JOHN Jackson is hoping that his Great Britain team can build on the positive finish to their last campaign when the new bobsleigh season gets underway next month.
The Trowbridge-based GB1 pilot, 35, will again lead the two and four-man crews again and is buoyed by the host of top 10 finishes his team secured in World and Europa Cup events towards the end of last season.
Jackson, who trains at Team Bath and is also a physical training instructor with the Royal Marines, says he has reason for optimism as the new World Cup series grows closer, but is also exercising caution as he continues to prepare his team for the crucial Winter Olympic qualifying season in 2013-2014.
“At the start of this season, the guys are hungry for it and they want to show the rest of the world that they’ve improved – they’re chomping at the bit,” said Jackson, who lives in Paxcroft Mead with partner and women’s GB1 pilot Paula Walker.
“Because we had a brand new team last season, rather than throwing everyone in front of the television cameras on the big stage, we thought why not take some of them in to the Europa Cup level so that the guys could learn when there’s no pressure.
“It wasn’t until we hit the last three races when things were coming together and that’s when we got the 10th, the eighth and the tenth-placed (four-man) finish at the world champs (in Lake Placid, USA).
“We’re ranked 11th in the world and we’re looking to step up and be consistently within that top 10 group.
“A lot of it will come down to what the rest of the world are doing. You hear little snippets, people put things on YouTube and push tracks records are being broken.
“We’re making steps forward but how big a step is it compared to the rest of the world?
“The glass is definitely half-full and we’re pushing so much better than last year but I don’t want to get too carried away.”
Stage one of the new World Cup series gets underway at Lake Placid on November 5.