John Jackson and his crew of Bruce Tasker, Joel Fearon and Stuart Benson gave the rest of the field in the Four Man GB Bobsleigh Championships a lesson in just what Â standard is required to make it to the top in the sport. Speaking after having won his … sixth British Four Man title, Jackson explained that it was hard coming back into a competitive environment after the Olympics. The Olympics had been a tough haul, especially after having ruptured his achilles last summer and so to finish fifth, just eleven hundredths off a medal was testament to the hard work put in, he felt.
Four man bobsleigh is the blue ribbon of the sliding world. Britain may have won Gold in the women’s skeleton, but the four man is the final event of the sliding competition and carries an enormous amount of prestige. To go from Sochi to Igls for the British Championships, is a huge change yet Jackson and his crew felt that while the competition was not great, there was a need to head to Igls for the sponsors, the directors and also the rest of the field, to show then just what was required.
The winning margin was over three seconds, almost an eternity in this sport where hundredths separate winners from also rans. The margin was not important it was the manner in which the Olympic crew carried off the win that was important. It is at events like this that the crews of Ross Brown and Mark Carter can see just how far they have to go to reach the standards set by Jackson.
Jackson was happy with the win: “We have come here after the Olympics and put a show on as GB1. The teams that we were competing against were more enthusiasts coming into the sport. For us it was not really a competition but we felt obliged to be here as we are funded athletes and wanted to put on a show for the board, the spectators and the new people coming in to the sport.”
It is all about inspiring the next generation to be better than they think they can be Jackson feels. “We are aspiring to be better than what we are,” he explained.
For Jackson it has been a hard week with running two man bobs and then doing taxi runs for guests. When you pilot the taxi bob down it is very slow at the top as the crew all sit in the sled from the beginning. To suddenly then change that and go into the full speed start, can be difficult. For Jackson, a consummate professional, he took it all in his stride. “It was nice to get a little bit of speed back in the sled,” he explained. “The runs were not perfect but they were not I needed to do today.”
Jackson will now take some time away from the bob itself to focus on rehab on his achilles so that he is ready for the new season by the middle of the summer. This season has been painful for him with the injury and it was all about just getting through the season. “To have even made it to the Olympics and competed, and come fifth just off a medal and I was not even seven months post operation, is a fantastic achievement.”
Pictures from the event are on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com
Picture is of John Jackson and his crew getting into the sled at the start in Igls at the British Championships on March 8. Picture RACER READY