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OLYMPIC BOBSLEIGH TEAM  

In 1967 HJC was invited to join he RAF Bobsleigh team in ST. Moritz. Riding as brakeman in the No.2 2 man bob, he experienced a crash near the finish at 80 mph which dragged him along ice, under the bob, causing massive bruising not ever seen in his rugby playing days. 

HJC as brake man in the 2 man 'bob'

Otherwise unhurt, he was selected that year as a member of the Great Britain No. 2 4 man bob team of John Blockey (Pilot and driver) Mike Freeman, ( Navigator and brakeman), Tim Thorn (Pilot) and HJC (Parachute Jumping Instructor). All of the team were rugby players too! 

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Other team members were Robin Widdows, the Formula 1 racing driver, Prince Michael of Kent and Tony Nash and Robin Dixon – winners of the Olympic 2 man bob in 1964. The team arrived at Alpe d’Huez for the World Championships on the track selected for the Winter Olympic Games the following year. The new track had been built on the south side of the mountain, above the treeline and was therefore exposed to the sun all day. As a result, the ice melted and became dangerous so the championships were abandoned. Urgent action was necessary so the organisers installed refrigeration on the bends to try to achieve a safe track.


During the summer 1968 HJC received a call from John Blockey telling him that he had been selected for the Olympic team which he readily accepted. That year the European Championships were held in St. Moritz and the RAF BOB team won the Bronze medal – the highest placing ever by a British 4 man bob.

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There are 4 riders on this 'bob' it shows perfect technique in keeping low to reduce drag


His daughter Caroline was born in 1968. The team moved on to the Alpe d’Huez with high hopes. In the event, the refrigeration had not worked and the Olympic competition was reduced to two practice runs and two competition runs held at 2 0’clock in the morning as opposed to the normal 10 practice runs and 4 competition runs. The team was 17th in the competition.
On returning from the Olympics both the Summer and Winter Olympics members attended a reception in their honour at Buckingham Palace. On this occasion a rare film was being made entitled ‘The Royal Family’. HJC is recognisable in the footage ‘if you don’t blink’ he says.
It is interesting to record that there is a maximum total weight of the bobsleigh and its riders of 630kg’s. It was necessary to ride at full weight to take advantage of its momentum, so iron weights were added to achieve it. Just like a jockey it is better to ride live weight so the team was pushing the lightest bobsleigh for fast starts. The RAF no.2 British bob, with its rugby playing riders, managed to achieve that.  

   

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