Clay Shooting

Grand Prix at Bis­ley

Mur­ray Thom­son re­ports from a mem­o­rable Alpa Sport­ing Grand Prix, con­tested over 100 Sport­ing and 100 Spor­trap at Bis­ley at Braid­wood

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The Alpa Sport­ing Grand Prix moves to Bis­ley at Braid­wood, re­ports Mur­ray Thom­son

Nearly ev­ery se­ri­ous north­ern clay shooter will en­sure at the start of the year that the ‘Alpa Sport­ing Grand Prix’ is firmly printed into their cal­en­dar, and it was clear that a huge num­ber of them were well or­gan­ised enough to do so. This two day event, which is now in its third year, boasts a 200 tar­get ob­jec­tive that is split evenly into a Na­tional Sport­ing and a Spor­trap.

Max Jef­fery, who runs and or­gan­ises the event, de­cided to move it to Bis­ley at Braid­wood in the Scot­tish Bor­ders this year, af­ter hav­ing held it at The Na­tional Shoot­ing Cen­tre Scot­land near Falkirk for the last two years. Max said his hope was that by mov­ing the event fur­ther south it would come into the reach of some north­ern-based English com­peti­tors who pre­vi­ously would have found the trav­el­ling enough to put them off. He was also hugely im­pressed by the way that Bis­ley at Braid­wood had run the Scot­tish Sport­ing Cham­pi­onship in 2018, show­ing him that it would be an ideal new venue to host such a well known event. With a prize fund of over £8000 and class pay­outs all the way to 8th place, it cer­tainly has an ap­peal to a large cross sec­tion of elite and in­ter­me­di­ate shots. The event at­tracts some big names such as Martin My­ers, who had pre­vi­ously at­tended and was High Gun for the first two years of the event. This year’s celebrity gun was Nick Hen­drick, who had ven­tured north to throw his name into the list of well known shots.

The Bis­ley team were tasked with set­ting an en­ter­tain­ing course, and un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Ian Braith­waite they did not dis­ap­point. The Sport­ing lay­out cov­ered the full dis­tance of the ground, and was made up of 13 stands, three of which were styled like Su­per Sport­ing, with the fi­nal stand throw­ing five dif­fer­ent tar­gets with full use of gun per­mit­ted on each. The course was hugely en­ter­tain­ing, and al­lowed Ian to take full ad­van­tage of try­ing to trick the gun by us­ing fast and slow com­bi­na­tions, as well as us­ing Braid­wood’s su­perb ter­rain to make tar­gets look like they were do­ing some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent to what they were. The ground dis­played a mas­ter class in tight an­gle and small win­dow shots, com­pli­mented by steady tar­gets on low spring at dis­tance that de­manded soft hands and at­ten­tion to de­tail. The course was set so that the gun set­ting out with a heavy op­po­site pocket of 6.5’s would have re­turned to his car equally as laden as when they set out, mean­ing there was some­thing for ev­ery­one.

Stag­gered into the Sport­ing course were four Spor­trap lay­outs placed per­fectly in the ter­rain to throw a plethora of dif­fer­ent tar­get pre­sen­ta­tions, mean­ing that no two tar­gets were alike across the course. On the large open Skeet area, there

were birds thrown that de­manded sound tech­nique and firm con­cen­tra­tion, which was an as­sault on the senses com­pared to the other three more com­pact lay­outs. The Spor­trap tar­gets were a tes­ta­ment to the skill and imag­i­na­tion of GB shooter Struan Brodie, who had spent sev­eral days in the run-up to the event ad­just­ing each of the traps in his role as course set­ter.

Struan took full ad­van­tage of the steep banks that run par­al­lel to the main track, throw­ing birds com­ing to­wards the stands that gave enough flight line view­ing time to coax the gun into a bat­tle of wills, mes­meris­ing the com­peti­tor into pulling the trig­ger a lit­tle too early or a lit­tle too late. On the fi­nal Spor­trap lay­out, a tight, close-quar­ter group of five birds were pre­sented that caught a few guns off guard.

The star of this lay­out was an orange up­hill rab­bit which was slightly quar­ter­ing away, launched near to the fifth gun. The fate of this clay was be­ing either va­por­ised or missed cleanly.

As if all this were not enough to en­joy, there were also two vastly en­ter­tain­ing A/ AA and B/C pool shoots that were bathed in the phrase “I’ll just have one more go” on many oc­ca­sions.

Max Jef­fery said “I would like to thank Bis­ley at Braid­wood for the un­par­al­leled hos­pi­tal­ity and ex­per­tise in host­ing this event, which is now in its third year and go­ing from strength to strength. It has taken months of plan­ning to get to this week­end and we are de­lighted with how smoothly the event has been run. The stan­dard through all the classes this week­end has been in­cred­i­ble and I know there was some­thing this week­end for ev­ery­one. I am hugely grate­ful to all of our spon­sors for their gen­eros­ity. I am also hum­bled by all those who con­trib­uted goods to our silent auc­tion, as all the pro­ceeds from it are go­ing to the Scot­tish Ju­nior Sport­ing team. This year to­talled £1800 to help with the Ju­nior team’s am­bi­tions (£900 in 2018). We are al­ready start­ing to get ready for next year’s event.”

On Sun­day, there was a Su­per Fi­nal which in­cluded those with the top 5 scratch scores com­bined over the two days. Ste­wart Cum­mings was the favourite go­ing into the Fi­nal af­ter shoot­ing an im­pres­sive 190/200. He was joined by Alan Harris, Colin Will, James Carter and Nick Hen­drick for the fi­nal, which shaped up to be a real spec­ta­cle for the large crowd that gath­ered to watch. Af­ter one round of Spor­trap and a shoot-off, Scot­land’s Alan Harris emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter a thrilling exchange of skill with James Carter, who took run­ner up.

 ??  ?? Alan Harris shot an im­pres­sive 190 ex-200 to gain his place in the fi­nal, then beat James Carter in the shoot-off for High Gun
Alan Harris shot an im­pres­sive 190 ex-200 to gain his place in the fi­nal, then beat James Carter in the shoot-off for High Gun
 ??  ?? James Carter, seen here shoot­ing the fi­nal, took the run­ner-up spot
James Carter, seen here shoot­ing the fi­nal, took the run­ner-up spot
 ??  ?? Max Jef­fery was de­lighted with the suc­cess of the event, which raised £1,800 for the Scot­tish Ju­niors
Max Jef­fery was de­lighted with the suc­cess of the event, which raised £1,800 for the Scot­tish Ju­niors
 ??  ?? Bis­ley’s Ian Braith­waite had de­signed an en­joy­able but test­ing course
Bis­ley’s Ian Braith­waite had de­signed an en­joy­able but test­ing course
 ??  ?? Joel Og­den took the top spot in B Class, ahead of Rob Lewis and Robert Ral­ston
Joel Og­den took the top spot in B Class, ahead of Rob Lewis and Robert Ral­ston
 ??  ?? Alan Harris and James Carter shake hands at the end of a grip­ping shoot-off
Alan Harris and James Carter shake hands at the end of a grip­ping shoot-off

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