Gary Chillingworth reports on one of his favourite events of the year
Gary Chillingworth is at one of his favourite HFT events - the M.A.D. double-header
T here is no doubt in my mind that one of the largest and most enjoyed shooting events of the year is the Maldon and District ( M. A.D.) double- header. Many venues put on two- day events, but the M. A.D. summer bash is certainly one of the best.
There is always a huge party atmosphere and if you are brave enough to camp for the weekend, then there is much drinking and singing and good humoured shenanigans. If you are very good, shooters will regale you with stories of missed targets and failed dreams, all washed down with sarsaparilla and more meat than it’s healthy for a human to eat. In fact, the M. A.D weekend is probably the closest we will ever come to partying like Vikings.
For 2018, the course- setting team of Richard Woods, Jean Greatrex and Steve Edmonson has spent two weeks getting the club ready and it looked stunning. To make sure that the courses were a suitable challenge, Richard and his team hacked, strimmed and cut their way into new parts of the wood, and created enough firewood to keep Essex’s log burners running for the next 100 years. Added to this was ‘ the hill of terror’, and this is not my name for it, it was christened by the shooters. This hill was not just steep, it felt vertical; it created wind eddies and currents that you certainly don’t want anywhere near an airgun pellet, and if you go to the M. A.D. website, you can see one of these eddies in action – you will see it lift our brand new gazebo off the ground, throw it up into the air, and then smash it down like a toy. It also took out the bin, the table and was so powerful, we now have a bunch of small people singing about a lollipop guild and asking which way to the Emerald City.
The targets that had been placed out were first rate, and when you hear of shooters of the highest calibre getting caught with traps and tricks,
you know that all the hard work has paid off. My favourite target of the weekend, though, was on day two. Richard is not only the head honcho of M. A.D., he is also the owner of Flopover targets and a bit of a history buff, so, he had commissioned a target to honour the IJN Yamamoto. This target was set on a blue watery mound, with its carrier group around it and a Mig aircraft attacking from above. Sometimes I think Richard has way too much time on his hands.
The two courses were very different, but the weekend will be remembered for one thing – the heat! It wasn’t just hot, it was Dante’s seventh level of hell, hot. I had wrapped my rifle in tin foil to keep the sun off, and there was a burgeoning black market in cold packs and ice cream. As shooters moved around the course, you could see them dehydrating in front of you, but it’s such a great fun weekend, there was never a cross word or even a grumpy face.
Luckily, the weekend also attracted some great sponsors; on day one, the AirGun Centre in Rayleigh donated a stunning TX200HC, won by Gordon Burns. The Airgun Centre is a great place to get your gear. Whether it is a new rifle, scope or pellets, they will take care of you and guide you in your purchase. On day two, the sponsor was Hull Cartridge, the importers for Weihrauch in the UK, and they donated a stunning HW110, a wonderful new rifle – light, accurate and robust, and with Weihrauch’s legendary build quality it could last you a lifetime, and the lucky winner was M.A.D.’s very own Tom Willingham.
There were some great scores on the day and the winners were: In the Open class – Day 1, Simon Vant; Day 2, Richard Woods. Recoiling – Day 1, Gary Chillingworth; Day 2, Chris Moore. Ladies – Day 1, Karen O’Mara; Day 2, Laura Mclennan. Vet’s – Day 1, Mike Burgess; Day 2, Ron Whitney. In the .22 – Day 1, Jason Lockett; Day 2, Don Vickers. In the Juniors sponsored by Bicester targets, the 9-13 category – Day 1 and 2 was Myla Parsons- Smith, and Juniors 14-16 –
Day 1, Ethan Pantling; Day 2 Megan Reed, and M. A.D took the team trophy for both days.
If you have ever thought about coming and having a go at HFT, then the M. A.D. double- header is certainly the way to go. Yes, it might be a baptism of fire, and the ability to give and take some stick from like- minded people will certainly be a big help, but you will never find a nicer bunch of people. At the drop of a hat, they will offer advice, help and guidance, and all for the bargain price of a cup of tea and maybe the odd digestive or two.
“it created wind eddies and currents that you certainly don’t want anywhere near an airgun pellet”
RIGHT: Chris Moore of Bicester targets with his Zenith- tuned Walther LGU
ABOVE RIGHT: It was hot, hot, hot!
ABOVE LEFT: Sarah Vickers with her AA S200 is loving the sport
RIGHT: Miriam Stark, one of our friends from Holland made the trip to M. A. D.