Iron Dog announces plans for 2022 race

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:02 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The famed Iron Dog snowmobile race will take on a new look in 2022 as organizers plan to start and finish the race at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, instead of Big Lake like it did last year.

The trail will take teams from the start line in Wasilla to Big Lake, where they will continue on to Skwentna, taking the trail they have used in previous years through the Alaska Range up to Nome, looping around Kotzebue and heading south to the finish line.

The 2022 race will be led by new executive director Robert Menne, who took over from Mike Vasser. Vasser held the position in an interim role last year.

Menne competed in the 2018 Iron Dog after moving to Alaska from Minnesota two years prior.

“I got a lot of familiarity with the race, “ Menne said. “My son has been racing for 15 years, I used to race back in the day too. We got a lot of racing history in our family so Iron Dog is a great event for us. We love it.”

He was hired in July and has moved quickly in organizing the upcoming race. Menne said they plan on sticking with their COVID-19 mitigation plan from last year — which he said resulted in zero positive cases — meaning vaccines will be optional but testing will be required.

“The racers will tested prior to the race and during the race,” Menne said.

Entries for the 2022 race are up as 29 teams will compete in the Pro Class race. They currently have over 40 entries in the Expedition Class, according to Menne.

The Expedition Class will begin on Feb. 17, and the Pro Class race will start on Feb. 19 at the Menard Center. Menne said they have big events planned for the finish, like youth snowmobile races, vintage snowmobiles on display and ax throwing.

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