Cackett keen to cause a shock

Cackett keen to cause a shock

Greg Cackett hopes his GB1 4-man crew can once again cause a major shock when they take to the ice at the World Championships in Winterberg this morning.

Cackett, Brad Hall, Taylor Lawrence and Arran Gulliver made history by winning the country’s first 4-man World Championship medal for 84 years in St Moritz last season but making the podium this weekend would arguably be an even bigger upset.

While he and his team were winning medals week in, week out on the World Cup circuit last term, injuries have decimated their season this time around as Hall underwent back surgery in the summer; Gulliver suffered groin and latterly hamstring issues that have ruled him out of the championships; and Cackett dealt with a horrendous hamstring tear in July.

Those setbacks limited their ice time in pre-season and reduced the number of races they’ve been able to compete in since, meaning they sit 22nd in the IBSF world rankings and hold an unfavourable start draw of 17th for the first of the four runs this morning.

“We’re super hopeful that, despite our impaired start draw, we can go out and shock a few people,” said Cackett, who is competing at his fifth World Championships.

“We’re chomping at the bit, to be honest. We’ve had a lot of time away from the ice with all the injuries and we’ve had a lot of time off competing since our last race after we took a stand and pulled out of Altenberg in support of the Swiss team who were badly injured in a crash.

But the last time we went out and raced (in Lillehammer in January), we won bronze. Leon’s (Greenwood) come in and done an amazing job. We were back in the top three in the world and that’s where we believe we should be. Hopefully, that’s where we’ll be this weekend.

“We want to show world that we are one of the best bobsleigh nations and one of the best crews around. We want to keep rewriting history for Great Britain in sliding sports. That’s the goal.”

RXR 7011

GB1 won World Cup bronze in Lillehammer in late January

There’s no doubt it’s a lofty goal: the severity of the injuries the crew have been dealing with; the tough start draw; and the fact that the race takes place on German ice just a week after the home nation took a clean sweep of the medals in the 2-man competition, definitely puts Cackett and co behind the eight ball but the team are no strangers to adversity and are therefore confident they can come away with a medal.

They were self funded for the last Olympic cycle and have dealt with setback after setback during the 34-year-old’s time in the sport so standing on the start line knowing they have a battle on their hands to succeed is nothing new.

“This crew is no stranger to setbacks and challenges. We honestly do love the opportunity to show that, even with impaired preparation, we're still one of the top three nations,” added Cackett. 

It’s definitely been a tough season. There were a lot of unknowns for the crew - Arran was struggling before he had to eventually pull out of the Worlds; Leon hadn't raced in a world-class crew until this season; myself and Brad were forcing ourselves to race in a fair bit of pain (Taylor is bionic so just carries on as usual); so we weren't sure what to expect. But we're quite a pragmatic bunch with a lot of self belief so we knew that, whatever happened, we would improve week on week.

“The challenge has been for Taylor and Leon really, pushing a sled that Brad and I have been struggling on. But we've accepted our reality each week and done our best to get on with it.

“We’re not at 100 per cent fitness wise but we're in a much better place. Personally, it's been a mental as well as physical slog - my body’s been grumbling all the way back after such a long time out and it’s taken it a while to acclimate to what I need it to do. But the pain’s decreased a lot recently and I’ve been able to train more effectively so I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve come into good condition right on time, which is great.

Our crew is particularly close and has become that way due to the route to success we had to take when we were unfunded. We've relied on each other a lot over the years and that’s bonded us. The camaraderie in the team is pretty special.

“We've become closer than ever recently as well, particularly after the togetherness we showed in pulling out of the Altenberg World Cup in solidarity with our injured Swiss colleagues. I’m proud to be part of a crew that operates at the top level both in terms of performance level and sportsmanship and I'm incredibly grateful to Graham (Head Coach, Graham Richardson), Mark (Performance Director, Mark Silva) and the whole of the BBSA for supporting us in taking a stand there.

“We’re hugely motivated to do well here, and we genuinely feel that - despite the setbacks - we’ve got a good chance of doing that.”

This year’s World Championships take place in Winterberg, Germany from February 22nd - March 3rd, with the schedule as follows:

Thurs 22 - Sun 25 Feb
Women's Skeleton: Stoecker 4th; Coltman 6th
Men's Skeleton: Weston 2nd; Wyatt 4th; Thompson 8th
Skeleton Mixed Team Competition: Stoecker & Weston 2nd; Coltman & Wyatt 4th
Women's Monobob: Nicoll 9th
2-man Bobsleigh: Hall & Lawrence 4th; Stanbridge & Hullah 23rd

Fri 1 Mar
Women's Bobsleigh Heats 1&2

Sat 2 Mar
4-man Bobsleigh Heats 1&2 9am
Women's Bobsleigh Heats 3&4 1.30pm

Sun 3 Mar
4-man Bobsleigh Heats 3&4 1pm

All races will be shown live on the IBSF YouTube channel and website