Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad are closing in on the Rohn roadhouse checkpoint as their path to victory in this year’s Iron Dog seems more and more secure. About 20 miles behind them are Brad George and Robby Schachle.
But in order to have a chance of winning, team 6 of George and Schachle would have to overtake Akletsad and Olstad before Puntilla and then make up over five hours in total course time to reach the finish line in Big Lake and as well as the Menard Center in Wasilla and have a faster course time than Aklestad and Olstad.
According to the Iron Dog, teams will be held up overnight at either Puntilla or Skwentna and then a race restart will happen tomorrow morning in the final push to the finish line at Wasilla. The winners are expected to reach Wasilla around 12 p.m. Feb. 26.
That seems highly unlikely at this point as Aklestad and Olstad maintain a commanding lead, checking out of Nikolai at 9:20 a.m. the morning of Feb. 25, an hour and a half before Mike Morgan Chris Olds checked out of Nikolai.
Team 10 of Morgan and Olds hold the official second position currently and have more of a chance to catch Aklestad and Olstad who are ahead by two and a half hours in total course time. George and Schachle continue to hold third position. They checked out of Nikolai at 9:45 a.m., second to the race leaders.
In fourth position is Bradley Kishbaugh and Kelly Sommer who are currently taking a 12-hour layover in McGrath. They are expected to depart by 4:10 p.m. this afternoon.
And rounding out the top five are the Miller brothers, Jarvis and Jordan of Nome. They are on a ten-hour layover in McGrath and are expected to depart at 12:46 p.m. this afternoon.
The difference in prize money between fourth and fifth is about $5,000. Fourth place will receive $15,000 while fifth gets $10,000. That’s according to a recent announcement from the Iron Dog race organization.
The final Nome team left in this race are Evan and Steffen Booth. As of 12 p.m. on Feb. 25, they hold tenth position and checked out of Poorman at 10:09 a.m.
Image at top: 2021 Iron Dog Finish: Team 14 Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie Towing Into the finish after suffering mechanical issues 30 miles from Big Lake. (Photo from Iron Dog, James Wicken)