The S.S. Instigator won first place at the Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race at Rossland Winter Carnival on Saturday.
While the team has changed over the 29 years the bobsled has been racing, it’s still the same sled, and the S.S. Instigator is no stranger to the bobsled race’s top three. Last year the sled and its team placed third with final combined time of 1:22.62 in both heats. This year the S.S. Instigator team — driver Todd Hill, second Leigh Adamson, break man Donny Williams, and pusher Curtis Nichols — did even better, with a final combined time of 1:13.63 that shot it to the top of the podium at first place. (Due to a technical glitch, volunteers were unable to record each sled’s speed this year.)
Nichols credits the win to the icy track and the sled using steel pipes, rather than skis. He said it was the pipes that allowed the team to keep control of the S.S. Instigator when so many of the other teams had trouble keeping their sleds on course.
“The skis are the ones that are kind of the uncontrollable ones,” said Nichols.
Last year, team Liquid Courage credited their first-place win to the conditions and their skis, but before they could even complete their first run this year, all four skis were broken.
Scott Urquhart, Cailen Shields, Kevin Santori, Travis Drake crashed into the bank while taking the turn at Fifth Ave. Members of the team went flying and Santori bruised his tailbone.
“It was a really icy track and we just had no traction,” said Shields.
“Just right off the get go. We turned and it went straight,” added Urquhart, who was steering.
Their crash preceded a bigger accident in which four people were injured (see page xx). Due to the delay caused by the accident, only the top 15 sleds from the first run got to make a second.
Though with a record 44 teams signing up for this year’s event, Pam Martin, head of the timing committee, said that approach might need to be used moving forward with the event.
“If it keeps growing, we might make that the norm,” she said.
Martin wanted to thank all of the volunteers who helped make the event a success.