Best-ever 4-man for Hall
Brad Hall recorded his best-ever 4-man finish in the final World Cup race of the season on Sunday as he guided Great Britain to eighth-place in Pyeongchang.
Hall, who is in his first full season driving a 4-man sled, finished ahead of a host of top teams at the venue for next year’s Winter Olympics after clocking a combined time of 1 minute 40.37 seconds, just 0.15 seconds from a medal.
Bruce Tasker and rookies Sam Blanchet and Greg Cackett helped Hall record the joint third-fastest starts in both runs with times at the top of 4.91 and 4.89 seconds, despite never having competed together as a crew. At one stage they were holders of the start record on the Olympic track before being eclipsed by a Latvian crew by just 0.02 seconds.
Despite a starting position of last in the field for Run 1, Hall and co finished ahead of the likes of reigning World Champion Francesco Friedrich and 2010 Olympic Champion Stephen Holcomb just three weeks after they saw their World Championship hopes ended by a dramatic crash in Konigssee.
“That’s a very positive result for Brad in what is his first season as a 4-man pilot. He’s beaten some standout names and it’s even more pleasing considering he missed a large chunk of the season with a serious hand injury,” said GB Bobsleigh Performance Director, Gary Anderson.
To beat the likes of Friedrich and Holcomb is a fantastic achievement for someone so early in their 4-man career. For a crew that has never pushed together in competition to produce such superb start times is equally pleasing and the fact that that crew featured two newcomers to the sport makes it even more impressive.
“Brad, Bruce and Greg all had to deal with the disappointment of crashing at the World Championships and they’ve shown real mental strength to bounce back in this way.
“We certainly won’t get carried away, though: this is a step in the right direction but it’s not where we want to be come the Olympic Games. We want to be challenging for medals in all three disciplines and we know we have a lot of hard work to do to get there over the next 11 months.”
Lamin Deen piloted the second GB crew of Mark Lewis-Francis, Ben Simons and Andrew Matthews to 18th spot in South Korea in a time of 1 minute 41.09 seconds.
Alexander Kasjanov took gold ahead of Switzerland’s Rico Peter, with the Russian also pipping Peter to the overall World Cup title by a total of 29 points. Oskars Kibermanis finished third on the day, with Holcomb bagging overall bronze across the eight-race season.
Saturday’s 2-man action saw Hall and Simons finish 19th, a spot ahead of Tasker and Toby Olubi. With Mica McNeill recovering from concussion, there were no British sleds in Friday’s women’s race.