Luge riders' Europe trip world cup training, racing

Hunter Burke and Ella Cox at Dunedin Airport upon their arrival home after spending the summer luging in Europe. Photo: Supplied
Hunter Burke and Ella Cox at Dunedin Airport upon their arrival home after spending the summer luging in Europe. Photo: Supplied
Four Otago teenagers returned to school with a cool holiday story - in both senses of the word.

Hunter Burke (15), Ella Cox (16), Ben Voice (14) and Sam Flanagan (15) traded New Zealand's sun and beaches for the snow and ice of Europe.

There they spent two months training and racing on their respective luge junior world cup circuits.

Burke (Kavanagh College) and Cox (Logan Park High School) were both on the artificial circuit.

Voice and Flanagan, both of Maniototo Area School, competed in the natural luge.

It was a great opportunity for the quartet, getting to train and race consistently at a high level on top courses around Europe.

The trip was Cox's second to Europe, having been to train and compete last summer.

She had enjoyed it more this time, both because her German was better and it was good having a friend with her in Burke, who was on his first trip.

Illness had limited Burke to two races, although he still clocked a best finish of 36th in Winterburg, Germany.

At the same event Cox finished 34th in the women's section, while also finishing 35th as one of the youngest competitors at the junior world championships.

The pair are planning to attempt to qualify for January's Youth Winter Olympics at the end of this year.

Both Voice and Flanagan were both also on their second trip to Europe.

In their final junior World Cup race they finished 32nd and 35th respectively in a field of 43 athletes.

From there they claimed the 25th and 26th places at a senior World Cup event in Italy.

A broken finger left Flanagan unable to compete at the senior World Championships, also in Italy.

Voice finished 37th out of 50 racers as one of the youngest competitors in the field and 27th in the World Cup series.

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