The World Championships was held at the St Moritz track in Switzerland, which is unique in that it is the only natural track in the world, being fashioned out of the snow along the same historic course each year, whereas all the other bobsleigh tracks are concrete structures, which have to be refrigerated along their length.
The St Moritz track is renowned for being fast, but it is also long, making it a real test of a driver’s skill. It boasts some famous corners, such as Wall, Sunny and Horse-shoe, and has a kink called Nash-Dixon Corner that is named after the British duo Tony Nash and Robin Dixon (now Lord Robin Glentoran) who won the 2-Man Bobsleigh in the1964 Winter Olympics.
St Moritz is a popular winter resort, with horse racing, polo and golf being played on the frozen lake, in addition to the more conventional winter sports. As such, the Bobsleigh World Championships at St Moritz is a showcase event for the teams.
2-Man Bobsleigh Race
The 2-Man bobsleigh race was held over 26thÂ / 27thÂ January and was won in dominant fashion by Francesco Friedrich / Jannis Baecker of Germany, who also set the fastest start time of 4.98 seconds. Such was their pace, Francesco Friedrich / Jannis Baecker finished 0.56 seconds ahead of the 2ndÂ placed Swiss pairing of Beat Hefti / Thomas Lamparter finished and 1.19 seconds clear of the 3rdÂ place German team of Thomas Florscheutz / Andreas Bredau.
The GB1 team of John Jackson / Craig Pickering set a fastest start time of 5.24 seconds and finished in 19thÂ place out of the field of thirty eight bobsleighs. The GB2 team of Lamin Deen / Ben Simons finished in 24thÂ place, their fastest start time being 5.26 seconds.
4-Man Bobsleigh Race 08
The 4-Man bobsleigh race was held over 2ndÂ / 3rdÂ February and provided a thrilling end to the World Championships. Maximilian Arndt / Marko Huebbenbecker / Alexander Roediger / Martin Putze of Germany took a well deserved victory, finishing 0.47 seconds ahead of the Russian team of Alexandr Zubkov / Alexey Negodaylo / Dmitry Trunenkov / Maxim Mokrousov, but behind them, the competition was intense.
On day one, the GB1 team of John Jackson / Stuart Benson / Bruce Tasker / Joel Fearon lay in 13thÂ place after their first run, but another 4.99 second start time and a great drive saw them record the fastest second run time, moving up to 8thÂ place overall overnight, with the Latvian team of Oskars Melbardis / Daumants Dreiskens / Arvis Vilkaste / Intars Dambis setting what was to be the fastest time of the competition, 4.95 seconds.
A good third run saw the GB1 team move up to equal 4thÂ place, just 0.01 off 3rdÂ place, and ahead of 2010 Olympic Champion Steven Holcomb / Justin Olsen / Steven Langton / Curtis Tomasevicz, who put in a stunning final run to claim 3rdplace overall.
The GB1 team of John Jackson / Stuart Benson / Bruce Tasker / Joel Fearon put in their fastest start time of 4.97 seconds on their final run and finished a mere 0.07 seconds away from the bronze medal position, taking a very worthy 5thÂ place overall, a truly fine performance, matching that of Lee Johnston / Steve Smith / Allyn Condon / Dan Money at St Moritz in the 2007 World Championships.
The GB2 team of Lamin Deen / David Coleman / Ben Simons / Andrew Matthews finished in a creditable 23rdÂ place overall, with a fastest start time of 5.26 seconds.
Women’s Bobsleigh Race
The women’s bobsleigh race was held over 25thÂ / 26thÂ January and was led from the very start by Canada’s Kaillie Humphreys / Chelsea Veloise, who won by a convincing 0.68 seconds from Elana Meyers / Katie Erberling of the USA in 2ndÂ place, with the once dominant Sandra Kiriasis / Franziska Bertels of Germany just 0.02 seconds further back in 3rdÂ place.
Having qualified three bobsleighs, Great Britain were unable to capitalise on the form that made this achievement possible. Handicapped by injury, Paula Walker / Gillian Cooke finished in an uncharacteristic 14thÂ place after setting a best start time of 5.62 seconds, 0.2 seconds off the fastest start time of 5.42 seconds set by Elana Meyers / Katie Erberling.
After finishing 19thÂ on day one, Vicky Olaoye / Kelly Denyer did find their form on day two, setting a 5.65 second start time on their way to the 13thÂ fastest down time on their third run, to finish in a creditable 17thÂ place overall.
The young Mica McNeill / Nikki McSweeney got faster with every run, finishing in 20th place after starting in 5.70 seconds on their fourth and final run.
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Race Reports written by Mark Carter – Operations Director