- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Tyler Aklestad and Tyson Johnson crossed the finish line first in the 2016 Iron Dog snowmachine race.

Thin ice prompted race officials to move the finish line from the Chena River to Griffin Park, where hundreds of spectators greeted Aklestad and Johnson when they arrived at 12:19 p.m. Saturday, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/1UsvAmO).

Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad came in second place, 36 minutes behind Johnson and Aklestad.

Aklestad said unlike recent years, there was plenty of snow along the entire course.

“It was a racing trail this year - it wasn’t survival like the last two years, with no snow,” Aklestad said. “There was snow the entire way, and it made for a rough race in another way. There were big bumps, and that’s where we really excelled.”

Johnson and Aklestad have each competed in the two-person race at least a dozen times and have finished in second place together three times.

“Every year I’ve felt like we’ve been in the hunt, and we finally figured out how to put it together this year,” Aklestad said. “It feels amazing.”

Teams started off in Big Lake on Feb. 21 on a race course to Nome and then Fairbanks.

Johnson’s fiancee Alexis McCarty says the win is “just going to fuel his fire. He’s been racing for 18 years, so over half his life.”


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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