BOBSLED: Fertig Fourth in Two-Man Bobsled Europa Cup Finale
CORTINA, Italy-Grayson Fertig (New York City, N.Y.) teamed with Chuck Berkeley (Clayton, Calif.) as USA I, finishing fourth in both two-man bobsled Europa Cup competitions in Cortina, Italy. The Europa Cup finale on the 1956 Olympic course hosted two races, one on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and a second on Wednesday, Jan. 23. "The track here is a great challenge,"Fertig said."To come away with two solid results is something we are both proud of. There is a lot we would have liked to have done better with, but that will have to wait until the next time we are here." The 15-curve track has hosted nine World Championships and will be the site for the 2011 competition. Cortina is notorious for being one of the most challenging tracks in the world. In the first competition held on Tuesday, Jan. 22, Fertig and Berkeley finished the first heat in sixth position with a time of 54.51 seconds after pushing an impressive second fastest start time of 5.00 seconds. Fertig slid a run of 54.71 seconds, fourth best of the heat, and stood in the leader's box as they moved up two positions for a fourth place finish with a combined time of 1:49.22. Home track competitors Michele Menardi and Giulio Moretti slid a two-run total of 1:49.20 after runs of 54.40 and 54.80, enough to edge the Americans out of the bronze by only 0.02 seconds. Beat Hefti, former top push athlete for SUI I, switched to the driver's seat last season, and has dominated Europa Cup standings this year. Hefti teamed with World Cup push athlete Thomas Lamparter to dominate at the start, pushing over two-tenths of a second ahead of the field with start times of 4.82 and 4.80, respectively. The team maintained their position down the track, sliding the fastest finish times of the competition, 53.64 and 54.19, for a total time of 1:47.83. Taking silver was Russia's Alexey Gorlachev and Alexander Ryabov with a total time of 1:48.98 after runs of 54.37 and 54.61. On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Fertig and Berkeley had the third fastest time in the first heat of 54.30 seconds after pushing a 5.10 start time. Latvians Mihails Arhipovs and Pavels Tulubjevs had a first run time of 54.36 seconds, sixth best of the heat, but responded with the second fastest time in the second heat of 54.55 seconds for a total time of 1:48.91. Standing at the finish, the team watched as their time held up to the top competitors in the first heat. Fertig and Berkeley slid down the 15-curve course, sliding a time of 54.63 seconds after pushing a 5.07, once again missing the bronze by only 0.02 seconds with a combined time of 1:48.93. Hefti teamed with Christain Aebli, who has competed since 1998, claimed gold in dominant style with the two fastest times of the competition, a 54.01 and 54.24, for a combined time of 1:48.83. The duo pushed start times of 4.86 and 4.83, giving them a large advantage down the track. Mickael Serise and Alexandre Jolivet from France finished 0.58 seconds behind the Swiss team with a total time of 1:48.83 (54.21, 54.62). Cortina marked the end of the 2007-08 Europa Cup circuit. Fertig will continue to slide in Europe, with hopes of competing in Winterberg's World Cup competition. For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: Men's Two-Man Bobsled #1 1. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter (SUI I) 1:47.83 (53.64, 54.19); 2. Alexey Gorlachev and Alexander Ryabov (RUS I) 1:48.98 (54.37, 54.61); 3. Michele Menardi and Giulio Moretti (ITA I) 1:49.20 (54.40, 54.80); 4. Grayson Fertig and Chuck Berkeley (USA I) 1:49.22 (54.51, 54.71); Men's Two-Man Bobsled #2 1.Beat Hefti and Christian Aebli (SUI I) 1:48.25 (54.01, 54.24); 2. Mickael Serise and Alexandre Jolivet (FRA I) 1:48.83 (54.21, 54.62); 3. Mihails Arhipovs and Pavels Tulubjevs (LAT I) 1:48.91 (54.36, 54.55); 4. Grayson Fertig and Chuck Berkeley (USA I) 1:48.93 (54.30, 54.63); About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.