By 7:15 pm last night, all 23 teams had arrived into Nome for the halfway point of the 2018 Iron Dog snowmachine race.
Just before the last team of Jacob Evans and Tommy Germany came into town, Iron Dog’s President of the Board of Directors, Jim Wilke, was already giving out awards to the top racers.
“Okay we have a couple of awards here, kind of back to back: the fastest time overall from White Mountain to Nome goes to team #10, Chris Olds and Mike Morgan … (applause) … $8,000 from the Bering Sea Lions Club.”
Brad George and Robby Schachle received $3,000 from the City for getting to Nome second behind Morgan and Olds, while Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad took home $2,000 for their third fastest arrival.
As Wilke was preparing to hand team #10 another prize of $10,000 in gold coins, Morgan, the longtime Nomeite racer, voiced his appreciation to a multitude of groups and individuals who supported him from checkpoint to checkpoint.
“I’d like to thank the whole community of Nome. It was pretty awesome pulling up into my hometown with half the town out there. And you’ve heard it mentioned a couple times here, the trail, how well it was marked in and out of Golovin. That was pretty awesome. You couldn’t see more than 20-30 feet in front of you and (were) pretty much going stake to stake, so thanks to Davis Lincoln and his crew out in White Mountain, and thanks to everybody who has put us up along the way.”
During last night’s banquet, Morgan was not the only racer to mention how crucial it was to have a well-marked trail into Nome following major winter storms in the area. Due to poor visibility and challenging weather conditions earlier this week on the Norton Sound, Iron Dog race staff decided to hold all the teams in Unalakleet for an extended period of time.
Wilke noted that was not an easy feat logistically for his staff and the community.
“That ended up with a big conglomeration, because we had all the trail-class guys there plus all the pro-class guys, all there at once for a day and a half, and they were not exactly prepared for that. So the morning when it became obvious that was going to happen, I got a hold of Jeff Erickson, Minnie Johnson, a couple of you guys down there in Unalakleet, and they sprang into action, took people in off the street, opened up the church basement, and got people taken care of.”
All pro class racers will get wrench time in the Public Works garage today to repair their machines before the race restart tomorrow morning in Nome.
Image at top: Mike Morgan of Nome and racing partner Chris Olds receive awards for being the fastest team into Nome in the 2018 Iron Dog race. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM (2018).