Page 16 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
P. 16

Bobsleigh Army Ice Sports “Fear is a reaction Courage is a decision”
If you have ever watched Cool Runnings and thought... ‘how on this green earth do I join a Bobsleigh Team?’
The Army has its very own Bobsleigh Team, which for some has proven to be the gateway into international level sports. The season runs from Dec – Mar each year and consists of 3 Camps.
• Racing Ice I – Comprises of 2 individual novice training weeks in December.
• Racing Ice II – The Army Championships (1 week).
• Racing Ice III – 1 week of squad training, and 1 week of Inter Services Racing (2 weeks).
Bobsleigh is an intense and physically demanding sport. It epitomises Army Values and is a unique way of pushing soldiers and officers way outside their comfort zone. Its extreme nature requires huge amounts of courage, discipline, selfless commitment, team loyalty and physical robustness. Sliders can expect to reach speeds of up to 130kph, whilst they navigate the icy track. Army Bobsleigh provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to access this unusual, adrenaline sport, with a view to representing individual Units, Cap badges and the Army, furthermore becoming a part of the ice sports family.
Bob is sliding, bob is sliding, bob crashed! The Army hosts novice training late November to early December each year, offering young aspiring athletes the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Bobsleigh and attempt both braking and driving a 2 man/woman team. The camp is split over two separate weeks, allowing athletes the flexibility to choose which they wish to attend. The camp benefits from top class coaching from 2 of our ex GB and Olympic athletes who go right back to basics, teaching the technical aspect of the sled and sliding dynamics through to how the team should operate. By day 2 the novices will experience their first slide from the ladies (Damen) start. Despite this being a ‘gentle’ build up to driving the track from the top... it may still resemble being re-born through the screaming jaws of the sound barrier itself, as the sled generates speeds of up to 100kph on the
training runs. Once they have mastered handling the sled from the training ramp, they get to go ‘off the top’.
It helps to arrive prepared for the extreme sport, with a fair level of physical fitness and robust and positive attitude to get from ‘zero to hero’ on the mountain. Safety is of utmost importance and sliders must confirm their aptitude for piloting the sled before those spikes touch the ice, but the exhilarating feeling of successfully piloting a Bobsleigh down the mountain, is irreplaceable. With all in it together, these training camps forge long lasting friendships, as the teams survive the week with that “holy mother of Bobsleigh!” feeling!
EX RACING ICE II – Army Novice, Junior and Senior Bobsleigh Championships
After successfully completing the novice training camp in Igls, Austria, new sliders advanced to Konigssee, Germany for the Army Championships. The new and technical track proved to be challenging terrain for the teams, resulting in a few spills out of the notorious 360 degree turn, un-affectionately named Kreisel. The driving finesse required for these new turns meant that even a sniff of complacency meant Kreisel would swallow you whole, chew you up and release you back to the world the wrong way up! The rest of the track was equally as challenging to navigate as it threatened to shake each sliding team upside down for their CILOR, if they dared reinvent the driving lines offered by the coaches.
The Deutsch Post Eis Arena was situated at the foot of Lake Konigssee, surrounded by snow tipped mountains, overlooked by the infamous Eagles Nest. Pilots would walk the track every morning with the coaches to revise the best lines to take, and the brakeman and women would be preparing the sled for the days training. As the lights turned green and the cheeky track voice would announce the track is clear for the ‘next contender’, each team battled through the week to improve their times and build up to their best standard by race day, enduring the ups and downs. The Army Championships race was held on the final Friday over two Laufs (slides). It was a close race, with only seconds separating the teams, but there can be only one winner! The results for the Army Championships, Konigssee 2019 from the AMS are:
• Female Army Champions Capt Sarah Smith AGC (ETS) & SSgt Zoe Beckett RADC
• Female Runners Up Capt Jo Ellett & Cpl Dom Burge QARANC
• Fastest Brakewoman Cpl Dom Burge QARANC
EX RACING ICE III – UK Armed Forces Inter Services Championships The Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Airforce advanced on Konigssee for an ice war. The services came armed with a sliding force ranging from complete novices to Olympians. Even Team Jamaica made the coolest of appearances, with Shan Williams of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team sliding on behalf of the RAF. The
By SSgt Zoe Beckett

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