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FT Blog: BFTA Grand Prix

FT Blog: BFTA Grand Prix

GP7 was held at Anston, Yorkshire, and I must admit after what I thought were probably the two worst courses I have ever shot at Anston back in April for the Interregionals and Championships, I thought GP7 was the best of the year. Andy Calpin back to his best, so WFTF 2019 is of course in good hands!

Good hands belong to Jack Harris, who beat the series leader, Dan Eley, by a single target at Anston, to take it to the last round at Far Coley, trailing Eley by less than 1 target! The standard Far Coley course was set and in truth, was not too much of a challenge. Even I put in a decent score and somehow made the top 10, mission accomplished! Jack, however, was top once again, and two targets clear of Ian Taylor. Eley, however, had a nightmare, finishing 7 targets behind Harris, and knowing he had let the title slip at the final hurdle. So, with Harris an unprecedented four time in a row GP Champion, we carted ourselves off straight from the final GP, to Gatwick and Poland for the 2018 World FT Championship!

World championships

I knew we (Wales) had set the bar high at WFTF 2017, but unfortunately this year just showed how high! I did not walk the course on Wednesday’s inspection schedule, a chance for team captains to raise issues. Those that did, said it (set out in a disused quarry) was ‘extreme’!

Thursday was my first sight, partnered up with the lovely Lauren Parsons of South African origin, but now shooting via U.S.A and the even lovelier Rafeal Guerrerro of Spain. Our start lane, white 23 highlighted straight away things would not be to my standards. Almost directly across the bowl from where I sat pointing my gun, was another group of shooters on their start lane. Very poor planning in terms of safety! The course I thought was poorly planned and frankly boring to shoot! We started with 48 and 52 yard targets and the trend continued! On day one, the White course had 19 targets over 50 yards, every 25mm reducer was between 33 and the max 38 yards, indeed the only targets under 30 yards were either 15mm kills or reduced 25mm kill standers or kneelers!

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Another extreme for Thursday, admittedly somewhat out of the control of the organisers, was the weather. Starting at about 28⁰, it rose to 35 in the shade and 41 in the sun, that’s what my thermometer read! Too hot for me, I could not hold the gun steady on standers and kneelers, missing 6 of the 10 discipline shots and after finishing day one in 42nd place, considered myself well out of the running. The problem with such extremes, which included a lot of very steep up and down targets, 30⁰ or higher, set high on a cliff face that required climbing ropes to help marshals reach them, is that when called they take time to resolve.

7 hours!

One thing that always happens at World Championships, is shooters thinking they hit targets, calling them! 27 calls in fact in our opening session that stretched what should have been 4 hours shooting to 7! The afternoon Spring/Piston session did not manage to finish Thursday’s 50 targets and had to make it up on Friday!

At least the piston shooters got 100 targets shot by Friday afternoon and in the dry! Congratulations to Air Arms team member John Farbrother on becoming the Spring Gun Champion. Forecasts for the Friday afternoon session were spot on, heavy rain and Thunder. Throw in Lighting to what I thought was close to monsoon rain and, after a windy 14 or so targets, the Friday shooting for 275 PCP shooters was cancelled! A late night meeting of member countries resulted in starting Saturday morning at 8am; although why so early I don’t know, as we now were only going to finish the 36 odd targets remaining on Blue course that we started Friday. Thus, the championship was to be 100 targets, not the 150 it should be!

Soggy Saturday

Saturday morning was wet, but there was only a gentle breeze. However, for some shooters, Friday’s hour or so of wind had done major damage to title hopes. Jack Harris had been just two targets behind Sas Ferenc from Hungary after Thursday and must have thought he was ideally placed. Friday, however, flipped things around, with Sas coming off with I believe a 7 target lead over Harris. Towel soaked though and thrown in, Harris will have to start again if he wants a straight hat-trick of WFTF wins.

Big finish

Sas has been around the top 10 WFTF results for several years and so it was no surprise that his combined score of 94 targets from 100 was 3 clear of joint runners up Welshman Mark Basset and Italy’s Gianni Fabianelli. The shoot-off for runner up was extracted and even watched by FT shooters in New Zealand live on Facebook- how FT is changing! Basset took chief bridesmaid spot once again! The rest of the top 10 went to shoot-offs, I even found myself somewhat bemused to be in a 4-way shoot off for 9th and 10th medals. Given 11th and 12th get nothing, there was no way I was losing out and so as quick as I could, I finally hit a 25mm kill standing and took 9th place, not so much mission accomplished, but simply baffling how I even got there!

2019?

I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed with WFTF 2018, so much so, I have reversed my decision and decided to be part of the winning Welsh team in England for WFTF 2019! One more chance at glory?

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