Water and Dirt Dogs
Living up to the title of the TOUGHEST snowmobile race in the world, the Iron Dog kicked off from Big Lake this morning and immediately put teams to the test. Within just a few hours, reports of trouble started rolling in from a few teams either breaking down or having hard crashes on their way to McGrath tonight.
The teams gathered for a wet and icy start at Big Lake to a decent crowd of brave fans to see them spray their way off the starting line. All 37 teams had their two minutes of announcements and recognition from the crowd before being released for the high speed race to Fairbanks…only 2,031 miles to go!
Once on the trails out of Big Lake and headed to the river, a few teams encountered early problems that either took them out of the race or significantly slowed them down. By mid-afternoon, both Team 28 and Team 8 had to call it quits. Sometimes luck just doesn’t go your way. We’re sad to see them drop out so early, but wish the remaining racers the best of luck – they’re going to need it!
By late afternoon, teams still in the hunt were facing water, warm temperatures and grueling conditions. The first reports from Rohn showed that it truly is one of the worst years for lack of snow. Check out this video posted by John Woodbury of Alaska Adventure Media.
As teams passed through Rohn it was quickly becoming a dirt race which some reports indicate could be easily 30 or more miles of zero snow conditions.
As the sunset came, most of the front-runners were in and out of Nikolai with just a few bumps and bruises. So far, many of the survivors have managed to get through the dirt and find snow again!
Next stop and last one for the night…is checkpoint Klim in McGrath!
It’s only day one…stay tuned for even more rough terrain ahead. Be sure to visit our Facebook page for the most current photos, videos and updates!
Special thanks to all our volunteer photographers! Roger Clifford, Jenny Daniels, Matt Waliszek and John Woodbury.