Iron Dog Race restart moved up due to weather, Aklestad and Olstad through White Mountain

man in a garage with a snowmachine

Reigning Iron Dog champions, Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad, maintain a 30-minute lead on the second-position team in this year’s Iron Dog snowmachine race. The restart began in Nome at 6 a.m. this morning instead of the originally planned 8 a.m. restart.

As the racers leave Nome, trail reports indicate they will face more open water and poor snow conditions along the overland trail.

Race marshal Tyson Johnson said teams will encounter not ideal racing conditions as they make the trip back to Big Lake.

“They’re definitely going to be dealing with a lot worse weather than they had coming in, and it sounds like we’re supposed to get a bunch of snow further south toward the McGrath area, so I think they’re going to be dealing with a lot of new snow as well,” Johnson said.

Leaving in second position was Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie of team 14. After spending Monday evening and yesterday wrenching, Boylan told Iron Dog staff their machines are in tip top shape.

“We don’t have to do a bunch. We got to look over them (Monday) night and there was nothing noticeable, no real wear and tear. Really, we just have to do preventative work,” Boylan said.

Wear and tear could certainly be the difference maker on the last thousand miles to the finish line, as only 16 minutes separates team 14 from the third-position racers, Ryan Barber and Brett Lapham.

By 9 a.m. all 15 teams will be back on the trail heading east across the Norton Sound, trying to take advantage of a gap in the impending snow storm and blizzard conditions buffeting Western Alaska.

Image at top: Team 7 prepares their snowmachines to leave Nome. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog, used with permission (2023).