Back in 2015 Emma Garner was looking for a fresh challenge to push her both physically and mentally. Taking inspiration from 90s comedy Cool Runnings she decided to try out for the Royal Air Force Bobsleigh Team. The RAF compete in two-person bobsleighs crewed by a driver and brakeman. Invited to attend novice training as a brakeman at Igls in Austria, she soon found herself careening down the course on her first ever week on ice.
“I remember the anticipation the first time I was nudged off the start and the exhilaration at making it down the track first time without my novice driver crashing. Some people weren’t so lucky.”
Emma went on to compete at the RAF Championships and Inter-Service Championships in Winterberg, Germany. Paired with an ex-Great Britain driver Emma competed against the Royal Navy and Army. The pair ended up achieving the titles of Inter-Service Female Bobsleigh Champions and RAF Female Bobsleigh Champions for 2016.
Emma’s dream to make the shift from brakeman to driver got a boost when she was invited back to the RAF Novice Training Camp in January to learn to drive a Bobsleigh. Endace has been happy to help Emma realise her dream by sponsoring her, helping to cover the accommodation, travel and sled maintenance costs.
Back on the ice at the Olympic bobsleigh track in La Plagne, France, Emma spent an intensive five days getting to grips with the very different set of skills required for driving a bobsleigh. Each morning started with walking the track to learn how to take each corner. At each corner Emma had to visualise at which point to steer to manipulate the pressure on the sled and how it should react, but inevitably in such a high-speed sport things didn’t always go to plan as Emma experienced on her second day.
“I entered corner fifteen too sharply which meant that I was too high in the bend too late and dropped out of the corner onto the ice on two runners. My brakeman and I slid the rest of the way to the finish on our heads in true Cool Runnings style.”
On another day she had to contend with losing visibility when a visor malfunction left her eyes exposed to the rush of frozen air. Driving a bobsleigh is not for the faint of heart.
Emma is hoping to be picked as a driver for this year’s championships.