UPDATE: The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that due to a timing error, the team of Marc McKenna and Dusty Van Meter is actually leading the Iron Dog and claimed the $10,000 prize for being the fastest team to Nome. See the Iron Dog website for more details and race updates.
Nome, the historic gold-rush town which marks the end of the Iditarod Trail and the halfway point of the Iron Dog, was the final scene of a hotly contested snowmachine race for $10,000 on Tuesday.
Eric Quam and Brian Dick beat defending Iron Dog champions Marc McKenna and Dusty Van Meter into Nome by 23 seconds to claim the money. Both teams reached Nome at 4:22 p.m., with Quam and Dick arriving at 4:22:31, ahead of McKenna and Van Meter at 4:22:54. Seven teams had reached Nome as of 6:20 p.m., with Aaron Bartel and Brad George arriving third at 4:33 p.m.
After a long layover in Nome, a restart will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday. Teams then head toward Fairbanks, where racing wraps up Saturday.
Quam, a 42-year-old from Palmer, won the Iron Dog in 2008 with McKenna. Now he's racing with Dick, a 34-year-old from Thief River Falls, Minn., who made his Iron Dog debut last year.
Quam and Dick left the previous checkpoint at White Mountain with about a five-minute lead, but McKenna and Van Meter closed the gap over the 75 miles to Nome.
Five teams scratched on Tuesday, bringing the scratch total to 11. That leaves 29 teams in the race.
Pro-class teams must reach Nome by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to continue racing to Nome.
The 2,031-mile race started Sunday at Big Lake.