European championships Bisley 2021
This year’s European championships have been a real challenge to deliver with a complete change of guard as our usual organisers Mik and Tina having delivered a continuing improving competition for more years that I can remember and leaving a blueprint for our new guard to follow, couple that with the previous year’s cancellation and the uncertainty that the dreaded Covid-19 has produced it has been a challenge indeed. Our aim was to continue its improvements and attract more of European friends along with more sponsors whilst giving back to all where possible.
We have had a great response from sponsors and have some significant prizes supplied which have helped raise the bar to deliver a premier event worthy of the European championship title, ideas and plans have been ongoing for more than a year with a significant amount of work which has been shared amongst the committee but notably Richie jones and Peter Dommett so give them a pat on the back for all the time and work that they have invested for no reward. Last minute changes had to be made with many entries from our European friends being cancelled due to travel restrictions and quarantine issues in their own countries leaving the committee no option but to cancel a significant number of targets and markers along with catering etc. However, we did see some old faces and new from hardened competitors from numerous countries keen to face some stiff competition from across Europe including the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Russia. We had been tentatively watching the weather forecast leading up to the event with interest as if there is ever a determining factor that can change the outcome and success of an outdoors event then the weather is it, fortunately we were pleased to see that it looked good on the most part and we were good to go with no plans to change the itinerary due to atmospheric conditions.
This years Europeans championship kicked off on the Wednesday with the usual warm up matches allowing competitors to get elevations prior to the individual championship which started on Friday morning.
Competitors gathered on the 900y firing point for a 08:30 start with the scheduled two 900y shoots in the morning and a single 1000y shoot in the afternoon. The grass was soaking wet with early morning dew and mist following a pre autumn evening which was fine, clear and warm with light winds and high scores forecast, F-open opened their accounts first under the direction of our new Range officer Tony Lawson with the course of fire of 2 and 15 shots to count pair firing as usual following the impressive 1 minute of blow offs where competitors throw money down the range as fast as they can, seriously don’t even think about it! We had 3 details throughout the event with a full f-open a full FTR and a mixed detail with similar numbers being represented in both FTR and f-open which was good to see.
The light and favourable conditions was a good opportunity to check zero’s and assess the accuracy of the equipment that was being used and the scores showed the competitors that had got it right with seven f-open competitors scoring a maximum 75 and a further eight getting a reputable 74, Tony Price AKA the “iceman” topping the pile with an impressive 75.11v. By the time FTR stepped up to the plate the conditions had started to change, and points were a little harder to come by, but Simon West managed to pull out a 74.10v to win the FTR detail with a further eight 73’s following it up.
We stayed at 900y for the second detail and the conditions didn’t change much allowing four more full house scores to be delivered from F-open with Anton Andreev and Walter Poggiolesi to both account for a 75.9v with Walter being awarded the silver medal on count back. In FTR Stuart Anselm opened his medal account with a fine 74.4v shadowing his nearest rival on 71.5v.
The afternoon turned into a glorious bright and sunny afternoon, and we were back to 1000y and 2 x 20 shots to count to deliver our daily aggregate winner, In F-open David Lloyd rose to the top with an impressive 96.6v ahead of Sergey Klyug on 93.8v and in FTR it was Simon West again topping the pile with a 91.06 and Mike Harris closely chasing him on 90.4v. and so it was back to the marquee and our new and very popular scoring screen to find out today’s final results, this showed how competitive the remaining week was going to be.
Wednesday aggregate winners
|Simon West||236.20||David Lloyd||244.20|
|Stuart Anselm||230.13||Dehane Cownley||239.22|
|Ewen Cambell||228.12||Lance Vinall||237.23|
The morning arrived delivering another settled day and all were keen to get started at 800y and obtain elevations prior to the main individuals starting on Friday. Competitors were milling around chatting and delivering their kit from the 1000y firing point as no vehicles were permitted on the range other than approved disabled badge holders. It was FTR into the breech first this morning and following our markers making there way down to the butt’s competitors were invited to bring their kit to the firing point, it was at this point that it was observed that targets 1 to 6 were obscured by grass in front of the firing point.
It must be said that this problem was brought to light by Simon West on Monday evening whilst on an evening stroll on the range, the committee were informed and the information was passed to the NRA on Tuesday however something got missed in communication as it seems the grass was cut at the targets and on the firing point however until you got down on the firing point it was not clear what was causing the obstruction. This sadly caused a delay in getting started as the first six targets were required to move to the other end of the line meaning markers moving targets refacing some and preparing them for action. Due to the electronic targets in the centre of the range we even had a sole target down on target 27 and having their own dedicated RO to boot. We would like to thank all our competitors for their patience and understanding while this was sorted out and the few that helped with RO duties etc. The NRA planned to get the grass cutting started at lunchtime to ensure that the same problem did not affect the remaining competition.
The 800y detail finally got underway but the Stickledown wind was going to test the unwary with fickle switches passing through zero and the mirage not being evident until later in the morning, Stuart Anselm mastered the conditions though and handed in his score card with a 75.12v! A new old face made an appearance in second in the form of Russell Simmonds former World champion and 3 times winner of the European championships, he simply rocked up and put a 75.10v into stats taking the silver medal on countback from Carrie Ryan, a total of seven 75’s and eleven 74’s was achieved.
F-open then got the chance to take on the conditions with many conquering the fickle wind and a total of twenty-one 75’s being recorded with a total of five competitors obtaining the same score of 75.12v leaving the stats to find a winner on countback, credit to all but David Lloyd took the Gold back to Wales with Alan Baldry Silver and Gianfranco from Italy the bronze.
So, it was back to 900y following our late start and was decided by the committee to curtail the 900y detail to a 2 x 10 to count to ensure that all got the time to complete their course of fire and so the conditions worsened as the day warmed up but Celt Ridout without a barrel of Rum on board took the top honours with a 50.5v followed by David C.W Lloyd on 50.4v and Mary Marsden on 49.6v. In F-open one of our Russian visitors Andrey Serskov made his intentions clear and took the gold with a 50.6v with our own Mik Maksimovic and Alan Baldric Baldry fighting over the silver with Mik taking it on countback with a 50.5v. So that concluded the day’s individual efforts and with all elevation now noted the outcome of this morning’s work was decided.
Thursday individual aggregate winners
|David C.W Lloyd||125.11||Alan Baldry||125.17|
|Carrie Ryan||124.14||Mik Maksimovic||125.14|
|Russell Simmonds||123.12||Lance Vinall||125.13|
GBFCA Dolphin Rutland team’s match
Thursday afternoon marks the start of our team shooting with the GBFCA Dolphin Rutland teams match, this is always a highly sought title with all teams having a lot of fun with some highly organised teams and some cobbled together at short notice but the atmosphere on the range is always charged with energy, colour, and banter. Teams consist of up to eight competitors with 4 shooters and is competed over two details of 2 & 20 shots to count at 1000y, both FTR and F-open are represented and seven teams in each class were entered, team captains were summoned to pick there score cards which also decided which targets you were to be allotted with a target change between details to keep things fair and correct. We had pleasant conditions to battle in, warm and bright with the tricky winds continuing to change its mind swapping from left to right wind correction making for a fun and competitive challenge for the wind coaches. Both FTR and open compete at the same time in the same detail with a five-minute blow off period allowing clean barrels to be fouled elevations checked and a sneak at what the wind has to offer.
In both FTR and F-open there were no clear leaders following the first detail and all teams putting in very competitive scores and was all to play for heading into the second detail but consistency and attention to detail is everything in this game and so at the end of the second detail the teams able to maintain concentration, accuracy and focus came to the top and so in FTR it was Team “Gun Fu Panda’s black” that took the gold and second and third place only being separated by V’s and “The Bull Hitters” retaining their title in F-open. A special note must go to an individual in The Bull hitters team Tony Price the “Iceman” whom together with their wind coach Tony Marsh managed to pull out an outstanding score in the second detail with a 100.16v followed by credible 98.5v by David Lloyd allowing a deserved win.
The Dolphin Rutland team results
|Gun Fu Panda black||724.43||The Bull Hitters||759.61|
|Team Excalibur||713.39||Dolphin Guns||755.41|
|Team MXM||713.32||Joe West RS||751.40|
|The V hunters||708.31||Team Exonia||750.46|
|The white horse lodge||707.36||A Bit of Strange…rs||737.35|
|Team 101 RC||685.36||Team Russia||734.39|
|Gun Fu Pandas White||682.18||Team Gadget||734.38|
Friday morning dawned grey and overcast with the forecast predicting rain later in the day, we were about to start the GBFCA European individuals which is fought over two days of shooting at 2 x 15 shots to count at 800 & 900y and 2 x 20 shots to count at 1000y on both days, the wind had already gathered its strength and had established its normal direction blowing across the range from left to right. The previous days problems with the grass at 800y had yet to be rectified and the time taken at lunchtime was not sufficient to remedy the situation, so the NRA armed with 2 agricultural mowers were on the range early to complete the task, A member of the GBFCA committee was poised with a scope on the 800y firing point attempting to direct the mowers to the problem areas. the ground in front of the 800y firing point was previously used with tracked vehicles and the danger area had been used with mortar and artillery so the ground is anything but flat being hidden from the shooters by a blanket of heather and heathland grasses. A briefing took place to establish comms at the gate to the danger area and once completed we went to action only to find the lead tractor would not start! Disaster!!!
The broken-down tractor also prevented the following mower from accessing the danger area so we were in trouble as no shooting past 800y could take place with the broken-down tractor as it was within the danger area. Persons were called and mustered to rectify the problem which it was and as it turned out we had plenty of time and the offending grass was cropped giving an unhindered view of all the targets.
We promptly got the first detail of the day underway on time which today was F-open, the wind albeit much stronger was much less variable as was the angle and as such 32 of the f-open shooters scored 75 with various v counts but topping the list was another former World champion whom has seen some staggering form this year, Gary Costello who racked up a 75.14v I’m not sure if he converted a sighter but either way it’s a great score. the silver was decided on count back with 13v’s a piece with Gordon Waugh taking the silver and Martin Miles the bronze.
FTR were also keen to get in on the action and were soon underway but as it always seem to pan out the sky’s darkened the wind strengthened and sadly the FTR detail got a royal soaking (sorry trying hard not to laugh) it has happened so many times in the past no matter who squads the details or when they shoot FTR seems to get wet ha ha…… so if you want to stay dry come and shoot F-open! That said they did make the most of it (sorry still laughing) and 4 shooters managed a 75 and this was decided on countback with Diego Gomez Eiras from Spain taking the Gold with 75.8v from our GB FTR team captain Dave Rollafson in silver and the bronze taken with one less v bull by Celt Ridout our resident barbecue expert or at least he is into sausage? So that concluded match one and so we wasted no time in dressing back to 900y.
Once FTR had got wet enough and having dressed back to 900y it was F-opens opportunity to tackle the strengthening wind and enjoy the sunshine that was drying the grass following the passing of FTR’s rain, The wind for the most part was stable but occasionally there were the usual drop offs which were enough to transport the unwary well into the four ring, but some managed to stay in tune with the conditions with five 75’s being recorded with Martin Miles taking top spot with a 75.9v followed by Alan Baldry on countback from Martin. Its worth noting that Alan is a new competitor in f-open and has taken to it very well swapping disciplines from FTR so worth watching out for. The ballistic performance divide between FTR and F-open is now not what it was with most in FTR using heavy bullets with big BC’s and F-open reducing their velocities in search of more consistent accuracy over horsepower, couple that with using coaxial front rests in FTR and the two disciplines are not that different and so passing from FTR to F-open or vice versa is not the problem that it was.
FTR then got to tackle 900y and take the opportunity to dry out with the conditions now set for the day, the extra 100y makes a significant difference with no 75’s but some solid performances, Simon Gambling took the Gold a clear point ahead or the pack on 73.6v with Stuart Anselm on 72.10v and Matt Jarram on 72.7v. We finished with ample time and dressed back for lunch and an afternoon at 1000y, most scrambled over to Piglet & Pumbaa’s Munchbox to take advantage of the fantastic fare that was on offer. Piglet & Pumbaa’s Munchbox is a mobile burger kitchen owned and operated by our own Lance Vinall and his wife Dawn and team. They had worked hard to deliver this, and it paid off ensuring that competitors had no need to leave the range and could use the time to peruse all the great kit that our sponsors had brought along to look at and purchase those essentials whilst fuelling up for the afternoon ahead.
The one thousand yards got underway with competitors really getting in their stride now and beginning to get to grips with the conditions, better than most was Lance Vinall (must be something in the food) winning the Gold with 100.12v followed by one v bull by Tony Price on 100.11 and the bronze taken by the welcome return of Gordon Waugh with a 100.5v’s the conditions were equally masted by FTR with Peter Dommett at the top with a 97.10v Dan Lomas snatching the silver on 95.5 and the bronze stage medal to Russell Simmonds on 95.3v’s
So that concluded the first day of the individuals with no one in either discipline dominating the leader board in fact it was incredibly tight with all to play for on Saturday.
Friday aggregate results
|Peter Dommett||243.21v||Gary Costello||248.30v|
|Russell Simmonds||240.14v||Alan Baldry||248.27v CB|
|Adam Bagnall||238.25v||Shaun Baker||248.27v|
|Simon Gambling||238.18v||Tom Reynolds||247.29v|
|Steve Rigby||238.16v||Lance Vinall||247.29v|
Saturday GBFCA Individual European Championships
Saturday arrived with similar conditions that we woke to on Friday overcast and grey without the forecast rain, it had rained quite heavily overnight and so hoped that the clouds had emptied. Today it was FTR to start the day again at 800y and with our hard-working private markers making their way down to the butts for the day our RO’s Tony Lawson and Phil Northam now conversant with the way that we operate got soft kit etc on the firing point. Overnight our Facebook page updated competitors of their scores for scrutiny by all along with the new screen in the marquee, the scores showed a very competitive day of competition yesterday and so all was to play for today with so many competitors in the running to take the title of GBFCA European Champion. The atmosphere was noticeably different today with more people focused on the day ahead and with clear intentions, the usual banter was taking place with the usual suspects at the centre of it, but the day seemed more tense with spotting scopes everywhere trying to get the edge on their rivals and eager to learn the new day’s conditions. And so, it was Diggle’s own Jim Marsden who took the Gold on count back from Russell Simmonds with a 75.8vs with the Bullhitter Simon Gambling taking Bronze with a 75.6v. In open it was Vihtavorhi’s sponsored Paul Hill that took the 800y stage with 75.12 from the Welshman Gareth James on 75.10, only one V behind him it was a regular face of Italian Gianfranco Zannoni taking the bronze.
Going back to 900y we were starting to see a trend with some persons making regular visits to the stage podium getting people talking with opinions on who was going to take the title. In the background were the very good consistent shooters out of the podium limelight but ready to pounce given the chance.
Nine hundred yards got started with the weather brightening and the mirage starting to build as was the wind so with clouds passing elevation would need to be watched too. Garryk Cambell had a great shoot in FTR with Simon West being counted out of the gold stage medal on countback with a score of 73.8v’s leaving that man again Simon Gambling with the Bronze reinforcing the rumouring on the eventual FTR champion, Simon was having a great day and adding to his medal tally and was the man to watch in FTR. The F-open boys continued to share the podium and one of our Russian visitors Andrey Serskov excelled at 900y taking the Gold with a 75 and six v’s away from our own very familiar face of Mik Maksimovic again with a 75.5 with his own built 7/270 WSM. Lance continued his campaign swapping his spatula for a rifle and took the bronze with a 75.4v.
And so, onto the final detail of the individuals with a wee barrel burning 2 & 20 at a thousand yards to crown our 2021 champions and with no individual in ether FTR or open with a clear lead it was going to be a test of nerve, concentration, and desire to win. As the afternoon warmed up the wind became unsettled and was gusting from the usual left of the range, large building cumulonimbus clouds were shrouding the targets in shadow as they raced past threatening a shower and the sun burning the ground in their absence. Spectators were gathering behind the targets of their horses to see if their predictions were valid. Both FTR and F-open produced some surprising results with all the scoring rings of the targets being used as the conditions punished anyone being conservative with their wind calls.
As competitors finished the rear of the firing point became a Melee to see how others had fared in the conditions and names were called with suspected eventual winners.
So how did it end….
In FTR a familiar face pulled it from the fire with an amazing score given the absence from the sport that was a Former World champion and now 4 times European Champion Russell Simmonds, Russell scored a formidable 99.11v’s just one point away from Simon Gambling on a superb score of 97.5v, I feel for Simon he must have thought he had won it with a score like that and in truth would have deserved it too but it wasn’t to be, Adam Bagnall held onto the Third place finishing with a 94.1v.
So, what about F-open….
Prior to the last detail the scores were so close with only a couple points between the leader and tenth place, all of the big names were there too including the overnight leader Gary Costello but following the last shot it appeared that from target one on the very left of the range an unsuspecting winner in the form of Tony Marsh appeared, not having featured on the podium over that last two days proved that it is consistency that pays off in matches like this and a special score of 97.11v took the win over second place Joe west by three points. Lance Vinall taking third place with a consistent performance from the start.
Saturday Individual 1000y results
|Russell Simmonds||99.1v||Tony Marsh||97.11v|
|Simon Gambling||97.5v||Paul Hill||96.5v|
|David Rollafson||94.6v||Joe West||95.15v|
|Simon West||94.4v CB||Phil Shambrook||95.4v|
|Vincent Meyer||94.4v||Tony Price||94.10v|
Saturday aggregate results
|Simon Gambling||244.18v||Tony Marsh||245.24v|
|Russel Simmonds||243.23v||Paul Hill||243.25v|
|Adam Bagnall||241.10v||Joe West||242.28v|
|Simon West||240.13v||Gianfranco Zanoni||241.19v|
|Vincent Meyer||239.10v||Gareth James||240.20v|
GBFC Individual European Championship results
|Russell Simmonds||483.37v||Tony Marsh||490.42v|
|Simon Gambling||482.36v||Joe West||487.58v|
|Adam Bagnall||479.35v||Lance Vinall||487.48v|
|Simon West||474.27v||Gary Costello||487.47v|
|Mark Webb||473.36v||Dehane Cownley||485.43v|
|Paul Crosbie||472.29v||David Lloyd||485.41v|
|Peter Dommett||471.38v||Alan Baldry||484.40v|
|David Rollafson||471.35v||Gianfranco Zanoni||483.44v|
|Steve Rigby||471.31v||Paul Harkins||483.43v|
|Matt Jarram||470.37v||Gareth James||482.44v|
Saturday evening was also our “meet and greet” with food and drinks provided by the GBFCA and supplied by the Surrey RC and Hofmeister, the food was great and the draught Hofmeister was very well received some more than others…. Lots of stories told the “nearly” “if’s” and “but’s” not forgetting the “if only’ s” with all our competitors and friends etc in one place our sponsors got a greater exposure too which is great, the stories carried on through the evening albeit getting more and more slurred, at one point I believe piglet and Pumbaa’s slush machine became host to a Rum and Whisky mixer! The result was a Rob Hale that couldn’t speak and barely walk which was I have to say was very amusing and Shaun Baker being dragged by his dog back to the caravan, the only problem was that his dog didn’t know where his caravan was!
Sunday International Rutland team Shoot
Sunday dawned a bright new day which is more that we can say for some of the competitors. However, Team captains assembled for the obligatory briefing and target allocation, and we all made our way to the 900y firing point. With RO’s on duty Butt markers in place and the range locked down we addressed our firing points for the 2 & 20 shots to count for each of the teams four shooters at 900 & 1000 yards. Here both FTR and F-open shoot in the same detail. This year due to the pandemic team numbers are down from normal years with the international teams taking the biggest hit, we did however have seven F-open and five FTR teams competing which was enough to make it an enjoyable experience for all. Team shooting within the UK is becoming increasingly more popular as it is so much fun, The 900-yard comp seemed to cause problems for some and made this distance more influential than the 1000y for some reason be it nerves etc but falling back to 1000y things seemed to improve especially with the elevations and all the teams were putting in competitive scores. Some teams have been experimenting with new ideas about the way to do things and this led to a scoring issue which required the use of our Match Director and so a delay was incurred whilst the situation could be resolved. So, all good experience and both sides of the dispute will have taken something from the experience.
GBFC European international Rutland teams match results
|White Horse Lodge||573.40v||Great Britain Red||585.54v|
|Great Britain Red||567.40||Team Italy||582.45v|
|101 RC||561.35v||Not so strange….RS||578.45v|
|Great Britain Blue||561.31v||Great Britain Blue||576.49v|
|Gun Fu Panda’s||560.30||Team Russia||573.43v|
|Joe West RS||570.43v|
Following our team’s match, the presentation of awards was carried out in the marquee with a fitting atmosphere to the conclusion of a great 5 days of very competitive shooting, close rivals congratulated the winners such is the sportsmanship within our close community with a promise to beat you next time! Following all of the award ceremony and pictures we had a raffle to distribute all of the great and substantial prizes very kindly donated from our sponsors, so rather than awarding them to the winners everyone that had entered had a chance of winning something great, each competitor’s index number was placed in a bag and pulled and announced by our event organisers Peter Dommett and Richie Jones. Anyone that wasn’t present to collect their prize basically lost it with a new number pulled so to encourage all to stay for the award ceremony, a few will be kicking themselves having lost out, so a lesson learned for next year!
So with all of the itinerary concluded we all left for the corners of Europe with plans already building for next year.
We must give a big thanks too for the numerous persons needed to be able to make an event such as this possible such as our RO’s Butt Markers and supervisors the NRA and GBFCA committee with most of them not being visible you know who you are so thank you.
Richie triumphant on delivering a successful event…thank God for that…
See you all next year!