The leading teams of the Iron Dog Snowmachine Race pulled into Nome beneath bright sunny skies just before 2:30 this afternoon.
Brad George and Robby Schachle of team number six are in first position as teams get ready for the restart in Nome, but they weren’t actually the first to reach Nome’s golden shores: that honor belongs to the Hale Brothers.
Joseph and Israel Hale of team 21 were first into Nome at 2:28pm, although they were not the winners of $5,000 from the Bering Sea Lions Club. That award went to George and Schachle who had the fastest time to Nome.
While the Hale’s are burning up snow ahead of the pack, they’re still in 12th position because they’ve only taken 26 of their needed layover hours.
With timing and rest accounted for, team 6 of George and Schachle are currently in first position followed by Brett Lapham and Zack Weisz of team 5 in second position. In third position is team 10, Mike Morgan of Nome and Chris Olds.
Morgan says they are glad to be in Nome and in physically healthy condition after their accident outside of Koyuk.
“We hit a chunk of ice sideways and it just sent us for a pretty wild ride. Both of us hit the same thing and flew off of our machines.”– Mike Morgan of Nome
Morgan reports that both he and Olds are okay. Along with the other teams, they’ll have time tomorrow to wrench and inspect their sleds to be ready for the rest of their trip. From Nome the remaining 18 pro class teams will head to Kotzebue and do a loop before going back down through Koyuk again as they re-trace their route to Big Lake.
As of 5pm, there are 11 teams that have reached Nome. Three teams have scratched from the race, including the most recent scratch from Iron Dog 2020 champion of Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad who scratched in Unalakleet earlier this afternoon.
There will be no traditional halfway banquet in Nome this year. Instead, teams will take COVID-19 rapid tests and work in the garage throughout the day tomorrow.
Correction: This article previously stated that the Hale brothers had won the $5,000 award from the Bering Sea Lions Club, but in fact that award went to the fastest team into Nome, not the first. The correction has been made and KNOM regrets the error.
Image at top: Two different Iron Dog teams, including the current leaders, lined up above the ramp in Nome after reaching the halfway point. Photo from Kevin Fox, KNOM 2021.