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Could Rohn Buser's Iditarod withdrawal change his father's chances?

Suzanna Caldwell
Rohn Buser at the Ophir checkpoint during Iditarod 2012. March 8, 2012 Loren Holmes photo

One fewer father-son duo will be fighting for first on the Iditarod trail this year.

Saying that he will be mixing his team with his father's, Rohn Buser, son of four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser, has withdrawn from the 2013 race, according to Iditarod's official Facebook page.

Rohn Buser, 23, finished the race in 18th in 2012, one spot and only one second ahead of his father. The two spent most of the entire 2012 race mushing together. While both insisted they didn't intend that going into the race, having teams of similar speed kept the two together.

Whether or not the mixing of teams will mean a speedier Martin remains to be seen. Despite multiple championships in 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2002, the elder Buser hasn't cracked the top 10 since 2008, when he finished fifth. Until John Baker's 2011 winning time just shy of 8 days and 19 hours, Buser held the race's speed record for his 2002 finish.

“Martin is driving the SUPER team,” According to a post on the Happy Trails kennel's blog. “... We are pretty jazzed about the potential for the team and Dad. Martin is totally excited to get all the best dogs.”

Calls to the Buser kennel Wednesday night were unsuccessful.

Two other father-son duos are still entered in the 2013 race: Mike Williams Jr. and Sr. of Aniak and defending champion Dallas Seavey and his father, 2004 champ Mitch.

Contact Suzanna Caldwell at suzanna(at)alaskadispatch.com