The top six teams in this year’s Iron Dog all departed Nome by 9am this morning for the race restart. They now head to Kotzebue with more than 1,300 miles left to go before reaching the finish line in Big Lake.
Coming into Nome on Monday, team #6 of Brad George and Robby Schachle were in the lead. But by this morning’s restart, a new pair of racers had taken first position; Brett Lapham and Zach Weisz of team #5.
As a way to potentially re-take the lead, Schachle says he and George aren’t going to focus so much on the competition.
“We’re just going to run our race and try to stay clean. Just do us, not try to be racing other people.”– Robby Schachle
Originally in second position, team #5 gained a six-minute lead on George and Schachle during their garage time yesterday.
According to the Iron Dog Executive Director, Mike Vasser, “The work time in the garage counts as on the clock, so some of the standings shuffled around a little. They are all still really close together, though.”
In third position is still Mike Morgan of Nome and partner Chris Olds, followed by Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie. Less than 15 minutes currently separates the top four teams as they head to Kotzebue.
This next stretch of trail is where Morgan expects to see some more machines breaking and mechanical issues. This is what he told KNOM upon arriving into Nome on Monday.
“We still got a long way to go man. These top guys are pushing really hard and you know your equipment has to go another 1,300 miles through the same stuff and then some. So, we’re going up through Kotzebue and I think equipment is going to start dropping here pretty soon, I would think.”– Mike Morgan
All remaining 18 teams have about 1,500 miles left to go in this year’s race before they reach the finish line in Big Lake.
Looking ahead to Kotzebue, the weather forecast shows mostly clear skies and no blizzards or hazardous winter storms, which have impeded racers in the past. The first team to reach Kotzebue wins a $3,000 cash award from Nana Management Systems.
Image at top: Team #10 of Mike Morgan and Chris Olds leaving Nome on their way to Kotzebue. (Photo by KNOM.)