Gary Chilling­worth re­ports on one of his favourite events of the year

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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.

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