GB1 return to bobsleigh action
Brad Hall says the GB1 Men’s Bobsleigh team are excited to be back but have no expectations as they return to action this weekend after missing the opening two races of the season due to injury.
Hall, Arran Gulliver, Taylor Lawrence, Greg Cackett and Leon Greenwood enjoyed a sensational season last time out, winning 11 World Cup medals and GB ‘s first 4-man World Championship silverware for 84 years.
They had hoped to kick on in the second year of the Olympic cycle but Hall instead underwent back surgery and Gulliver and Cackett battled serious injuries in pre-season, meaning they didn’t travel to Beijing for the season opener or compete in La Plagne last weekend.
Having initially feared they might miss the full season, then aimed for a post-Christmas comeback, the boys are now all set to make the line up for this weekend’s 2 and 4-man competitions in Igls.
“Me and the team are extremely excited to be back as part of the World Cup and just to be away on season,” said Hall.
We thought there might be a possibility that it wouldn’t be happening this year but we’re all here after my back surgery; two surgeries for Arran; and Greg’s hamstring injury. We’re looking forward to getting going now.
“We started training here in Innsbruck only a week ago with me just sitting in the sled and hoping my back would be able to tolerate going down the track. We passed that test and then we’ve been slowly increasing things. I’m now able to push a sled, jump in and get down, so I’m happy to be able to achieve that at this stage.
“We’re taking things easy leading into this weekend, though. Even though it’s a race, we don’t see it like that - we’re just participating in it, we’re not racing. We’ve got no expectations except to go out and enjoy it.”
The 2022/23 season was a truly outstanding one for GB1
With limited time together in a sled and massively disrupted training schedules over the summer, Hall and his team are realistic about where they sit in the World cup picture right now despite their success last season.
Their focus has long been on the World Championships in Winterberg in February and March rather than on winning on the World Cup circuit so Saturday and Sunday is all about getting the show back on the road as opposed to worrying about push times and performances.
“It’s going to be a slow burner for us this season building up to the World Championships,” added Hall, who led his team to Overall World Cup medals in the 2-man, 4-man and Combined competitions last term.
“Today was actually our very first 4-man push together as a crew since we were in Innsbruck for the World Cup race last season. Because of all of our injuries, we haven’t done a 4-man push all summer so that’s a nice thing to come back to.
We’re only going to have three 4-man runs before the race but we’re really looking forward to it and we’re really excited to see everyone at the track again.
“Everyone knows that Greg and Arran aren’t 100 per cent and neither am I. We’re just reintroducing ourselves to bobsleigh and hoping that everything goes to plan and we come out the other side in one piece - that’s the main objective of the weekend.”
Hall and Lawrence start their season with the 2-man event from 12.30pm GMT on Saturday before they are joined by Gulliver and Cackett in the 4-man at the same time on Sunday.
This week’s World Cup action begins with the World Cup debut as a pilot for Adele Nicoll in the Women’s Monobob from 7.30am on Friday, before Matt Weston, Marcus Wyatt and Tabby Stoecker look to repeat last week’s medal winning efforts in the Men’s and Women’s Skeleton at 10.30am and 2.30pm.
Nikki McSweeney pilots the GB team in the Women’s Bobsleigh at 9am on Sunday.