The top three teams competing in the 2018 Iron Dog Snowmachine Race have left Unalakleet following the conclusion of their mandatory layover.
Iron Dog race marshals made the decision yesterday to hold at least the top nine racers in Unalakleet for 30 hours, due to weather conditions in the Norton Sound area. And now race leaders Tyson Johnson and Tyler Aklestad are off and running.
Team #8 departed the checkpoint at 7:50am this morning followed five minutes later by the second positioned team of Mike Morgan and Chris Olds. Leaving Unalakleet at 8:23 am, Brad George and Robby Schachle of team #6 hold onto third position.
According to race staff, the first nine teams are being released according to actual course time, whereas the rest of the 23 teams will leave on ten-minute intervals, minus a couple exceptions.
Once the racers leave Unalakleet, the rush to the halfway point in Nome is on. President of the Iron Dog Board of Directors, Jim Wilke, says the halfway banquet is tentatively set for 7pm tonight in Nome.
Image at top: file photo: Team #8, Aklestad/Johnson, reviewing their sleds during the 2017 race. Photo courtesy of Matthew McGee.