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Civilians v RAF charity bobsleigh challenge

A team of very brave civilians have challenged the Royal Air Force to a two man bobsleigh race, in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. Rosie Gibbons from our fundraising team tells us more.

The civilian bobsleigh team in training

The main RAF bobsleigh team selected their four best novice riders, to pit their wits against a very determined civilian squad.

The event took place in Austria, during the recent RAF's novice week.  It was the perfect venue for amateurs to perform this amazing challenge, hosting a track covering 1220m with 14 bends and speeds in excess of 75mph.

RAF bobsleigh team at the top of the runTo the untrained eye, bobsleighing looks like a simple, adrenaline fuelled sport.  Of course it’s certainly adrenaline fuelled, but simple it is not!

Whether training or racing, every day involves the teams collecting the bobsleds from their overnight sheds and loading on to the van, with each sled weighing a minimum of 200kg.

Each one then has to be thoroughly checked and blades rubbed down to make them as safe and as fast as possible and this is done by the team members themselves, no technical teams.

Once the bobsleds are ready, the teams then need to get themselves physically warmed up and mentally focused by completing a track walk before final stretches and getting themselves ‘in the zone’.

If a run is completed crash free, then the bobsled needs to be removed from the track and loaded back on to the van.  If a crash happens, this can take an enormous mental and physical strain on the body.

At the end of the day, all bobsleds need to be packed into the van, taken back to storage, unloaded and cleaned down.  All of this is done by the teams themselves - making for a very long day.

The overall result for the charity challenge was taken from the best civilian team, over two races on two days, against the best RAF novice team.

The overall victors by the narrowest of margins - eleven hundredths of a second - (0.11secs) - were the RAF.  A truly amazing week for the team, despite a number of hair-raising crashes during training.

As well as taking part in last week's challenge, the team have also spent the past 14 months raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund through other events such as a sponsored walk, skydive, 24 hour darts marathon, charity disco and auction as well as attending three airshows. Money is still rolling in, and there is another concert event still to happen in January.

This event has been fully supported by the Royal Air Force Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Association whose help and support throughout has been second to none, a huge thank you to everyone involved.

The team has been sponsored by the Alan Boswell Group and the team's winter Clothing provided by Dare2b.

A huge well done and thank you to everyone involved!

By Rosie Gibbons

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