Team 15's sleds took a bath in the icy waters, forcing them back to Tatina, declaring layover.

As of 6PM most of the teams are either enroute to, or in the case of Team 14, already in the mandatory hold checkpoint of Whiskey Bravo before they are allowed to race toward the finish line tomorrow.  We will see a much clearer picture of the leaderboard once course times are updated later this evening.



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