2024 Iron Dog - Day 9 Update

Knowing that anything can happen on the Iron Dog trail, it really was anyone's race even this far along the trail.  The top 5 teams (6, 9, 10, 14, 39) have been swapping positions and paint since the Kotzebue checkpoint, more than 1000 miles ago.  Having just 1 hour and 43 minutes separating the top 5 teams in more than 2,400 miles of racing is pure consistency on the racers part.  Incredible.

With a razor thin 8 minute lead over Team 14, Team 39 barreled out of the Whiskey Bravo checkpoint at 10:00AM and were hungry for a first time win.  Everyone eating the trail dust of Brett Lapham and Cody Barber of Team 39 was just looking for any sort of weakness along the trail but that wasn't happening as the pair enjoyed incredible weather, blue skies, and great visibility to push their throttles as fast as possible toward Big Lake.

Larry Levine captured some great aerial footage of the racing between Skwentna and Big Lake in his helicopter seen below

Not giving up an inch, Team 39 barreled toward the checkered flag extending the lead on Team 14, crossing the finish line 13 minutes ahead of Team 14 to claim the 2024 championship.  This time may have been a minute or two faster had one of them not run out of gas on Big Lake, forcing them to tow across the finish line to secure the win.

Shane Barber, the father of this years racing brothers Cody and Evan Barber, first entered the race in 2000 and one keen race fan mentioned it may have been the family's first.  Another reported that "It is indeed the Barber family’s first Iron Dog win. Shane, Tammy, Cody, Evan and Shana’s hubby Brett have all raced, with some podium finishes in there. Extraordinary family and fantastic racers!!!'

For Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie, who are familiar with the Iron Dog podium, will enjoy another second place finish for their Iron Dog career stats.  Since 2019 either of these racers have been incredible contenders for a finish.  We are likely to see them again next year vying for the top prize. 

To give you an idea of how fast Team 14 is, I'm hearing that they set a new split-time record between Skwentna and Big Lake, covering the 80 miles in just 1:03 with an average speed of 75mph.

Following up on yesterdays events with Teams 15 and 22, both of these pairs have been forced from the race, scratching in Tatina.  One racer from each of these teams sunk their sleds into the South Fork of the Kuskokwim river yesterday, where they are now trying to figure out logistics for extracting the machines from the water and getting them back to civilization.

Fortunately all of the riders are safe and nobody was hurt, but this will be a big effort to get their equipment extracted and recovered.  Race fans have banded together to give some financial aid to the teams as well, knowing they are not from Alaska making all of this much more difficult as well.

Closing the loop on Team 33's scratch yesterday, we were shown a photo of what they were up against regarding equipment problems.  Significant damage to the right side of their Ski-Doo MXZ XRS could have resulted in bulkhead issues along with the possibility of not being able to source as many parts as required to get back on the trail.

 Rounding out the podium was Mike Morgan and Bradley Kishbaugh securing the top 3 positions riding Polaris.  In fact, the top 7 teams to finish the race will all be riding Polaris.  The Dohrn brothers of Team 17 will be the top riders for Ski-Doo.

Newcomers Gossett/Gugel are expected to finish 7th, which is an impressive finish for the top-placing rookie team.  This year proved to be clean racing by these two and we hope to see them again next year.

Congratulations to all the finishers this year and especially to all the volunteers to make this happen.  This race requires an immense number of people willing to step in and give up their valuable time across so many parts of Alaska to keep this tradition alive.  Your efforts do not go unnoticed nor unappreciated!  We can't wait for the 2025 race!

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