HFT Diary: Calling Targets
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- Last updated: 08/12/2016
No less than 156 competitors gathered at Northall Farm in beautiful Sussex, for this year’s event, and with the now well established format of this shoot a regular feature in the HFT calendar, this is one day for the real enthusiast. Competitors tackled a 25-target course through the wood in the morning, stopped for lunch (all included in the entrance fee), and then went back out for another 25 in the afternoon- for an aggregate score ex100. A sociable atmosphere is always a big draw, with the chance to compare notes and experiences over lunch and then try and put things right in the afternoon session; it creates something of a unique atmosphere.
Weather on the day was balmy hot, with great facilities to call upon and two excellent target layouts to play with, an exciting day’s action unfolded.
With many of the sport’s top names in attendance, competition was fierce too, with a four-way shoot-off a fitting way to decide the winner. Andy Simpson held his nerve to take this year’s honours but with generous sponsorship from Air Arms, in the form of an HFT500, Sam Robinson was another happy camper, leaving with the prize rifle from the raffle
Held in memory of Bob Nicholls, the original driving force behind the formation of Air Arms, (and the father of current MD, Claire West), this event has become a real classic; fondly regarded and anticipated in equal measure. So thanks to Claire and all who made this year’s shoot such a success
Weather plays a big part for me, in the enjoyment of HFT and by that I basically mean that I hate shooting in rain. Thankfully, come round 8 of the UKAHFT series, we were treated to an absurdly warm day and whilst the early mist hung in the fields to confuse our range finding, this early visitor soon burnt off, to leave near perfect conditions for our sport.
Cambridge HFT always stages a good event, with a wooded section and then a series of targets scattered outside in the open field. This time round though, their over keen landlord had ploughed away much of the surrounding grassy areas, so with much of the action taking place over bare mud, dry conditions were a Godsend!
Having spent several hours experimenting with different scopes on my FTP just the day before and unsettling everything, I hit a point where I couldn’t face any more setting-up! So come this event, I just grabbed my old faithful Air Arms S400/Zeiss combo and hoped for the best.
A little more application and patience led me to a useful 56 ex60 at this one, and just one point off the leaders! Yet with seven shooters on 57, I was left to rue my missed stander in the last few targets! A confidence booster nonetheless, and hopefully a timely return to form for the final double header (HFT Masters/UKAHFT) at Emley Moor.
New to the 2015 season has been the HFT Masters, and having spoken to the organizers, they have been extremely well received, with the result that next year will probably see the introduction of a series format, with an overall title to aim at, as well as each individual round.
This round, again held in the beautiful county of Sussex, had the added drama of a torrential downpour happening right up to the starting blocks, then giving way to reasonable conditions when it mattered. Numbers were held back slightly due to this event falling just one week after the major Air Arms Memorial shoot and I for one, for that reason, couldn’t schedule another long trek across country.
By all accounts though, this was another excellent shoot, organized by Ian Bainbridge and Roger Lait, with their vibrant format showing once again, what an enjoyable day’s sport is all about. A host of companies back these events, and with BSA the main sponsor, there’s plenty to get excited about for the future.