So here we go again, the duo of Richard and Andy heading off to another GP. This time is the last Double header with GP5 at Emley Moor on the Saturday and then Sunday down to Anston for GP6, see the next chapter.
So Friday morning the sky is a bit cloudy but not raining, yet! With the car loaded up, supposedly but find out later, off to the ferry and the start of the trip up. Normal route would have been via Silverstone but the navigator, me, realised that it’s the British GP there so a place to avoid really.
Yet again we had a little diversion and to a place we both know really well now Ripley Rifles workshop for Richard to have a little bit of work done on his new toy a Ripley XL9. However traffic getting there was just slow. Slow on the M3, slow on the A34, a crawl on the M40 until past the Silverstone turnoff. So we arrive there about 130pm in the afternoon.
Down to there workshop and a bit of banter between Steve, Russ and ourselves whilst the work was being done. It was halfway through this work when the lightbulb moment came to me, being an idiot, I had left the air bottle to fill rifles up at home.
We left Ripley about 530pm and continued the journey north to Wakefield and our base for the weekend, Holmfield Arms, a Greene King Pub and Hotel. Arriving there just after 7 we put our stuff into the room before heading back for dinner and a few beers.
We both went with the mixed grill and drunk Hogsback TEA (stands for Traditional English Ale) from Surrey. We had just about started on our 3rd pints when a fellow regional shooter turned up, Paul Whitehouse. He grabbed a couple of beers for himself and joined us, unfortunately he turned up about 3 minutes after last orders for food.
We had a good chat until nearly 11pm, with us being the last to leave the pub, whoops.
Saturday morning came around and walking to the car we are trying to decide is it going to rain or will the wind pick up. During the 10 minute drive to the ground wecame across dry and wet patches of tarmac so guessed it do both and maybe stay with light winds.
After checking in, getting our score cards and start lanes, headed off to see Nikki for a Sausage bap with raw onion and a hot drink. As we usually do paid with change which she is always needing. After that a quick zero check and then rifles away ready for the shout to start.
The course was in a big U shape, with the inner part of the U being what’s left of a spoil heap and all the cars parked on. This spoil heap is about 20yards high and quite well established with plenty of mature trees on its sides.
Using the U shape, lane 1 started on the top right of the letter with lane 25 on the other side. I started on lane 19 whilst Richard was on about 10, so near the bottom right curve of the U. With Yellow targets they were going to be easy to find but in a careless moment you could go for the wrong one in a few places. For Richard he got a reasonable start dropping 3 targets in his first 4 lanes before improving the hit to miss ratio dropping only 2 more on the way to lane 25.
W ith me starting a bit further round, I would say a disaster of a start dropping 5 in the first 3 lanes. A positional lane not helping, but I got my act together a bit and cleared the next 3 lanes before dropping another 2 on another positional lane.
Must be a GP thing as doing quite well on practise sessions at the club. It was at this point the weather changed and decided best to start raining, not heavy and being under trees we were sheltered quite a bit. But after the 10 minutes of rain came the thunder, it sounded all around us about 2-3 miles away but no rain with it.
The next 4 lane runup to lane 25 I hit them all. Whilst the wind was calm it did vary its direction and strength but very difficult to see any movement on the strings. So at lane 25 I had dropped 7, not bad considering the start.
After a walk up the slope and down the other side we found lane 1. It was after clearing the first 2 lanes the wheels sort of fell off a bit more for me. I got a couple of OXO lanes then clear 1 before some more OXO lanes. It was in this section I got my only positional targets a short 18yd 25mm stander and a 41yd kneeler from the standing position. With the long kneeler was another 25mm slightly shorter than the previous one which I missed! Definitely more practice needed.
As I rounded the bottom of the U to head back to my last lane I got back into the groove clearing 2 lanes, missing both standers, then clearing the last 2 lanes to finish on a satisfactory 35
However, it was not only my wheels that fell off on the right side of the U. Richard cleared the first lane missed one of the next cleared the next and over the next 6 lanes missed another 6.
For both of us it was wind errors or not so much errors but not seeing its direction or strength. Those who shoot the ground regularly might get to know what it might do but visitors it’s a challenge. This is now our 5 visit to the ground in a year and that right corner of the ground gets me. Speaking to the some of the members it’s a case of where the winds combine from going each side of the spoil heap and coming in from the field.
A t the end of the day Richard finished with a 38 and me with a 35. Whilst we might have been happy, Scott Pywell not so. He had managed to lock his car keys in the boot of his car. Keyless entry might be OK but always best to keep the keep in a trouser pocket before closing any doors. Quotes to get in varied between £60, which is what it cost to £150 via AA. So we were reasonably happy with the scores until we found out that the course had been cleared by James Osbourne. That’s 2 GPs in a row that have had clearances and both shooters it was there 2nd clearances over the years of FT Shooting.
W e spent a bit of the afternoon walking and talking to shooters, you get to see some interesting rain water protection, and Richard then got to spend a little time with his XL9 after getting a quick 30yd zero.
55yd spinners were regularly hit by aiming off as well as a few other targets. Around mid afternoon we decided to head back to the hotel but arranged to dinner with Paul at 6pm.
We stuck with what we knew was good so 3 mixed grills ordered, some chat about the day and some beers followed by Triple Chocolate Brownie Sundaes for pudding. Not a late night though with the results of the day now released we went back to the room. Paul yawning the way back to the bar for a whiskey nightcap.
Looking at the results Richard dropped 2 places but still in the top 10 in grade and Andy was still 11th in grade. Thunder had started to rumble around again in the evening.