Medina, Minn. – In the ultimate demonstration of Polaris Terrain Domination, Polaris cross country snowmobile racers Scott Faeo and Eric Quam won the Iron Dog race across Alaska on Saturday, Feb. 28, on a pair of 2015 600 Switchback Pro-S models built on the innovative AXYS platform.
Faeo and Quam led for more than half of the 2,031-mile race on some of the most varied snow conditions in race history. Racers encountered long stretches of bare ground early in the race and rode through water-covered streets when they arrived at the race’s midway point in Nome. They then raced out of Nome as a snowstorm swept in off the coast.
Faeo and Quam started the final day’s run from Tanana to Fairbanks with a lead of 32 minutes, 31 seconds over the second-place team. They increased that lead en route to the finish line in downtown Fairbanks and won by a margin of 45:55 over the runners-up.
Polaris teams dominated the race as they finished first and third, earned six top-10 finishing positions and took 10 of the top 16 spots. Racers on Polaris sleds have won two straight Iron Dog races and five of the past seven.
The Polaris team of Iron Dog rookie Allen Hill and veteran Marc McKenna reached the midway point in fifth place, but surged in the second half of the race to finish third on a pair of 2015 600 Switchback Pro-S models built on the AXYS platform. Hill and McKenna finished 31 minutes behind the second-place team.
Faeo Joins Father As Iron Dog Winner
Faeo, 31, earned his first Iron Dog victory on his third try in the Pro class and became the first second-generation winner in Iron Dog history. His father John Faeo is a seven-time Iron Dog winner who won six times on Polaris sleds, including the first-ever Iron Dog in 1984. In 2014, Scott Faeo finished 10th with teammate Gabe Bunke, a Polaris cross country and enduro racer. Quam, 44, finished for the ninth time in his Pro-class career and was on the winning team in 2008.
Faeo and Quam earned $50,000 for the victory and Hill and McKenna earned $20,000 for their third-place finish. The winners completed the race, which ran from Anchorage to Nome to Fairbanks, in 41 hours, 46 minutes, 52 seconds of running time for an average speed of 49 mph.
Six of the top 10 teams to finish were on Polaris sleds
• Cody Barber and Brett Lapham, a pair of Iron Dog rookies, finished fifth
• Veterans Shane Barber and Ryan Sottosanti finished seventh
• Robert Strick and Steffen Strick finished in ninth place
• Tyler Huntington and Todd Palin—two racers with a combined six Iron Dog wins—
Other Polaris teams to finish in the top 20 were:
12. Mike Morgan and Chris Olds
13. Kyle Conner and Donald Koontz
14. Ryan Folsom and Tony Greene
16. Chris Carroll and Ray Chvastasz
Polaris Leads At The Midway Point
The Iron Dog is a two-part race, with teams racing to the midway point of Nome, taking one day off to rest and work on their sleds, then racing to the finish line in Fairbanks. The day off includes a first-half awards banquet and the Polaris team of Faeo and Quam won the $10,000 Gold Rush award for being the fastest Pro-class team to reach Nome.
At the midway point, five of the top 10 teams were on Polaris sleds, as were 11 of the top 19. Cody Barber and Lapham were in fourth at Nome and Hill and McKenna were in fifth. Shane Barber and Sottosanti were in ninth and Huntington and Palin were in 10th.
Trail Class Riders Reach Nome
In the Iron Dog race, Trail class racers run from the start in Big Lake and finish in Nome. Their goal is primarily to complete the run to Nome on Tuesday of race week. Several Trail class racers on Polaris sleds successfully did so, including:
• Charles Darnell, an Iron Dog rookie on a 600 Switchback
• Joseph Kiren, a rookie on a 600 Switchback Adventure built on the AXYS platform
• Mark Meuser, a veteran on a 600 Switchback Adventure on the AXYS platform
• Bernard Droege, a rookie on a 600 Switchback PRO-S on the AXYS platform
• Mark A. Ivy, a veteran on a 600 Switchback PRO-S on the AXYS platform
• Brian Walsh, a veteran on a 600 Switchback
• Rebecca Charles, a rookie on a 600 Switchback Adventure on the AXYS platform.