RAF Boulmer’s Corporal Keith McLaughlin has just returned home fresh from victory in the Inter-Services two-man Bobsleigh competition – the first time the RAF team has won since 2000.
Keith and his team-mate, Senior Aircraftman Dan Taylor, from RNAS Culdrose, lifted the cup following a close competition held at Igls, in Austria, against teams from the Army and the Royal Navy/Marines.
“This is a fantastic result for the RAF Bobsleigh Team and it should not be underestimated just how big a feat it is with the competition including the GB Mens 1&2 drivers forming parts of other teams,” he said.
“Everyone involved has worked extremely hard to get this result and we will now need to build on this performance to retain the title of the Inter-Service Champions in 2014.”
Keith has also been taking part in the four-man events at World Cup and European Cup races this season as one of the Great Britain team; his team’s best performance was a fifth place in a European Cup race in France.
Keith will now have a short break before he starts training again for the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014.
Meanwhile, he has encouraged his fiancée, Senior Aircraftman Natalie Tilsley, to take up the sport as well, which she did in September.
In her first event since taking up bobsleigh eight months previously, Natalie and Corporal Dominique Thistleton, from RAF Northolt, came second in the Inter-Services competition and the RAF female bobsleigh team won the Inter-Services Cup overall.
Natalie was over the moon with her performance and keen to take part in further competitions in the future.
“I will be training very hard as I would like to take part in the Inter-Services and British Championships again next year,” she said. “I will see how I get on then and whether I can take the sport any further.
“It’s been a great few months and I have really enjoyed it. I can now understand what hard work it is and what Keith does – it’s not just the actual training, it’s preparing the bob and polishing the race runners to make them go faster.”