80 Senses: #23 - Pulling 5G, the Lillehammer Bobsleigh Track

80 Senses: #23 - Pulling 5G, the Lillehammer Bobsleigh Track

Experience a sensation usually reserved for Formula 1 drivers and fighter pilots... Scaring yourself silly is not one of the official 80 Senses categories, but the sensation of hurtling along the ice in a tin torpedo is definitely one we recommend.


Lillehammer in Norway hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994, when Eddie the Eagle bestowed such sporting pride on the nation. Not that anyone remembers, but the real stars of the show from a British perspective were actually the bobsleigh team, who finished a highly creditable fifth and went on to claim a bronze four years later in Nagano.


Military precision

Now Tony Wallington OBE, a retired soldier and British bob team member, arranges for a lucky few to replicate that Norwegian experience. Riders learn the rudiments of bobsleigh before taking their positions as one of the three passengers in a bob being driven by a pro. The Lillehammer Olympic track has 16 curves and is 1600 yards long, and by the time you reach the aptly numbered Turn 13, you are at max speed, and likely to experience gravitational pull of 5G - that's the sort of acceleration usually only experienced by Formula 1 drivers and fighter pilots and a sensation you'll never forget.


Skeleton Crew

Once you're nerves have steadied then there's the chance to try skeleton bob - a little less fast than the four-man bob, but involving lying face forward on a glorified metal tray and hurtling down the track at speeds of 60mph. The Gs might not be as large, but with your face just inches from the ice, the sensation of speed is even greater. Finally, you can relax over an outrageously expensive Norwegian beer, safe in the knowledge that you'll win any boasting battle in the office about what you did at the weekend.