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Road To Russia: North-East bobsleighers in World Cup action
JOHN JACKSON piloted Great Britain's four-man bobsleigh to a 15th-placed finish in the year's opening World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany.
Jackson, who was born in Bishop Auckland and raised in Barnard Castle before moving to the South-West after joining the Royal Marines, signed off 2013 in superb style by winning a four-man silver medal at Lake Placid.
That result suggests the British quartet are capable of winning a medal in next month's Winter Olympics, but they will have to improve on their opening showing of 2014 to compete at the top of the rankings in Sochi.
With Jackson in the driver's seat, the British team produced a decent enough first run in Germany, with their time of 55.27sec leaving them tenth.
However, some minor errors on the second run dropped them five places to finish 15th in a combined time of 1:50.86. Jackson sits eighth in the overall World Cup rankings.
Consett's Mica McNeill was also in action in Winterberg, finishing 22nd in the two-woman bob event alongside Sarah Adams.
McNeill, who is currently in her first full season on the senior World Cup tour, is hoping to compete in Sochi if Britain qualify two bobsleighs for the Olympic competition.
If there is only one British entrant, the place will almost certainly go to Paula Walker, who is Jackson's partner, and Rebekah Wilson, with the pair having finished 13th in the most recent World Cup event.
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