Iron Dog racers shot straight from Deshka Landing to McGrath on Sunday. The fastest teams checked into McGrath airport for their layover, with Mike Morgan/Chris Olds coming in first at 7:58pm last night. Olds/Morgan are team 10 this year and are racing as 2018’s Iron Dog champions. They will be able to hit the trail again at 10am Monday.
Most teams decided to take a fourteen-hour layover in McGrath. Teams are required to take an eight-hour layover in Nikolai or McGrath, though they can combine that with another flexible six-hour that can be taken elsewhere on the trail before reaching the halfway point in Nome.
According to the leaderboard, 21 teams are in McGrath for a fourteen-hour layover. In second position are Scott Faeo/Robby Schachle, who have only declared 8 hours. They can begin racing again at 9:15am Monday.
One scratch is reported so far: Wasilla-based team Todd Minnick/Nick Olstad. The team took first back in 2014. As of this morning, there are no reported reasons for their decision to scratch at 10:37pm Sunday in McGrath.
There is plenty of Nome-based representation this year. Amos Cruise/Jarvis Miller are in 11th, Michael Oliver/Jerrod Vaughn are in 20th, with Dietrich Nikolai/Nicholas Reader just behind them in 21st. Nikolai/Reader checked into McGrath at 7:09am this morning for a six-hour layover.
After the teams finish their layovers in McGrath, they will follow the Kuskokwim River up to their next layover option in Ruby.
Image at top: file photo: Mike Morgan and Chris Olds shortly after their arrival at the Nome halfway point during the 2014 race. Photo: KNOM.