Strong lead for Arnt Ola Skjerve

Author: Fredrik Ljone Holst (transl. Espen Rasch-Ekstrøm)     Photo: Hanne Nordskag     Publish date: 02.02.13 16:35

Arnt Ola Skjerve arrived at checkpoint Søvollen long before he was expected and headed towards Tynset after only a short snack. He is at least 3.20 hours ahead of the mushers resting at Søvollen.

Arnt Ola Skjerve

After taking the obligatory rest and time adjustment at Drevsjø, Arnt Ola can now spend his time however he chooses. The quick run over mountains gave him an added advantage.

-Actually, it has been a rather slow going but the others have probably run even slower. The most important thing is to mush better than them, he says, adding the trails from Drevsjø were good. He will probably get better tracks further on too; the trail crew headed out with the snowmobile just ahead of Arnt Ola, who surprised everyone (?) with his early arrival.

From the staging area the fiercest competitors can't do anything but watch while Arnt Ola hurtles forward. Most have rest and time adjustment at Søvollen, and the next musher have to wait several hours before he can go on. Of the mushers resting at Søvollen, Ralph Johannessen has the earliest departure time: 19.35.

The Arnt Ola's dogs seem to run well but one of them was left behind at Søvollen. However, it is the first dog Arnt Ola has taken out and his time of 5.09 from Drevsjø is the fastest in F600 this year.

This means that Arnt Ola adopted a different tactic than the one that led him to the podium and bronze medal last year. During the 2012 race his tactic was to start relatively gently and hold an anonymous position further down the list. Then he would finished with a strong run at the end. Crossing the finish line it was only Robert Sorlie and Ralph Johannessen standing there waiting him. Under the awards ceremony he made it clear he was not going to settle with ending up behind the two veterans, and it looks like he is about to carry out his threat this year. But still only a third of the race has been run, and he is still a long way from Røros.