Japanese bobsled pleases Jamaican duo
Pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian says she and national teammate Carrie Russell are adjusting well to their new Shitamachi bobsled.
This sled was the product of a partnership between the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation and seven Japanese factories. It is being tested in competition to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Fenlator-Victorian says that she has tested three of the five sleds given to team Jamaica and she says that she is "greatly impressed" by their performances so far.
"Yes, some things needed to be changed, but the material itself was just so smooth to drive, easy to manipulate and personalise per pilot, and very, very safe. If it crashed or took some bumps along the way, the material helped protect the athletes. Those are great qualities to have in a sled."
Her teammate, brakewoman Carrie Russell, agrees with this.
"Our sled is one of the first complete carbon fibre sleds. It isn't mixed with anything. The only difference is this sled controls all the vibration because the carbon fibre absorbs it, unlike metal. That's what would make our sled faster. I learnt a lot in that one-month time period. I learnt how to evaluate and time the G-Force, how to set myself in the sled, and how to turtle up [compact position while inside the sled]."
Fenlator-Victorian says that she made a few adjustments to the sled during the races that the team contested in the North American Cup late last year, and she is looking to make more.
"Working with them closely, always communicating, giving them feedback, telling them what I'm doing to make changes to make the sled run better for future development is huge, and they're always open to hearing my thoughts," she says. "They always want to keep pushing the envelope to have the best machine."
Fenlator-Victorian, who previously competed for the United States, says back then, she drove a sled made by BMW and it was considered the fastest in the world at the time. However, she says these days, other manufacturers are producing what she describes as good-quality sleds that she says have "leveled the playing field".
She says that by the start of the Pyeongchang Games, the aim is for team Jamaica to be the best prepared of all bobsled teams.
"That's when we want to bring out our prime-time sled. We want to roll up to the Olympics with the fastest sled possible, the fastest crew possible, and the best driver possible. That's the goal."