Alan Henderson's StartJOIN Bobsleigh Qualifying Race



by Alan Henderson

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I AM Alan Henderson a former Triple Olympian in Bobsleigh. Im English, but I slide for New Zealand as a result of living there for 21 years.

Check out US Bobsled Driver Jay Noller POV Lake Placid, NY" on YouTube



I AM Alan Henderson a former Triple Olympian in Bobsleigh. I’m English, but I slide for New Zealand as a result of living there for 21 years.

The time has come to attempt to return to the sport, and the downside to having slid for New Zealand is that I was funded for only 2 of the 20 years I did the sport.

In return for StartJOIN's crowdfunding support, the team and the bobsleigh will be branded!

My Wikipedia page.


THE GOAL is to race Two 2man races in Lake Placid New York. The races are on the North Americas Cup Circuit and contribute 2 of the five needed to qualify for the World Championships next Winter in Sochi Russia. If this bid goes well I would also like to race 4man.

Coincidentally the two races left this season are on the track where I last competed seriously, at the 2008 World Championships.

THE COSTING can be broken down in to discrete chunks. There are flights for the team members to North America (2 from the UK one from New Zealand), Accommodation, vehicle rental and of course all of the BOBSLEIGH related costs of renting a sled, the runners (the ‘ice-skates’ the sled runs on}, race fees and of course shipping the sled to the track.

The challenge of bobsleigh is that funding to a large extent buys results, but the start point for this trip would likely be £7,000 to £10,000 depending on where we are able to source a competitive sled from.


QUESTIONS I'd like you to ponder, I've always wondered about while doing the sport...

The rules of the sport can be found here ( and they include the restrictions on the construction of the sled. But given that, here are a few thoughts I’ve never got my head around:

There is an upper weight limit to the sled and crew

The push start makes a significant impact on the finish time

A heavier sled is harder to push

A heavier sled travels quicker at the end of a 1 mile track

A heavier sled creates more friction

What’s the break-even on sled weight/push start/finish time?

Check out the IBSF Youtube channel for sleds in action and consider this:

Steering creates friction and slows a sled down

Banging in the wall slows you down

What’s the break even on steering versus hitting a wall on the track?

There are many more!

There is plenty more information that I'd like to include but it'd be never-ending! Please post any questions you have in the comments section and I'd love to speak more there.



Image of bobsleigh illustration sourced from