TROWBRIDGE pilot John Jackson says that his GB1 team have been given a lift by the arrival of international sprinter Craig Pickering.
The 26-year-old, who missed out on competing in London 2012 through injury, helped Paxcroft Mead’s Jackson to finish 19th in the two-man event at last weekend’s FIBT World Cup series round in Königssee, Germany.
Pickering opted to switch from athletics to bobsleigh after losing his Lottery funding and Jackson, who was 10th in the four-man event with Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon on board, is hoping that the sprint track’s loss is the ice track’s gain.
“I think the addition of Craig to the team is a big boost to the team,” said Jackson.
“Considering he has only done limited technique work at Bath University and only had four training runs on ice prior to the race, I think he did really well.
“With the guys on the four man team last year, it took over half a season to start to work out how to push a sled rather than running with a sled. “I believe that Craig has come in at a higher level, but will be better next year, whether that is with the two or four man.
“The four man is going well too.
“We are still ranked top five in the world rankings and would have had a top six finish, if not for a mistake at the start of run one.”
Meanwhile, GB1 women’s pilot Paula Walker, who lives with Jackson at Paxcroft Mead, was seventh in Königssee, with Kelly Denyer as her brakewoman after regular partner Gillian Cooke suffered an injury during the pair’s crash in Altenberg last week.
Walker said: “Seventh place matches our place from last year’s race and, with slower start times, shows that the driving and equipment is coming along.
“Altenberg was such a great shame for us. Had we made it down, I'm pretty confident we would have gone home with silver. But crashing is a part of our sport and although we were devastated, we now know it is truly within us to win medals on a difficult track.”
The next round of the two-man world cup begins today in Igls, Austria, with the World Championships in St. Moritz just a week away.