BRITISH number one women’s driver Paula Walker is confident her preparations are on track as she prepares to start what could be the biggest season of her life tomorrow.
Walker, who lives in Paxcroft Mead, Trowbridge, with Great Britain men’s number one John Jackson, gets her FIBT World Cup two-man campaign under way in Calgary, Canada, with the spectre of the Olympic Games in Sochi now a little more than two months away.
Walker and brakewoman Rebekah Wilson, who have been sponsored by Trowbridge butchers Walter Rose & Sons this season, start their competitive season at 9pm (British time), aiming to build on last year’s ninth-placed finish in the World Cup.
Walker, 11th on her Olympic debut in Vancouver nearly four years ago, said: “This time of year is always quite hard to gauge yourself.
“Both Bex (Wilson) and I are in good shape and know that we are up on previous years but, until we race in Calgary, we won't have a clue where we are in the World.
"The Olympics is inevitably in the back of our minds, but just like everyone else we have to approach all World Cups with the view to do our best and achieve the qualification.’’
Walker spent a spell in Sochi prior to the start of the season, getting the feel for the track on which she will do battle for an Olympic medal in February.
She said: “It’s taken me quite some time to get to grips with the track, which is unusual, but we have gained some great insight.
“I have definitely come away with more knowledge and ironed out a few driving lines that I made mistakes there last year.
“I would like to see results from the very beginning (of the season). We have tailored our physical plans to be in good shape from the first race.
“We are at a slight disadvantage that we only have six runs on the (north American) tracks when the likes of Canada, USA and Russia all have been training here.
“But we will approach it in the same manner that has produced results before.’’
Follow the progress of both Paula Walker and John Jackson in the World Cup series and Winter Olympics this season at wiltshiretimes.co.uk/sport and in the Wiltshire Times