Registration for the 2018 Iron Dog Snowmachine Race closes tomorrow. As of today, 27 teams are signed up to compete, and last year’s champions are not on the list.
2017 champs Cory Davis of Soldotna and Ryan Simons of Alberta, Canada, claimed the win after a controversial disqualification of another team, Tyson Johnson and Tyler Aklestad.
According to a press release from Iron Dog, Inc., Davis is focusing on the X-Games, and Simons is healing from a back injury, so neither racer will compete this year.
Expect to see Johnson and Aklestad out on the Iron Dog trail come February as they look to rebound from their early departure from last year’s race. Aklestad and Johnson did cross the finish line first in 2017. But before that, the pair made a stop at a site called Bible Camp outside of Tanana, where two bystanders were photographed pushing down on the back of their machines. According to Iron Dog race rules, physical contact between racers and other people on that part of the trail is prohibited, which led to Johnson and Aklestad’s disqualification in the 2017 race.
Other notables signed up to compete in the upcoming Iron Dog include Tre West of Nome, who will ride with Aaron Bartel of Anchorage; the team of Klinton and Kris VanWingerden; as well as Ryan Sottosanti and Micah Huss, who finished third last year.
So far, 21 rookie racers are signed up, and two of those individuals are also on the only all-female team registered to compete in the 2018 Iron Dog. Rachel Kidwell of Anchorage and Ashley Wood of Wasilla will wear bib number 22 for the more than 2,000 miles from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks.
According to Iron Dog archives, only one all-female team has ever successfully finished the race.
The 2018 Iron Dog official start takes place in Anchorage on February 17th.
Image at top: Team #8, Aklestad/Johnson, reviewing their sleds. Photo courtesy of Matthew McGee.