The RAF Bobsleigh Team has been competing for over 30 years and has provided Athletes opportunities to compete at Inter Service (IS) level all the way to the Winter Olympics in both Male and Female Teams. A noticeable rise in successes of the Team and individuals over the last 6 years has been enhanced by providing Athletes with the right kit and equipment to give them the platform to allow them to display their talents and produce some incredible results.
The Female Team have retained IS Champions between 2013 to 2018 against some fierce competition including an Army team which had a 2 x Olympian Athlete. The Male Team have produced impressive results having won 4 of last 6 IS, competing against an Olympic Bronze medallist Royal Navy and GB Bobsled Pilot and an Army GB Bobsled Pilot Olympian. Arguably you could say that the Teams are competing at an international level with their competition often coming straight off the World Cup circuit to compete against them.
Despite the high level of Athletes competing at IS Champs the Sport is not elitist and our most recent Athlete Cpl Shanwayne Stephens was taken from a grassroots novice Athlete and developed into an International Athlete who is now in training with the Jamaican Bobsled Team on the Elite Athlete Scheme. Additionally the most recent IS Champs the Team were sourced mainly from grassroots Novice Athletes which led the path for rising stars to be Talent ID and selected to take part in the IBSF Bobsled Driving and Coaching Development Camp in Lake Placid, USA. In attendance for the RAF Team were SAC(T) Rhiannon Walton, SAC Jack Hughes and Cpl Oliver Jinks.
Rhiannon attended the RAF Novice Ice Champs on Nov 18 at Igls, Austria, and after successfully was selected to compete at the IS Champs in Konigssee, Germany in Feb 19 where she impressively placed 1st Individual with her Pilot Cpl Melissa Benfield. Rhiannon then attended the Camp and competed in the Monobob Race against Olympian Bobsled Athletes taking 8th Place, an incredible performance from a Novice Athlete. SAC Jack Hughes a 2 x Interservice RAF Athlete having most recently competed as a Pilot at IS Chaps and, Cpl Oliver Jinks a Novice Athlete Brakeman also both selected to take part in the Camp. This saw Jack piloting 2 Man Bob and both Athletes also pushing 4 Man Bob for Shan’s Jamaican Team, again both producing solid performance and attitude to the Sport.
The Team runs Trials 2 x year in the Summer months to allow for selection to the Novice Ice Champs usually held in Igls, Austria, which then can lead to selection for IS Champs. Also to make sure the Team remain current and competitive an Intermediate RAF Champs Camp is held usually at the Track that IS will be run on to allow the Athletes an opportunity to refresh technical skills and prepare for IS Champs.