Area riders VanMeter, Davis chase Iron Dog leaders

Mike Morgan of Nome and Chris Olds of Eagle River were leading the Iron Dog on Thursday night.

Olds, a two-time champion, and Morgan arrived at Kaltag at 2:27 p.m. Thursday and took their 10-hour layover.

Kaltag is 564 miles from the finish of the 2,000-mile race. The race will finish Saturday in Fairbanks.

Todd Minnick of Wasilla, a one-time champ, and Nick Olstad of Wasilla, a two-time champ, arrived in Kaltag 27 minutes after the lead team.

Two other teams pushed ahead to Kaltag, but none were within an hour of the leaders.

Most of the teams chose to take their 10-hour layover at Unalakleet, which is 95 miles from Kaltag.

The first team to Unalakleet was Cory Davis of Soldotna and Ryan Simons of Alberta. They arrived at 1:02 p.m. By way of comparison, Morgan and Olds hit Unalakleet at 12:40 p.m. before quickly pushing through.

Davis has just one previous Iron Dog under his belt, but is the son of Scott Davis, the seven-time champ who has scratched from this race. Simons is an Iron Dog rookie.

But both Davis and Simons have been successful in the X Games, with Davis holding four medals and Simons two.

The second squad into Unalakleet was Dusty VanMeter of Kasilof and Marc McKenna of Anchorage. They arrived 16 minutes after Davis and Simons.

VanMeter, who holds five titles, is seeking a third straight with McKenna. Only twice in Iron Dog history has a team won three straight titles.

The last rider from the Peninsula, Devin Labarbera of Kenai, was in 28th place as of Thursday night.

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