Iron Dog 2022: Racers ride through the first major check point of McGrath

Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 3:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - McGrath is the first major checkpoint where many of the2022 Iron Dog pro class teams will take their 8-12 hour layovers.

Team 39 of Cody Barber and Brett Lapham — both of Willow — were the first team to make it to McGrath, but Team 7 of Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad had the fastest time. Of all the teams that made it to McGrath, there was no major damage to any of the sleds, just a few broken windshields and a couple of busted A-arms.

“There was definitely some challenging parts of the trail,” Barber said. “For the most part there was tons of snow all the way through... we were able to cruise pretty good had one little mishap on the post down by the south fork but we will get our windshield changed out other than that we are pretty clean.”

The amount of snow and traffic on the way to McGrath has made the trail very difficult to ride on, with most of the teams averaging about 45-55 mph. Team 14 is looking to avenge their second place finish last year where they lost the race in the last 20 miles due to engine issues with both of their snowmachines.

“Just keep calm keep moving and I keep telling myself stay smooth, because if you are smooth you are smooth on your sled, you are easy on your sled, and it seems to make good time.” Team 14 rider Casey Boylan said.

Team 6 of Robby Schachle and Brad George — who swooped in to win last years race — are sitting in the top five and they say that is right where they want to be.

“It doesn’t really matter what position you are in right now as long as you don’t get too far away from the lead,” George sai.d “That is our biggest thing, as long as we make the lead to where we can always still grab it at the end, that’s all we’re worried about. It doesn’t matter if there is one or 10 teams in front of us as long as at the end we can still get it back.”

Now the riders will race to Nome where the fastest team there will win $10,000, the second fastest wins $3,000, and the third fastest wins $2,000.

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