(ISN) – KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Justin Kripps and Bryan Barnett definitely feel at home in the land of Bavaria.
The Canadian duo won their second career World Cup medal – both on the Konigssee track – when they slid through dumping snow to the bronze-medal stop on the podium Saturday.
“I had good start times and good runs so everything came together,” said Kripps. “I love Konigssee. I like the flow of the track. There is a great atmosphere here with lots of fans. The music is playing and the track just fits my driving style.”
Kripps, of Summerland, B.C. and Edmonton’s Barnett first broke through onto the World Cup bobsleigh podium one year ago when they captured the gold in Konigssee, just weeks before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The determined Canucks were at it again on Saturday, charging to a third-place finish with a two-run time of 1:42.19.
“I feel confident on all the tracks we race, but I just have a good feeling here,” added Kripps. “I am able to blast out of those S curves with lots of speed and you need to do that to be successful here. It is a relatively short track so if you drive those S curves well you can be good here. I just seem to have good rhythm and carry my speed to the bottom.”
The Canadians were joined on the podium by Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann, who slid into the winner’s circle with a time of 1:41.16. Germany’s Nico Walther and Marko Huebenbecker were second at 1:41.68.
Kripps has been surrounded by talented Canadian drivers including Pierre Lueders and Lyndon Rush throughout his career who have helped propel him into one of the top bobsleigh pilots in the world.
Kripps helped push the legendary Pierre Lueders to four World Cup podiums in the four-man race leading to Vancouver 2010. Since making his Olympic debut as a brakeman, he switched to the driver’s seat after getting home from Vancouver, and was making steady progression up the standings until his golden day one year ago.
Boasting a handful of top-10 finishes to start the post-Olympic year, the bronze-medal finish on Saturday is another key step in his quest to be a medal contender each week on the elite circuit.
“This is one of those years we are working on a number of things, but this is an awesome boost for our program to get a medal,” said Kripps. “It has been a year since men’s bobsleigh in Canada has been on the podium so this is great for our team.”
Calgary’s Chris Spring and Alexander Kopacz, of London, Ont., teamed up to finish 12th at 1:43.16.
Earlier in the day, Dave Greszczyszyn finished as the top Canadian in the men’s skeleton race. The 35-year-old Brampton, Ont. native slid to 16th-place with a time of 1:44.35.
Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov won the men’s skeleton race with a time of 1:42.98. Latvia’s Martins Dukurs was second at 1:43.15, while Matthew Antoine, of the United States, placed third with a time of 1:43.29.
Calgarians, Barrett Martineau and Evan Neufeldt, finished 18th and 19th respectively. Martineau posted a time of 1:44.89, while Neufeldt stopped the clock at 1:44.96.
Team Kripps and his Canadian mates will be back on the start line Sunday in Konigsee, Germany for the men’s four-man bobsleigh race.
“The four-man will really come down to the push times so we need to dig deep and blast off a couple of starts,” said Kripps.