Todd Palin & Scott Davis: Steely Iron Doggers (Update: ADN Retraction)

Monday, February 22, 2010

An injury to Scott Davis has caused him and partner, Todd Palin, to withdraw from the Iron Dog.

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

An injury to Scott Davis of Soldotna, the most experienced driver in the 27th Iron Dog snowmachine race, has forced him and partner Todd Palin to scratch at Puntilla Lake in the Alaska Range.

Iron Dog development director Heidi Griffin said the injury happened about 30 miles past the checkpoint Sunday night, and the racers were returning to the checkpoint.

She did not know the nature of Davis' injury and expected further updates later Monday.

Davis, 50, is tied with John Faeo as the winningest driver in race history with seven victories. Partner Palin, 45, has four titles.

Yesterday, the Iron Dog began with a flurry of excitement, as it does every year-- and contrary to ADN misreporting, Governor Palin and family were present to see Todd Palin off. At 2,000 miles, the Iron Dog is the toughest, longest snowmachine race in the world. It takes some steely men--and women, I recently learned--to even prepare for it.

While the nature of the injuries is not yet known, surely it must be bad for this particular pair not to continue. In 2008, for example, Todd suffered a broken arm when he was thrown 70 feet from his snowmachine. He somehow continued the race and managed to finish in fourth place.

Juneau Empire reported then:

Not only is he the First Dude, but Todd Palin is one tough dude.

The husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, or First Dude, as Alaskans have come to call him, survived a high-speed crash on Friday in which he broke his arm and had to be towed across the Chena River finish line in Fairbanks on Saturday after his snowmachine died, but he still finished the world's longest, toughest snowmachine race in fourth place.

Not bad considering that just the day before he was lying in the snow, curled up in the fetal position after crashing into a hidden barrel outside the village of Galena.

Obviously, this team came to the race with incredible fortitude and years of experience. Davis began racing in 1984, the year the Iron Dog was born, and placed second at the young age of 24. Palin has competed in the Iron Dog every year since 1993. The two have been racing together for seven years.

Because they're such fierce competitors, I'm sure there's some disappointment today. However, their veteran decision not to defy the elements further or risk added injury is to be commended. Experience brings wisdom, and they used that wisdom to make the right decision. We applaud them for the training and preparation they endured and for starting a race most would never even dare undertake.

Read more about the Palin-Davis team here and here.

We wish Scott Davis a speedy recovery.

(Photos 1 & 2 courtesy of Tracey)
(Photo 3 courtesy of Ron)

Update: The Anchorage Daily News has now corrected their mistake, which I referred to earlier in this post as "ADN misreporting."

Correction: This story originally reported, incorrectly, that former Gov. Sarah Palin did not make an appearance at the Iron Dog start on Sunday. She was there, seeing off husband Todd and his partner, Scott Davis.

Way to hold 'em accountable, folks.

(Retraction H/T C4P))


Teresa February 22, 2010 at 8:08 PM  

That bites. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Patty February 23, 2010 at 12:16 AM  

Thank you for reporting on all of this. I love reading your blog!

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