The top team of IronDog 2023 departed Koyuk at about 11:45 a.m. as they moved toward Nome and the halfway point of the snowmachine race.
Team 7 of Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad left Kotzebue at 7 a.m. this morning in first position. At just after 10 a.m., the pair had departed Buckland still in the lead. Aklestad and Olstad started this year’s race in 16th position on Feb. 17, then moved into first after McGrath, where they have held the lead since the evening of Feb. 18.
Left in their wake is a trail of scratches, injuries and mechanical issues. Mike Morgan of Nome and his racing partner Chris Olds officially scratched in Galena on Sunday. Numerous mechanical issues rendered Morgan’s machine unusable, according to reports from Iron Dog’s social media page.
Trail reports described heavy, deep snow along the front quarter of the trail to the Yukon River which plagued several teams early on. In second position are Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie, about 30 minutes behind Aklestad and Olstad in total course time. The other Nome teams in this year’s race are still competing as well, with the Miller brothers Jarvis and Jordan taking a one hour layover in Selawik earlier this morning, while Cody Moen and his partner Chad Gueco are within the top ten positions.
Stay tuned to KNOM Update News for the next Iron Dog race update and live coverage of the first team’s arrival into Nome this afternoon, Feb. 20.
Image at top: Cody Barber and Brett Latham leave Kotzebue in third position. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog.