Summerland’s Justin Kripps will make his debut in the pilot’s seat at the next World Cup bobsleigh race to be held in Whistler Feb. 4 and 5.
The World Cup circuit is not new to Kripps. He has won several medals including a gold, but that was while serving in the brake position on Team Lueders.
After the 2010 Olympics, Kripps decided to try driving the sled. He has rapidly learned the ropes, winning several gold medals on the America’s Cup circuit and putting in a creditable performance while recently learning the European tracks.
With the recent unfortunate crash in Germany of Team Spring, who were representing Canada as Canada #2, Kripps will now pilot the Canada #2 sled.
“It will be a bittersweet race for me and the guys,” he said in his recent blog posting at www.justinkripps.ca.
“I’ll be racing with Derek Plug, Tim Randall and James McNaughton. Derek and Tim normally race on Team Spring, who were involved in a brutal crash in training for the Altenberg World Cup.
“Thankfully, everyone is okay. But Chris Spring, Bill Thomas and Graeme Rinholm are likely out for the season. Tim was also in the sled, but was able to walk away and is still able to race this season.
“I’m excited to race in the World Cups in the Canada #2 spot.
“However, it was my hope at the start of the year to race alongside Team Spring in these World Cups.
“It sucks that he has had his season cut short like this. Chris is a hell of an athlete and a great guy and I can’t wait to race alongside him when he has recovered from his injuries.”
Kripps looks forward to racing on his two home tracks, Whistler first and then the following weekend in the World Cup in Calgary.
Then he is expected to represent Canada in the 2012 Bobsleigh World Championships in Lake Placid, NY, at the end of February.
Kripps will be competing in both two-man and four-man events. Broadcasts of all three championships will be live at www.bobsleigh.com, the official website of the International Bobsleigh Federation.
Canadian bobsleigh legend Pierre Lueders is Kripps’s driving coach and it will be something of a homecoming for the two to be back at Whistler. In 2007, these two were the first sledders to ‘test the then brand new Olympic track. Lueders was in the drivers seat and Kripps on the brakes. This time it will be Kripps in the driver’s seat with Lueders coaching from the side.