Chris Spring Drives to Career Best Bobsleigh World Championship Result with Lascelles Brown
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton —Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz jump into eighth place on final day of two-man—
IGLS, Aut.—Chris Spring teamed up with Lascelles Brown to match his best-ever Bobsleigh World Championship result when he was sixth in the men’s two-man race on Sunday in Igls, Austria.
Building on a golden breakthrough in Whistler just weeks ago where Brown pushed Spring to his first-career victory in the two-man race, the Calgary duo were in the medal mix again during the World Championship race held over two days. The top Canadian sled posted a time of 3:26.78.
“I was happy with the way we executive. We pushed as hard as we could, I literally drove as I best I could, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” said Spring, who along with Brown, were also sixth at the 2013 World Championships in St. Moritz. “I think overall I was happy with the way we performed but just disappointed that given our best it wasn’t enough to win a medal.”
The Canadians kicked off the four-run race with the eighth fastest time on the flat 1,438-metre track. They bolted three spots up the standings in the second heat after cleaning up the top part of the track where they made some costly mistakes. The Canucks held their spot in the top-five until dropping one spot into sixth.
“I’ve had some success here in Igls in the past. I am a track record holder here before,” added Spring. “I understand there is a lot of finesse that goes into the track to build speed. People think it is just your start time that is key here, but there are places to build you speed and separate yourself from the field. I did put together four good runs but the biggest blemish was in my exit of Kreisel into corner eight on the first run. It is a relatively flat section and I lost some time there.”
“I struggled with my sled early on this year. It is not an easy sled to deal with and it took a number of races to get something a little more manageable for me to drive. But having Lascelles on my sled makes a big difference with the confidence he instills in me.”
Canada’s Justin Kripps (Summerland, B.C.) and Alex Kopacz (London, Ont.) fought to the end for an eighth-place finish. Bouncing around 10th place over the first three runs, the Canadians moved up two spots into eighth at 3:27.31 when dust settled at the finish.
The Germans slid to the top-two spots of the men’s World Championship bobsleigh podium. Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis were crowned two-man champs with a time of 3:26.09. Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm celebrated the silver medal at 3:26.26, while Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann won the race for the bronze medal at 3:26.31.
Nick Poloniato (Hamilton), and Calgary’s Josh Kirpatrick finished 21st and did not qualify for the final run.
Spring will be back on the start line with his four-man crew in one week’s time.
“The boys are hungry in the four man and I am as well. I haven’t had much success in four man this year, but typically I feel I’m a better four-man pilot, and I feel comfortable driving the big sled. Hopefully we’ll put all the pieces together.”
The Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships continue with the men’s skeleton race, February 18.
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Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Bobsleigh Results:
1. Friedrich/Margis, GER, 3:26.09; 2. Lochner/Bluhm, GER, 3:26.26; 3. Hefti/Baumann, SUI, 3:26.31; 4. Tasker/Fearon, GBR, 3:26.51; 5. Melbardis/Dreiskens, LAT, 3:26.59
6. Spring, Calgary/Brown, Calgary, 3:26.78; 8. Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Kopacz, London, Ont., 3:27.31; 21. Poloniato, Hamilton/Kirkpatrick, Calgary, DNQ
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