FT Blog: WFTF Championships
Simon Evans reports back from the WFTF championships in Lisbon and found plan A did not work quite like he thought!
It started well enough; EasyJet staff at Bristol airport were excellent in getting our 5-gun party sorted having been pre-warned we were coming. We flew out on the Tuesday afternoon, getting to our hotel in plenty of time for the evening’s welcome dinner across Lisbon in a 5 star hotel! This was the start of plan B. I left my phone in a taxi and it was 2-hours of kerfuffle to get it back, so missing the whole evening!
Onwards and upwards; after a lie-in, we arrived at the zero range on Wednesday, to be greeted with a changing wind and heat haze, mixed up with a toasty 40°! My Storm gun case had done a great job of protecting my rifle, just two clicks on the windage at the 10m board and it was on. However, the hot and windy conditions made any sort of grouping almost impossible past 35m. Most were experiencing the same, so no need to panic.
7am Thursday morning, my travelling partner, Tosh Crocker, and myself found ourselves with three Chilean shooters to be the first on the Zero range that day. It had now hit 19° and not a breath of wind. Zero at 30m seemed spot on and the next 5-pellets all hit the 10mm circle at 50m, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Whilst standing for a ridiculous 40 minutes, trying to take in the Spanish /English briefing (which should have been 5 minutes), someone tripped over my resting gun bag. It looked innocuous, so I thought no more about it!
That was till lane one. My first target, 47.5m and the pellet went straight hitting the cross hair inside 3 edge. I thought it was odd as there was a R – L breeze and both my partners, Spain’s Abel Lorenzo and 2016 Ladies Champion in the making Portugal’s Ana Pereira, had both hit just inside 9 edge!
My next shot a 25mm kill at 32m. The pellet strike is 10mm right of the cross hair, flying into the wind! The next lane brings another two misses into the wind and its obvious my rifle had suffered from the gun bag mishap. Stuff Happens! I adjust 6 then to 8 clicks on my windage and get it going straight again over the following lanes but it is too late. I am seven misses from 14-targets!
Defending champion Sergey from Russia only misses seven out of his first 100-targets over day one and two. So you can see in WFTF terms I am out of it! I finish 12 down, with a trio of leading shooters having come in on 45 ex 50. Seven targets over two days is easily achievable, so day two and it’s going to be a dig in and claw it back day!
Ah, the weather! We are p.m. session on day two and after a misty, windless and cool a.m. session, where the springer shooters were putting in big scores, we are faced with ‘hot and humid’. I knew something was wrong when about seven lanes in and clear; I double dink the standing lane, struggling to hit the plate let along the kill! Although drinking after every lane, I suddenly feel light headed, with white spots flying around, after a 30m climb to the next lane!
I realised this was a heat issue and so the shooting jacket was off while shade was found. It was a bit of a worry really, as on day one my fellow Welsh team mate Doz Falkner had been carted off the course to hospital after suffering a sudden nosebleed and high blood pressure! Day two is 43 ex 50 for me but it is not good enough, I am in joint 37th place. So day three and my aim is just to enjoy and come back safe. Shooting jacket abandoned, the unfamiliar t-shirt only (and shorts) attire sees me miss six out of the first eight targets. From that point it did not matter if I hit any more, as long as I stayed cool! One thing’s for sure- we don’t expect such a heat problem at the World FT Championships 2017 in Wales!
You don’t win the worlds on day one or two, but I proved you can easily lose it. Fellow Welsh shooter Jack Harris was right in contention going into day three and when the wind blew, his deficit of three to defending champion Sergey became an advantage of two targets. With Jack’s fantastic form over the last few seasons, we all knew he had it in him, and he truly is a worthy winner. Trouble is, he is likely to be Champion many times in the next 20 years! Oh well, I can always look forward to veteran class title as I am 25 years ahead of him on that one!
So, although it was something of a personal disaster for me and parts of it were not to all tastes, it was still a great event. I was particularly proud to see England’s Josh Vaughan celebrate his 16th birthday by becoming junior world champion on the Saturday. I can’t remember what I did on my 16th birthday, but that trumps that!!
England won the Springer and PCP team titles, again, but with Doz making a great recovery for day three I still found myself on the stage at the presentation, not just taking photos but also picking up a 3rd place medal for the PCP Team event, well done Wales! Above all, well done Sergio on hosting the biggest FT event in the world. Now it’s our turn, with 2017 being the year of the Welsh Dragon!!
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