Team Arctic on Pace to Conquer Alaska’s Iron Dog Cross-Country

Teams include Scott Davis/Todd Palin and defending champ Eric Quam/Bradly Helwig

The eyes of the world are focused on the dynamic duo of Scott Davis and Todd Palin as they attempt to win the rugged Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile cross-country race from Wasilla to Fairbanks, Alaska, which began Sunday, Feb. 8.

After one day of racing the team is at the mandatory layover location of McGrath, roughly 372 miles into the race. They’re currently in third place overall.

The pair is racing on 2009 Arctic Cat F6 Sno Pro production snowmobiles. They are contending with defending champion Eric Quam and new partner Bradly Helwig (in fifth at the McGrath layover), as well as 2006 winners Dwayne Drake and Andy George (sixth in McGrath), all competing aboard Arctic Cat F6 machines. Of the 35 Pro teams entered in this year’s race, 14 have chosen Arctic Cat. Arctic Cat snowmobiles have endured to win 10 of the 24 editions of this race.

Palin, the husband of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has won the Iron Dog on four previous occasions, most recently in 2007 with current partner Scott Davis. Davis is a legend of the Iron Dog, having conquered the event seven times, beginning with his first win in 1985. The two experienced a media whirlwind surrounding the race following the Governor’s nomination as Vice President in John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

The Iron Dog course length is 1,971 miles, starting outside of Anchorage in Wasilla/Big Lake and heading northwest for 1,106 miles to the roughly halfway point in Nome on Feb. 11. From Nome the course heads east for the 865-mile run to the finish in Fairbanks on Feb. 11.

As the world’s longest snowmobile race, the Iron Dog is also one of the toughest as it traverses some of Alaska’s most remote and rugged terrain while confronting harsh winter conditions.

The Iron Dog Pro Class consists of a team of two persons on two snowmobiles. The Pro Class teams are released at the race start in Big Lake at two-minute intervals. Between Big Lake and Nome the teams are required to take three layovers at a minimum of 6 hours per location and 28 hours total. Between Nome and Fairbanks they must take a minimum of two layovers, at least 6 hours per location and 18 hours total, before they reach Tanana. At Tanana the race teams are held to secure a midday finish on Saturday in Fairbanks.

You can follow the race and the location of each team via the Iron Dog website at www.irondog.org.

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