Palin, Kasilof's Van Meter win Iron Dog Classic

Late comeback earns pair $25,000 in prize money, $10,000 in contingency money

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Todd Palin and Dusty Van Meter won the 2002 Tesoro Iron Dog Classic snowmachine race Saturday, edging Marc McKenna and Eric Quam by about a minute and a half.

Palin, of Wasilla, and Van Meter, of Kasilof, drove Arctic Cat snowmobiles in the Pro and Master's Class and crossed the finish line at Pike's Landing on the Chena River west of Fairbanks at 10:52 a.m.

Their overall time was 38 hours, 41 minutes, 15 seconds.

The victory was worth $25,000 in prize money and another $10,000 in contingency money provided by the snowmobile manufacturers, according to race director Pam Sadloske.

The top 10 finishers split a purse of $100,000.

The victory was the third for Palin, who won in 1995 and with Van Meter in 2000.

The race is the longest snowmobile race in the world, covering 1,971 miles. It started Feb. 17 at Wasilla.

McKenna, of Anchorage, and Quam, of Eagle River, drove Polaris snowmobiles and led most of the race but finished at 10:43 a.m. in 38:42:48.

They take home $18,000 in prize money and $2,500 in contingency money.

Racers left Nome on Thursday with McKenna and Quam holding a 38-minute lead, but by the time they reached Tanana, a village at the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana Rivers, the Palin-Van Meter team had shaved off 30 minutes.

McKenna and Quam were to leave Tanana at 7 a.m. Saturday but were required make a repair on the clock of a damaged jack shaft. That allowed Palin and VanMeter to take the lead when they left at 7:08 a.m.

Defending champions Tracey Brassard and Ken Lee left Tanana at 7:31 a.m. They finished third in 38:55:42, a little less than 13 minutes after McKenna and Quam. They take home $14,000 in prize money and $1,250 in contingency money.

Doug Brewer of Kenai and James Dick of Seward, riding Ski Doos, finished fourth in 40:24:44.

Thirty-two teams started the race in the Pro and Master's Class and 22 remained as of Saturday.

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