A stunning disqualification has left Soldotna rider Corey Davis leading the 2017 Iron Dog snowmachine race as of Friday night.
After it was announced that race leaders and defending champions Tyler Aklestad of Palmer and Tyson Johnson of Eagle River were disqualified shortly after midnight early Saturday morning, Davis and teammate Ryan Simons of Alberta inherited the lead. Davis and Simons originally checked into Tanana at 5:25 p.m. Friday running second, about 1 hour, 14 minutes, behind Aklestad and Johnson.
The disqualification was in violation of rule 13.2, which states, “Racers will be permitted to receive outside help for fuel and engine oil ONLY between the checkpoints of Ruby and Tanana.” The rule continues on to read, “No other assistance of any kind including physical contact with the pit crew will be permitted.”
The decision to disqualify Aklestad and Johnson came after photos surfaced of spectators giving an apparent push to the back of the snowmachines, which were being fueled by the racers.
The race is slated to end Saturday in Fairbanks.
The announcement also bumped Kasilof rider Dusty VanMeter into second place, 1 hour, 32 minutes, behind Davis and Simons. VanMeter and teammate Chad Gueco of Wasilla pulled into Tanana Friday night at 6:57 p.m. The current situation leaves the potential for peninsula riders to finish 1-2 at the Iron Dog finish.