Alan Toward will represent Team GB during the Bobsleigh World Championships in Canada in March.
Alan Toward will represent Team GB during the Bobsleigh World Championships in Canada in March.

DALE bobsledder Alan Toward is heading back to north America for a tilt at the world championships as part of the four-man GB squad.

After competing in the North American Cup series before Christmas, the Middleton-in-Teesdale athlete has found the going tougher after returning to Europe for the BMW IBSF World Cup races.

The 26-year-old is part of the GB sled piloted by Olympic veteran Brad Hall which also features Nick Gleeson and Ben Simons.

The team finished 15th and 17th at Winterberg, Germany, before Christmas, with Adam Hames sitting in for the injured Nick Gleeson in the second race.

At Altenburg, Germany, the crew came in 13th in the first race of the new year before the circuit moved on to Konigsee and a finish in 19th position for GB.

At Innsbruck, the team came in 14th before the final action on European ice at St Moritz saw Hall steer GB into 14th place once again.

The team will sit out the final two World Cup races – with the second GB four-man bob crew, driven by Lamin Dean, taking their place when the competition moves to Lake Placid and Calgary this month.

In the meantime, Alan has been back in the UK for a training camp at bobsleigh HQ in Bath before heading out for more training in Calgary ahead of the World Championships in Whistler at the beginning of March.

Blenkiron

Alan said he had enjoyed the experience in Europe, especially the chance to slide at St Moritz.

“The track is a natural ice track, so it’s very smooth and quiet. Not many people get to race there, so I’m very lucky,” he said. “The standard of competition has been very high – lots of teams are doing really well this year.

“Unfortunately we’ve been a bit unlucky not to make the top ten at times but we’ve had solid pushes and drives.”

He said Brad Hall and Nick Gleeson had recorded some impressive results in the two-man bob races.

“So things are looking good, we just need to transfer that into the four-man sled,” added Alan.

“Four weeks of travel and racing has been a tough experience but I think we’ve all coped well.

“The coaches had planned good training programmes to make sure we were still working hard but not over training.”

He said he wished to thank Teesdale Lions Club for their donation and everyone who had contributed to the online Pledge Sports fundraising page set up to cover the costs of hiring a two-man sled for the world championships.