LAST MINUTE XMAS GIFTCOMPETITION IDEAS FOR SHOOTERS ON TEST - ELEY STEEL SHELLS ED EW VI
GUERINI INVICTUS ASCENT How do they achieve
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
those superb trigger pulls?
£75,000 PURDEY ON TEST
BEAUTY BEAST OF THE
This 100% British made gun is a relentless clay crusher
See page 22
LESSONS FROM MY FIRST YEAR SHOOTING IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT GUN
The EJ Churchill team gear up for 2020
RIZZINI SERIES GRAND FINAL
Meet the horseracing, motorcycling, clayshooting powerhouse
WHAT A YEAR FOR THE ENGLAND SHOOTER!
BEST OF BRITISH GB TALENT PATHWAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
RIZZINI GRAND FINALE Everyone’s a winner at the final of the 2019 Rizzini Series, but Richard Faulds stands out above them all, reports James Marchington
hank goodness we weren’t doing this yesterday! That was the abiding feeling at the big final of the 2019 Rizzini Series, held at Honesberie Shooting School’s competition ground at Hill Farm, Watergall, six miles down the road from their main ground. The previous day had seen hurricane force winds and driving rain, but that seemed like a bad memory as finals day, Sunday 3 November, dawned calm and dry. Before long the sun burst through and
shooters were reaching for their shades as they tackled the 24-target Sportrap final layout. There were some very attractive prizes on offer – unusually the class and category prizes are every bit as valuable as the top level prizes, with a Rizzini BR110 gun to be won in every category and class, along with Gamebore cartridges, Vario earplugs and even the odd bottle of Honesberie’s own brand of sloe gin. The prize structure is certainly a big incentive for juniors, ladies and the lower classes who rarely get the opportunity to win a gun.
Just competing today was an achievement in itself. Honesberie’s Tom Howe explains: “We’ve had ten qualifying shoots this year. Each one was 100 Sporting, and to qualify for today’s final you had to win your class or category. There are cash prizes down to third place on each of the registered shoots, and if you’re determined to qualify for the final and don’t make it you can keep coming back.” He continues: “The Rizzini Series has gone very well this year, it’s proved very popular, and I think it adds something to our registered shoots and encourages
The final was shot over five stands, Sportrap style
Honesberie, Gamebore, Rizzini - three big names behind the event
Richard Faulds shoots the final
AA class final under way
Overall winner Richard Faulds
Veterans winner Adrian Balham
Honesberie’s Nick Hollick checks the scores
people to come along. The prizes are a big draw, and we’re really grateful to Rizzini for putting up the prizes.” With a long list of categories and classes to decide, Tom and ground owner Nick Hollick started on the dot and pushed through with smooth efficiency. First up were the juniors, with nine shooting in two heats. Josh Bennion, shooting in heat 2, took the honours with a excellent 21. Tom Howe comments: “ Obviously the AA shots are always interesting to watch and everyone flocks to see them shoot, but watching the juniors shoot to such a high standard is really good too. The ladies did themselves proud as well – it’s just nice to watch good shooting across the board.” After the juniors and ladies finals it was the turn of the veterans, with the list of well known names including Arnie Palmer and Carl Bloxham. That contest too drew a good crowd, and was eventually won by Adrian Balham with 21 – which was turning out to be the score to beat, having won the first three categories. The Honesberie team moved through the class finals with such efficiency that we
were soon ahead of schedule. S Wyper took C Class, S Green won B, and D Taylor A. As Tom had predicted, a crowd gathered to watch the AA shots take up their positions. Heat 1 threw up no fewer than four 21s, from M Myers, M Ivey, C Childerhouse and M Rouse. Would we see a shoot-off for the top spot? Richard Faulds soon put paid to that idea, shooting a superb 23 ex-24 in heat 2 and taking the win outright. A shootoff settled the positions, with Chris Childerhouse taking second place and Martin Myers third. Richard was thrilled with his win. “Yes I’m very pleased,” he said. “At least the weather is a bit better today. Yesterday I was shooting partridges on the Isle of Wight in 119 mile an hour winds. I think some of them are probably still airborne!” He added: “It’s been a good few months for me. I was looking on the CPSA website and since the beginning of May there’s only two shoots I haven’t won. One was the Sportrap at Southdown, and the other was the British Open Sportrap at High Lodge. It shows there’s life in the old dog!”
Sponsors Rizzini displayed their range of game and clay guns
Junior winner Josh Bennion
Ladies 3rd place Liz Salmon
LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS There’s still time to find the perfect present for the shooter in your life, but don’t leave it too late! If you’re stuck for ideas, we’ve put together this handy guide to gifts that any shooter would be pleased to receive this Christmas.
Purdey men’s fleece gilet
Pilla shooting glasses
There are dozens of similar long sleeved fleece jackets – so Le
Pilla shooting glasses are popular with UK shooters for good reason.
Chameau went back to the drawing board and came up with the
They provide superb optical performance and impact protection,
Blockley. Made from finely knitted Italian wool bonded to technical
with a huge range of tints and colours for all grounds and types
polyester fleece for warmth and breathability, the result is a quick-
of weather. You can build the system you want, and there are inserts
drying full-zip fleece jacket with class-leading heat retention and
available for prescription lenses too. A simple kit costs from around
natural stretch. Available in grey, sage green, navy and brown.
£300 – or if you’re buying a gift, there are gift vouchers available from
RRP: £245 Sizes: S-XXL www.lechameau.com
AimCam Pro2i camera glasses
Master Lock portable safe
AimCam glasses function as normal protective and tinted shooting
Protect your valuables when out and about with this portable safe by
glasses, and have a built-in camera to record the view from your
Master Lock. It features a concealed cable that can be locked to fixed
aiming eye – ideal if you want to analyse each shot afterwards, or just
objects. It’s compact, measuring around 9in x 5in x3in, so it won’t
like sharing your shooting adventures. The latest model, the Pro2i.
take a shotgun fore-end for example, but it will fit a phone, small
has improved image quality and a useful vibration feedback system to
camera, keys, cash and other valuables. The case is water resistant
confirm when you’re recording. You can control the camera through a
and shock absorbent, so it gives the contents a good degree of
phone app, and even livestream the picture to your smartphone.
protection when travelling.
RRP £299.99 www.shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com
RRP: £29.99 www.masterlock.eu
Socks are a bit of a Christmas cliché, but these will be warmly
The Streamlight Super Siege is a traditional lantern shape, which
received by anyone who spends time outdoors. HJ Hall launched
stands on any flat surface or can be hung from a hook. It has five
the ProTrek range this year, made from their own ultra-durable,
LEDs with six output modes and a battery indicator built into the on-
moisture wicking, scientific wool blend to ensure feet stay warm and
off button. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery and you
comfortable. They offer long-lasting durability and comfort and come
can even use it as a powerbank to charge up a mobile phone or other
in a range of lengths for shoes, boots or wellies.
USB device. Output is 1,100 lumens..
RRP: From £10.50 www.hj.co.uk
RRP: £161 www.streamlight.com
Blaser All-Season boots
Le Chameau women’s Field Vest
These quality boots from Blaser are lightweight, robust, waterproof
Made from bespoke British tweed, Le Chameau’s elegant women’s
and breathable, with a shock-absorbing EVA midsole and a Vibram
field vest is both flattering and stylish in its design. It features a
sole for a sure footing on any terrain. They have strong riveted
Napoleon pocket, signature Le Chameau shooting pockets and
hooks and eyes with locking hooks, and are made with high grade
buttons on the right-hand side to avoid obstruction when shooting. It
Perwanger leather with a rubber bumper.
works well as a layering piece in combination with a jacket or fleece,
RRP £215.00 www.blaser.de
as well as a shirt and jumper depending on the weather.
Le Chameau unisex boots
Men’s Recon boots
Le Chameau’s Jameson boot has been reworked for optimal comfort
These sturdy walking boots from Ariat are built to last. They have
and fit. It’s made with premium leather with new Michelin soles, and is
Ariat’s proprietary 4LR footbed for support and cushioning, a mesh
waterproof, resistant and comfortable for all day wear all year round.
lining, and an oil and slip-resistant outsole for sure grip. Double speed
A unique heel pocket in the calf makes it easy to slip on and off.
hooks make them easy to get on and off – and they look the part too.
RRP: £385 www.lechameau.com
RRP: £150 www.ariat.com
RRP: £295 www.lechameau.com
Our poll to select the nation’s favourite shooting ground is back. Who gets your vote this year? hat’s your favourite shooting ground near you? What about the best one for Trap, or Skeet? And what’s the best one full stop? Everyone has their personal picks, and we all know that barely anyone agrees on which ground truly is the best. That’s why our Nation’s Favourite Shooting Ground poll has been so enduringly popular – it’s voted for by the clay shooting public, which means you can have your say and help your favourite ground win. Plus, it gives crucial recognition to the ground owners and managers who work hard at all hours of day and night to put on excellent shoots and keep us coming back week after week.
Can South West Shooting School hold on to their crown?
Of course, a good clay ground is about more than targets. It’s about the quality of the facilities, variety of activities on offer, friendliness of the staff, availability of a decent bacon roll after you’ve finished your round… and the Nation’s Favourite Shooting Ground takes all those into account. You can vote using any criteria you choose, and there are categories for regional grounds, disciplinespecific grounds and of course the Best Breakfast award. Everything else is down to you. Every ground in the UK is eligible, the categories go to a public vote, and the one with the most votes in each category wins – simple as that. That makes these awards a true gauge of the opinion of the shooting
community, and that’s why we’re so proud to run them every year.
Runners and riders
The Nation’s Favourite Shooting Ground award has gone to a different ground nearly every year – a sign of its open and democratic nature. The only ground that ever managed to hold on to the title was Southdown, which won in 2017 and 2018 – but was denied the hattrick last year by South West Shooting School’s victory. This year, the competition is wide open once again. Will we see a familiar winner or will an up-and-coming ground rise through the ranks and take the crown? Voting closes at the end of January, so we’ll find out in a few short months…
Southdown was a two-time winner of the award in 2017 and 2018
How to vote
As with previous years, you decide the overall winner as well as all the regional and discipline winners and the Best Breakfast award. Just fill in the voting form below and send it to NFSG 2020, Clay Shooting Magazine, Units 1&2 Sugarbrook Court, Aston Road, Bromsgrove B60 3EX. Or head over to www.clay-shooting.com/nfsg to cast your vote online.
Barbury was the first ever winner of the coveted NFSG award
Voting opens when this issue of Clay Shooting goes on sale, and closes at 11.59pm on 31 January 2020. We will print another voting form in the next issue then announce the final results in the April 2020 issue. And don’t forget our usual warnings: Only one vote per person will be counted. Don’t bother trying to get around this rule! We’ll be checking the print entries against the online entries for any duplicates, and
our vote counters are extremely adept at spotting fake names. If you’re a ground, you can collect your customers’ votes and send them to us in bulk, but make sure you send them off in good time – if they arrive after the deadline, they won’t be counted. Don’t forget that you can also vote online by going to www.clay-shooting. com/nfsg as well as by post. May the best ground win!
¨ I am over 18 years of age. Signed: ________________________________________
VOTE NOW FOR THE NATION’S FAVOURITE SHOOTING GROUND Name.................................................................................................................... Address................................................................................................................ Telephone............................................................................................................. Email..................................................................................................................... Favourite national ground................................................................................... Favourite local ground........................................................................................ Favourite Trap ground......................................................................................... Favourite Skeet ground....................................................................................... Favourite Sporting ground................................................................................. Best breakfast..................................................................................................... Comments on your choices............................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. You don’t need to vote in every category, but please let us know what makes your favourite ground the best.
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¨ I agree to Future’s terms and conditions. Entry closing date: 31 January 2020 Post your entry to: NFSG 2020, Clay Shooting Magazine, Units 1&2 Sugarbrook Court, Aston Road, Bromsgrove B60 3EX Or enter online at www.clay-shooting.com/nfsg
Terms and Conditions: By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions and the Competition Rules found at www.futuretcs.com. Entries must be made on the official entry form and be received by 11.59pm on 31 January 2020. Open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over.
“Some guns require a bit of time to settle in with, but the Ascent and I were soon well acquainted”
TRIGGERING BETTER SCORES There’s a lot to like about the Caesar Guerini Invictus I Ascent, especially those triggers, says Richard Atkins TECH SPEC MAKE Caesar Guerini MODEL Invictus I Ascent Sporter multichoke ACTION O/U boxlock SST BARREL LENGTH 30” GAUGE / CHAMBER 12g / 70mm (Steel proof) OVERALL LENGTH 48” PULL LENGTH 15” CHOKES 8 Maxischoke Competition tubes supplied WEIGHT 8lbs 5.5 oz (3.8Kg) SRP £4,530 UK DISTRIBUTOR Anglo Italian Arms www. caesargueriniuk.com
e have featured several Caesar Guerini guns in these pages and they have so far proven very well received. This month’s test gun is from the increasingly popular Invictus range, and is engraved with the designation ‘Invictus I’ on the underside of the receiver. There are several variations of the Invictus I; this is the Ascent, although that title is not actually engraved on the gun. Being part of the Invictus line, the gun has replaceable hinges and locking lugs. If you remove the barrels, you can see this for yourself. Look at the hinge points either side of the monobloc. The arrangement is unlike any other, and actually reverses the more familiar trunnion or hinge pin format. The Invictus design has the trunnions set into the barrel monobloc and the recesses into which they engage are precision machined into the receiver side walls. But that’s not all. The trunnions are considerably larger diameter than typical hinge trunnions, which can help to give a long service life. If they do ever wear loose, they can be easily renewed by removing two retaining screws and replaced with the next size up. Furthermore the other potential key wear point is where the barrel recoil lugs contact their mating surfaces in the receiver. The Invictus design employs a sturdy bridge piece in the receiver floor, which provides a robust and hard wearing recoil face that is easily removed and replaced by the next size up if that ever becomes necessary. We are told that these features
Richard Atkins has decades of experience testing guns, cartridges and accessories, and is our expert on all aspects of ballistics, shotgun performance and technical analysis
ensure that a properly maintained Invictus should provide its owner with ‘a million rounds plus’ – now that is a bold claim!
Built for serious use
The Invictus receiver is the embodiment of a gun designed for serious and heavy clay target use. One example is the combined manual safety and barrel selector. This has the useful feature of only allowing barrel selection to be done with the catch in the rear ‘Safe’ position. This avoids any chance of the barrel selection being inadvertently reversed while shooting or reloading. The overall width of the receiver is 43mm over the well crafted side bolsters, which serve to provide both additional weight between the hands and added strength and rigidity. This is achieved by the very intricate machining and finishing that creates the bolsters and deeply sculptured top fences. The engraving is largely laser applied, but extremely well executed, with circular patterns, leaves and scrolls, plus some stippling. This produces an ornate embellishment while not being over-stated, further enhancing the overall appearance. The engraving is signed by the famed Bottega de Giovanelli studio in Brescia who engrave guns for many leading makers. Their work is so good that it’s hard to believe it isn’t done entirely by hand, but that’s just not economic today. I accept that engraving gains no targets but it is nice to own a good-looking gun.
Guns & Gear
The features continue, for within the Ascent internals are more helpful developments. Remove the fore-end and you will see a graduated dial within the extended fore-end iron tang. Using the key provided this can be rotated to increase or decrease the pressure applied to the rear of the fore-end loop on the barrel, adjusting the opening and closing resistance.
Barrels and chokes
The barrels are constructed on the near universal monobloc system. They are well bored, assembled with ventilated side ribs and neatly finished. The barrel tubes are bored straight, internally well polished, with the muzzles slightly flared to accept the 80mm long Maxischoke Competition choke tubes. Having been well struck-off for a smooth surface, the barrels have been, blacked giving a durable, semi matte, non-glare finish. The barrels are proofed for steel shot and carry the Fleur de Lys emblem to signify this. Bores are 18.6mm diameter with 85mm long extended forcing cones. The barrels printed their patterns close to one another at 20 yards on the pattern plate. Eight chokes tubes are supplied, from Cylinder to Full, so there is plenty of choice. The tubes, although long, are not heavy, being smaller in external diameter than some. This is helpful because, even with the
20mm knurled extension, they do not add unduly to forward weight which helps with good feel and balance. The Cylinder choke weighs only 23 grams, the Light Mod 29 grams and Full choke 35 grams. Pattern tests showed the chokes worked well, so there is no need to buy after-market choke tubes. A feature of the Ascent model, designed to complement the stock form, is a medium height raised and ventilated top rib. Itâ€™s 10mm wide at the breech and tapers down to 8mm at the muzzle. Maximum height is 9mm with a ramped section rising from the breech. The top surface has a finely cross milled antiglare top surface with a smooth narrow central groove that leads the eye to the small central metal bead and medium sized white bead front post. I really liked this arrangement, as I like to check my mount regularly.
BELOW LEFT The patented adjustable comb works well BELOW RIGHT Sears and bents are well made, giving light, crisp trigger pulls
All images © Georgina Roberts
Georgina Roberts is an athlete, ambassador, and the youngest coach in British Shooting. She is also the first woman to captain the Welsh OTR team.
FINDING THE RIGHT GUN Georgina Roberts describes her search for perfection, in the face of conflicting advice
hen you’re getting started in shooting, one of the most important things to get right is your equipment. That’s especially important at a competitive level. Factors like gun fit and barrel weight are all crucial to performance – and preferences and shape will vary from person to person. As someone starting out in shooting, or even just looking for a new gun, it can seem very daunting – but it needn’t be. When I chose my first gun, I did plenty of research and comparison to make
sure I found the right one for me. The sheer volume of guidance I was given was overwhelming to say the least. What I’ve realised is that everyone has an opinion. It is almost always intended to be a help rather than hindrance, but it can still be confusing and conflicting. Over time I’ve come to realise it’s best to listen without necessarily always acting on the advice I’m given. It’s easier to deliver the best results when I have a single source of input to focus on. When choosing my first gun, much of the advice I received revolved around a lightweight gun. That may be lighter to
carry around, but you feel the recoil more when shooting. The heavier the gun is, the slower it’s pushed back by recoil – so the impact to your shoulder is reduced. Guns are expensive, so when you invest in one you want to make sure it’s the right gun for you. I find it helpful to decide on exactly what you want it for and what qualities you need – and then remind yourself of these points when shopping around so that you don’t get distracted. My first Trap gun was stunning. My parents spent hours with me at Mid Wales Shooting Centre whilst I tried every
The Perazzi has changed since Georgina first picked it up, as she strives for the best set up
Trap gun there. The last gun I tried was a beautifully engraved Beretta DT10 L – and I fell in love. She was, and still is, my baby. My parents like to remind me of a time where a family friend asked me if I had a boyfriend and my response was “I don’t need a boyfriend, I have a Beretta!” I am very lucky that one of the first major influences in my Olympic Trap journey was the legendary Martin Barker of Nuthampstead Shooting Ground. We had
“I don’t need a boyfriend, I have a Beretta!” many battles over that gun – the original walnut stock had a striking grain through it, but as a fixed stock it didn’t fit me at all. Martin was determined to get me to cut it into an adjustable, but I thought the wood was too nice to chop up!
After digging my feet in for a few months, like stubborn teenagers do, I compromised and went back to Mid Wales Shooting Centre to pick up a secondhand adjustable stock. As expected, my performance improved because I could see down the rib – and Martin had the decency to not say “I told you so.” The moral of the story is that you need to get on and make the changes necessary to improve. Even though the adjustable stock was a much better fit, it was much smaller and lighter than the original. That made the gun extremely nose-heavy, with the barrels weighing 1.580kg. I struggled with this weight distribution as I didn’t have the upper body strength to control the gun and speed to the target.
As someone with a slim frame, I have always struggled with control and recoil and subsequently keeping my head on the stock, so when Perazzi brought out the High Tech, I wanted to have a go. The action of this model is wider, with the weight being distributed between the hands and close to the hinge point in order to lessen recoil. Not only did it lessen recoil, the evenly distributed weight meant that my gun control was so much better. After seeing how much difference this made, my parents very generously gifted me with a flat rib High Tech. This gun suited me better, with barrel weight being a lot lighter – originally at 1.560kg before I had them ported, which also made a dramatic difference on my gun control.
Mike Yardley is one of Britain’s best known shooting instructors and writers. A clay shot for 50 years, he is a founding fellow of APSI and a former British sideby-side champion.
BEAUTY OF THE BEAST
Mike Yardley is blown away by the £75,000 Sporting Clays shotgun from Purdey
t takes quite a lot to get me excited, but the new Purdey Sporting Clays gun has managed to catch my attention. It is a big, beautiful, 8lb 9oz beast dedicated to modern Sporting competition without making any concessions whatsoever. The gun, into which there has been much R&D, is entirely London made and carries a price tag of £62K plus VAT. Yup, almost £75,000, give or take. That is an awful lot of cartridges and pitch discs. You could buy half a dozen or more top-flight clay guns for that. Indeed, in some parts of the country, you could still buy a house or flat with such a capital sum. Is any gun worth that much? I doubt the people who can afford a new Purdey will be troubling themselves much with the answer to that question. I’m just delighted Purdey are still making such things to their renowned standards and keeping ancient trade skills alive as well as developing new ones based in the most sophisticated tech. The firm make more expensive full sidelocks too. This gun, however, is built around a V-spring powered trigger-plate detachable action
not unlike a Perazzi MX8 and follows on from the Purdey Sporter model – still in production – made in collaboration with Perugini and Visini in Italy for more than a decade. No shooting enthusiast seeing this new gun could fail to be impressed. Its large form is still most elegant. The slightly rounded action is beautiful. The entire gun is superbly finished as one expects from Purdey. Barrels are best blacked, the exhibition grade wood has lovely figure, the side-plates are hand engraved with tight scroll in the Purdey fashion. Pins are blued, a historical nod to Purdey’s past. The silver finished action (colour hardening is an option) has a quickdetachable trigger-lock with a release catch to the left rear of the trigger guard. Chokes are flush-fitting Teague with extended and ported chokes as options. Beyond all the outward stuff, this is a gun that has been created with serious competition in mind. Within its specification is all the knowledge acquired by Purdey’s own international sales staff, who include a couple of outstanding clay shots, on their multiple sojourns to the USA. As well as that, the famous firm
Guns & Gear
“It’s a wonderful gun, and superbly made. If I had the money, I’d buy one” have sought out the opinion of a number of high level competitors at home and abroad. This is a model that has had a lot of expert thought put into it. To quote Purdey’s own descriptive material: “The specifications were developed by an in-house team, together with the assistance of Don Currie, professional shotgun coach, gun fitter and Chief Instructor of the US National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA).” Mr Currie himself notes: “The balance and ‘pointability’ is every bit as good as we hoped, giving a quick, responsive feel, which is so essential for a Sporting Clays shotgun”. Purdey came out with a similar gun for game shooters last year, but the new clay model has some significant differences. Purdey are particularly proud of the re-designed stock and a new raised, ventilated rib which is individually made from solid metal. The stock has a thicker comb offering more facial support
than previous models. The comb is fairly high as well, to match the new rib – 115/16 in at heel on the test demonstrator gun with a front of comb measurement for drop of 17/16. That means it is close to the classic 1 ½ in and 2in – my usual preference for most applications with my fairly standard 5ft 11in frame. Notably, the stock comb is not excessively angled, potentially reducing felt recoil. There is an option of a Monte Carlo stock too. Length of pull on the ‘shelf’ measurement test gun is 151/8 in with a 5 degree pitch and 1/8 in cast-off at comb, ¼ in at heel, and 3/8 at toe. Apart from the high comb that’s pretty standard stuff. The grip has also been the subject of much thought. Full in form, it is tightly radiused with a palm-swell. The latter is not usually my thing, but, again, it was one of the best that I have encountered – and as this gun is entirely bespoke it will be fitted to the customer, so you don’t have to have it.
ABOVE Mike was particularly taken with the rounded action and exhibition grade wood
BELOW The comb is relatively high and not too angled, helping to reduce felt recoil
SHOWING THE MEN HOW IT’S DONE
English Open Compak ladies champion Becky McKenzie reveals the secrets of her success to Jasper Fellows ince she burst onto the competitive scene in 2007, Becky McKenzie has been a powerful force in shooting. She has scooped up World Championships wins, national and international titles, and more medals and trophies that you can shake a 12-bore at. This year she was crowned English Open Fitasc Compak Ladies Champion – a feat she puts down to her fierce competitiveness and constant desire to show the boys how it’s done. “I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy I guess,” says Becky, “there were no Barbie dolls in my home. I was more interested
Becky was successful in motorcycle racing before discovering clay shooting
in climbing trees and riding horses. It was through horses that I developed my love of competitive sport – I got a real kick out of the speed involved. I wasn’t really that interested in shooting back then though. My father shot a little bit, but only at small shoots on his friends’ land. I had a go once, but was far more interested in my ponies.” It was this love of horses that first brought Becky’s competitive edge into play. “When I was young I had a real desire to become a flat race jockey.” Becky continues. “Back then it was a male dominated sport. If you wanted to go far you had to be related to a trainer or an owner; it was very tough for females from beyond those inner circles to get a chance.”
Eventually Becky decided to move on from horses. “Aged 21 I decided to move on to something with real horsepower. I found an ad in the local paper for a free one-hour motorbike lesson and was instantly hooked. Slowly, I worked my way up from a small 125cc bike to a 750. I read about the East Midlands Racing Association Roadstock Series and decided I wanted to give it a go. There was a lot of preparation involved to get race ready. I had to get my racing licence and make sure my bike was up for the task. Soon though I realised that 750cc wasn’t enough, and so I traded that bike in for a 1,000cc Honda Fireblade. I had no trailer and no support team and I had to ride that bike from my
“There were no Barbie dolls at home – I was more interested in climbing trees and riding horses”
WHAT A HAUL FOR CHERYL!
Mike Bartlett looks back on a phenomenal year for Cheryl Hall t the end of last year Cheryl and I decided that we were exhausted and needed a break from clay shooting. This was due to the huge number of competitions that we’d done, including five trips to shoot in international events. We were shot out and mentally drained, so we put our guns away for a while.
Cheryl’s record for 2019 includes 16 wins and 9 runner-up places, and she ranked top lady in three disciplines
Neither of us had ever done this before so we were unsure how it would go – but it proved to be a great benefit to both of us. We both came back keen, the motivation was back at its peak again and we both really enjoyed pulling the trigger. Cheryl was a lot quicker to get back into it, while I struggled to regain some form for quite some time. I remember our first shots back, which was a few rounds of Skeet at
Edgehill Shooting Ground. I think my first round was about 17 and Cheryl’s was a 20. By the end of the 100, Cheryl had already shot a 25-straight, whereas I was still in the low 20s. We have learnt a lot from this break and we are hoping that this will pay dividends this coming season for both of us. We are starting back earlier this year as we were a bit out of practice when it came to the first few selection shoots, and Cheryl only just managed to keep her impeccable record of wins at the Essex Masters. From the Essex Masters onwards, Cheryl won almost everything in the UK. She was unlucky with illness and an eye dominance issue for the two World Championships, but that just makes her even more driven for next year. 2019 has been one of her best years yet – check out the list of what she has won just this year, totalling 16 wins and nine runner-up or silver medals. She finished the season ranked number one in English Sporting Ladies, Compak Ladies and FITASC Sporting Ladies – quite an achievement! Cheryl is a true role model for people wanting to lose weight but worried about not being able to shoot to the same level as they do now, whether they’re male or female. She has proved it is possible! Yes it will take some time and there will be changes required to gun fit, but Cheryl will be the first to tell you that she is happier now and that it was all worth it – so far anyway.
Wow, that felt like a long time coming! Thank you 2019 for proving to be one of the best comebacks ever. It has been a struggle, as with anything you do to a high level – but the perseverance and persistence to go on paid off. For the past two years it’s been a mix of ups and downs – a lack of consistency what with having the first real break from shooting for a while at the end of last season, losing weight, and reluctantly altering my gun fit to suit. That job was done over a very large glass of alcoholic refreshment, but I should add that Mike wasn’t under the influence whilst performing the operation!
CHERYLâ€™S WINS IN 2019
Another day, another championship â€“ this time Fitasc at Garlands
No.1 spot for Cheryl at the British Masters Fitasc Grand Prix
The year started off rusty as you would expect. However slowly but surely the form started to return, and my results began to reflect all the hard work I was putting in as well as the changes that we had made. One of the biggest highlights of the year for me was winning the European FITASC Championships in Hungary. This was the ninth time I had won this title and it was brilliant to have it back after time apart. The Essex Masters was also special; my long reign with this title is a record I am very proud of. And of course it was fantastic to end the year being crowned the Home International Ladies Sporting Champion. I would like to thank all my sponsors who have stood by me so far, and I hope that 2020 brings just as many results if not more. They are: Perazzi, RC Cartridges, Cens, Pilla, Magic Bore and Teague Precision chokes.
Essex Master Ladies Champion FITASC European Ladies Champion FITASC European Cup Ladies Champion Compak European Championships Ladies Runner Up Compak European Cup Ladies Runner up Compak European Championships Team Ladies Runner up Compak World Cup Ladies Runner Up Compak World Championships Team Ladies Runner up English Sporting Championship Ladies Champion Compak UK Championship Ladies High Gun Compak Sporting British Masters Ladies Champion English Sporting English Open Lady Champion FITASC British Masters Grand Prix Ladies Champion FITASC British Masters Ladies Champion Compak British Grand Prix Ladies Champion Welsh Open Sport trap Ladies Champion FITASC British Grand Prix Ladies Champion Compak Sporting Portugal Grand Prix Ladies Runner Up Home international Sporting England Lady High Gun Home international Sporting Overall Lady High Gun Home international FITASC England Lady High Gun Home international Sporting Ladies Team winners FITASC UK Grand Prix Sporting Ladies Runner Up Home international FITASC Overall Ladies Runner Up Compak World Championships Team Ladies Runner Up
On the podium again, at the British Compak Sporting Grand Prix
Ben Killian en started shooting with father Wayne at the age of eight, and progressed from a bolt-action .410 to a 20-bore semi-auto. He won Junior Men’s gold at the British Shooting Shotgun Series in August 2019, and has achieved success in international Helice competitions – Junior gold in the Italian Grand Prix in 2018, and Junior team silver at the 2019 World Championships in Rome. Ultimately, he wants to represent Great Britain at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. “I enjoy the challenge of hitting every target and improving each time I compete. I like the way I can be shooting next to an Olympic gold medallist one day and a World Champion the next. There is a community spirit in the sport – everyone is so approachable and I get support and advice from the best in the world. The turning point for me was in 2016, when I won the British Schools national Colt title. It was the first time I had experienced the thrill of competing. In 2017, I went for a talent identification day with British Shooting and joined the Talent Pathway. This has really impacted on my progression over the last 2 years, with my coaches Chris Dean and John Bellamy helping me to develop my technical skills. I shoot with a Perazzi MX8 Trap gun with fixed chokes at three-quarters and full. I’m sponsored by Kevin Gill and Mike Mansfield at Mirage UK/Anglo Italian Arms and use their fantastic Clever Pro Extra Evolution 24g 7½ shot cartridges. They have a superb pattern and are great for Olympic Trap. For Helice, I use Clever Rekords 28g 7¼ shot, which are formulated for it. I am privileged to be sponsored by Vario Hearables, and Ed Lyons Sports Vision sponsors me with my Pilla Panther X6 Shooting glasses. I have noticed a huge difference in my shooting scores since! Warwickshire-based TFJ Private GP Service have supported my shooting and I’m grateful for their encouragement. My ultimate ambition is to represent Great Britain at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. At the moment I’m working hard to improve my skills and mental approach to my shooting. I want to continue with my Olympic Trap development, and my next goal is to achieve selection to represent Great Britain in the World Cup or European Championships in 2020. It’s going to be a busy year all around, as I’ve also got my GCSEs to take!”
SHOOTERS TO WATCH James Marchington talks to two young shots who have proved they’ve got what it takes to succeed 58
“I always want to challenge and push myself, and in shooting you can do that”
Chloe Applin hloe, now 17, lives near Bristol. She shot to fame in young shots Sporting competition when she won the 2018 TSC Series at the Oxford Gun Company – collecting the fantastic prize of an MG car from sponsors Lodge Hill Garage. Although she can’t win the top prize again, she returned to compete in the series this year, collecting several prizes along the way. “I’ve been shooting since I was 11. I got into it through my dad, who shoots game, then started taking lessons with John Pool, who is a champion Fitasc coach. We knew him well and he lives nearby. The first time I shot clays, I really enjoyed it. That was at Braces of Bristol Shooting Ground. I kept going and got better and better. John, my coach, started taking me to competitions, to get me used to the competitive atmosphere. We went to local CPSA registered shoots and then moved on to some of the bigger ones, gradually moving up to the championships and selection shoots. I feel that winning the car in the TSC Series was my biggest achievement so far, and it was certainly the biggest prize! It’s something you really have to work for, attending all the shoots in the series to qualify for the Grand Final and shoot-off. Following that, I’d say this year, 2019, has been my busiest year, with the most competitions. I did the England and GB selection shoots for both Fitasc and English Sporting. Included in that was the big club championships, grand prix, UK championships and British Opens. It was my first year of entering those competitions and really I was just getting used to it. It’s been challenging, but I’ve really enjoyed it and I had some success – I came third in my category in the British Open Sporting.
Now we’re into the winter, and it’s a quieter time of year. I did the county shoots with the Somerset team. In fact we did quite well in the South West Inter-Counties. Our juniors team won the Fitasc, and the ladies won the Sporting and the Sportrap. What is it that appeals to me about shooting? I think it’s something you can always go out and do better. There’s always something there to challenge you and push you. That’s what really keeps me going, I always want to challenge and push myself as much as I can, and in shooting you can always do that.
I shoot a Miroku MK38, which I’ve found to be a good, solid, reliable gun. I’m grateful to my sponsors, including Fiocchi who helped me out a lot this year – and I really like their cartridges. Teague sponsor me, and I’m using their titanium chokes which are very good. Penny Plant Hire & Demolition, a local company to me, helped me with entry fees, cartridges and the like. Looking ahead, my goals would be to get into the England or GB team for Sporting or Fitasc. Plus next year I want to try and take up an Olympic discipline, probably Olympic Trap, and see how that goes.”
Anita North won silver and gold in Women’s Trap at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2010. She is now a British Shooting GB Talent Programme coach.
PATHWAY TO SUCCESS
Anita North reports from the British Shooting Pathway Championships and Promatic Grand Prix he Promatic Grand Prix provided a friendly competition to round off the clay season at Nuthampstead Shooting Ground over the weekend of 19 and 20 October. The weekend was also British Shooting Talent Pathway Championships, which has become a regular fixture held at the end of the year’s block of training for shooters on the Pathway. This competition is of particular interest to me, as I have been coaching on the Pathway for four years and have a particular interest in getting more groups established around the country. This year also saw shooters from the British Army Olympic development squads take this opportunity to test some of the skills they have been working on during the year. For some shooters it was their first ever competition in their chosen Olympic disciplines of Olympic Trap or Olympic
The Olympic Skeet class winners collect their prizes from Nuthampstead’s Ed Barker
ABOVE Skeet winners L-R George Downing, Denzil Grose and Rob Vincent
International Skeet. Indeed, for some it was their first competition in any shooting discipline. With a number of the Pathway coaches attending the weekend, shooters were supported in this step. The Pathway Championships continue to evolve, and this was the second year that Trap was contested over 125 targets shot over two days. Skeet has now also followed this format, having previously being a oneday competition. For Trap, the incorporation of Pathway shooters into the Promatic Grand Prix meant there were 21 Pathway shooters amongst the seven squads of Trap shooters, while there were 19 shooters split into four squads for Skeet. The start on Saturday saw autumnal weather, mostly cool and bright, with cloud developing so that light conditions changed during the day. In the Trap competition, Pathway shooter Ben Killian was in impressive form and ended the day joint top of the leader board with Bernard Yeoh on 72 ex-75. Jake Janes, another Pathway shooter, was one target behind, while Pathway shooters Richard Parker and Mark Robinson were two targets behind him. It was great to see four Pathway shooters in the top ten overnight. There were some significant milestones for shooters,
including Elise Dixon shooting her first 25-straight on the second round of the day. In the Skeet competition, Gary Young finished the day at the top of the scoreboard with 65, followed by George Downing and Rob Vincent, with Denzil Grose and Maddie Russell in joint fourth
“You may have felt out of your comfort zone, but that’s where great learning happens – you did it!” place and Kirstin Vogel making up the top six shooters overnight. All was to play for on the second day. Sunday saw dull autumn weather with a definite chill in the air, but conditions remained fairly constant through the day. Over the two days, Ben Killian, Jake Janes
and Mark Robinson shot consistently to earn their places in the Promatic Grand Prix final. They were joined by Bernard Yeoh, David Izzard and Wayne Killian (Ben’s father). Jake and Ben had strong performances in the final, and ultimately it was Jake Janes who took the win, followed by Ben Killian with Bernard Yeoh finishing in third place. The Pathway Championships also provided a full ISSF format final for both Trap and Skeet. In the Trap competition, with Ben, Jake and Mark in the Promatic Grand Prix final, the next highest score from a Pathway shooter was 113 from Richard Parker in his first ever registered competition in any discipline. Richard went into the final in pole position. The other finalists were Maddie Purser, Zara Dunford, Niven Schofield and Elise Dixon. The final was fiercely contested and Richard maintained his composure throughout to take the win, with Niven in second place and Maddie in third place. Meanwhile in Skeet, Denzil Grose was the highest in qualification with a score of 104. He was joined in the final by George Downing, Rob Vincent, Gary Young, Maddie Russell and Sebastian Noakes. It took a shoot off at the end of the final between Denzil and Rob to decide the winner.
Maddie Purser shoots the final of the Trap competition
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