GoodFabs has helped the GB Skeleton team with their world beating sled ever since they were approached by McLaren Applied Technologies back in 2010.
Great Britain is the most successful nation without its own practice track in the sport of Skeleton. Since the discipline was introduced into the Winter Olympics in 2002 the women’s team have won medals in every Winter Olympics. Amy Williams won gold in the Vancouver games in 2010 and Lizzy Yarnold repeated the feat in Sochi in 2014.
After winning bronze in 2002 and silver in 2006, the University of Southampton was approached by the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to create a competitive skeleton capable of being used by both male and female athletes.
The two young naval architects who took on the task - and succeeded in delivering a sled that helped win the first gold medal four years later - were transferred in 2010 to Formula 1’s McLaren Applied Technologies unit. At McLaren they were asked to refine and develop their winning sled using techniques and technology developed in F1.
Issued with materials from Skeleton’s official federation, the IBSF, they were introduced to a series of F1 suppliers who would be able to bend, machine and weld the steel runners used as part of the skeleton to create the most efficient sliding mechanism possible. GoodFabs was the fabrication company that McLaren recommend to carry out the welding work.
Six years later GoodFabs is still working with the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association (BBSA) to try and complete a hat-trick of gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
As usual there is plenty of secrecy involved as other teams try and replicate the technology to give their own athletes an added edge. Unfortunately, we cannot reveal details of our work on the skeleton, although it continues to challenge us and requires all the techniques and experience that one would expect when working with a team striving for more gold. Go GB!
GB Gold Medallist Lizzy Yarnold prepares for a slide
Donna Creighton of the 2017 GB Women’s Skeleton squad