A close race was shaping up in the Iron Dog, and area riders are right in the thick of it.
Mike Morgan of Nome and Chris Olds of Eagle River were leading the race Monday night. They were Kaltag, which is 362 miles from Nome, which is the halfway point in the 2,000-mile race.
A group of three teams all arrived in Kaltag within 40 minutes of Morgan and Olds.
A big group of riders elected to take an eight-hour layover at Galena, which is 98 miles from Kaltag.
Sitting pole position in this group is Dusty VanMeter of Kasilof and Marc McKenna of Anchorage, the two-time defending champions. McKenna and VanMeter, who has five total titles, arrived in Galena just two minutes after Morgan and Olds, but elected not to immediately follow them to Kaltag.
Just 11 minutes behind McKenna and VanMeter are Cory Davis of Soldotna and Ryan Simons of Alberta. Davis has only done the race once, and Simons is a rookie, but Davis has won four snowmachine medals at the X Games and Simons has won two.
Cory’s dad, Scott Davis of Soldotna, is 1 hour, 11 minutes behind McKenna and VanMeter. Scott Davis, who is riding with Aaron Bartel of Anchorage, is a seven-time champion.
Rookie Devin Labarbera of Kenai was listed in 27th place as of Tuesday night.