Kripps drives Canadian bobsleigh crew in 2nd place on tough Winterberg track
Canada’s Justin Kripps and his bobsleigh team of Ben Coakwell, Ryan Sommer and Cam Stones will return from Germany with their first podium of the season after finishing second in Sunday’s World Cup event in Winterberg.
They clocked a two-run time of one minute 48.70 seconds on a difficult 15-turn track to finish behind Germans Francesco Friedrich, Alexander Schuelller, Thorsten Margis and Candy Bauer, who clocked a time of 1:48, 13.
“We are happy to have opened our season with a silver medal at Winterberg which is our best ever result on this track,” Sommer told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton as the team prepared to travel to St Moritz, Switzerland, for the next competition.
“We had a really good execution on our two runs. It’s something we’ve been working on this offseason. Being able to run on race day is exactly what we wanted to do.”
WATCH | Justin Kripps leads the Canadian crew to the podium on their season debut:
Friedrich made bobsleigh history on Sunday by tying a driver’s World Cup winning record with number 46. Germany’s Andre Lange took 45 wins while another German, the retired driver Sandra Kiriasis, won 46 World Cup races during her career.
Friedrich is a nine-time world champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and has simply been dominant in his sport for the past three years. In his last 47 international races, starting with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, Friedrich has 36 gold, six silver and two bronze – never finishing below fifth.
The Austrian side of Benjamin Maier, Kristian Huber, Markus Sammer and Sascha Stepan finished third on Sunday in 1: 48.89.
“This track is tough because the Germans have a million practice races here and the weather is still terrible,” said Kripps of Summerland, BC, who turned 34 on Wednesday. “It can also be tricky here because it can make you fall asleep at the top where there is no speed or pressure, and sometimes you don’t pay attention to the details that build up what little speed you have for the bottom.”
Sunday was the sixth top-three finish for the Canadian crew that won bronze at the 2019 world championships. It is the ninth career medal in the four-man bobsleigh as a pilot for Kripps, whose Previous best result in the Winterberg event was fourth at the 2017 World Cup.
Canadian bobsleigh athletes trained at home for the first half of the World Cup season due to international travel risks associated with COVID-19.
“Our team’s motto has always been to ‘stay ready’ because we never really knew when we were going to have the chance to race this year,” said Sommer of White Rock, BC, the youngest member of the team. the team at 27. “We were very happy to go out today and set the trails we’ve been doing – from the start and throughout Justin’s ride. We really wanted this for each other today.
Elsewhere, Chris Spring of Vancouver and his team of Mark Mlakar of Mississauga, Ont., Shaq Murray Lawrence of Toronto and Mike Evelyn of Ottawa, won a European Cup four-man bobsleigh race on Sunday in Altenberg, Germany. . Spring’s sled finished ahead of the German sleds piloted by Maximilian Illmann and Hans-Peter Hannighofe.