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Old 21st July 2011, 07:00 PM
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Conor Conor is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Member of: Nelson & Nomads airgun club
Location: Ardboe, Co.Tyrone.
Posts: 2,657
Default 6th Euskadi Open FT 20011 - Review


We arrived on Thursday to be taken around the course by course builder Sanjon, it was hot 26 degrees Celsius and he told me it measured 1.5km long. His wife Aintzane (chief marshal) had a log book of all target placements, numbers and distances so they were well organised. I was informed the farmer beside Zumarraga Park, where the competition was held, had kindly offered his land to be used for a completely new section in this year’s Open. For those who had previously shot there this was a completely new dimension to the courses. It added some interesting elements and included a few long lanes, dense woodland at the bottom of the field provided a very dark location for targets and made range finding difficult especially as the firing line was in an open with a strong overhead sun.

The course was divided up into what could be described as five zones. The bottom zone was the farm described above, it was located at the bottom of a steep hill, an easy walk down but fully kitted out with beanbag and rifle, add in the steep hill and the Spanish heat and it was a gruelling walk back up again!
At the top of that steep hill, a sector contained perhaps the toughest zone of the course with very steep angled uphill positionals (both kneelers and standers) and a lot of steeply angled downhill long range targets.
The plinking range area, when closed, was a tricky part of the course with a very challenging interchangeable wind that at times was impossible to detect. The fourth sector had a firing line along a short but steep incline which made it slightly difficult to get into a comfortable and stable sitting position. The top of the hill was a flat zone that had some long targets that were challenging especially in the wind which refused to maintain a consistent direction. It was all too easy to pick the wrong edge of kill.

The two day competition was divided into two distinct 50 target courses, black and yellow with targets coloured accordingly. The PCP shooters shot the yellow course on Saturday and the black course on Sunday, with the Piston class doing the opposite. There were five standers and six kneelers per course (all 40mm killzones), five 15mm and eight 25mm targets were also included; targets were all original Nockover type most of which were brand new and unyielding to splits!
The majority of lanes on both courses contained three targets that had to be shot in numerical sequence and timing was one minute preparation added to one minute per target i.e. 4 mins for three targets and 3 mins for two targets. Crucially and the first time I had experienced the rule, you were not allowed to reset your target after you had hit it in order to look at it.

On Friday night a welcome dinner was provided at the Balentina restaurant and the food was simply fantastic, seafood salad started to die for alongside the social atmosphere and relaxed attitude made it very special.


Saturday began with briefing at 4.15pm and after scorecards and partners had been allocated the first shots in anger were around 4.45pm, even at this stage the air temperature was a scorching 27 degrees Celsius. I shot the downhill section first with my partner Pika, a tricky right to left wind drifted along the bottom of the hill that would carry anyone on inside edge, straight across the killzone, especially on the long ones. After we had negotiating some quite steep downward angles it was a downhill walk to the bottom of the course to the farm. After a long walk to the very end of the course, we were greeted with standers, targets 1 & 2. The first was a relatively straightforward 25yrd but shot across a stream it was placed up a large pine tree at a slightly awkward angle, the other was 46yrds and appeared to be floating just above a torrent of water on the stream itself. The kill was clean both before and after I had shot it! After the standing lane there was a chronograph lane where all competitors were inspected, no better place to check the stability of your rifle in extreme heat, as my wife had came with me I hadn’t packed my gun case so my kit had been exposed to the direct heat and sunlight but gladly I breezed through at 232 m/s. A relatively easy 15mm at 16yrds caught me out as did a 50yrd target in dark cover that I had under ranged. Both courses only contained eight targets each in this section and it had cost me three dinks, Neil Daniels was having a worse time than I did but his partner Pepone was only down two.

It was a steep uphill walk back to where we had started again only this time we had to shoot the opposite side, steep uphill. The first lane, targets 9, 10 & 11 were all standers. Extremely high, they proved difficult to even rangefind, careful positioning was also essential to avoid overhanging twigs and leaves. Add in a left to right wind that at times required at least edge of kill and the scenario was a nightmare after walking up ‘kill hill’. Neil D at one stage was calling for a defibulator as he felt his heart would explode. The most difficult of the trio was perhaps no 10, an extremely high 50yrd stander, I duly dinked. Next up was a kneeling lane, again three targets 12, 13 & 14; these were difficult as the elbow was required on the knee/thigh and the supporting hand moved well back towards the grip to give the stock more depth making the position less stable than usual. The 49yrd rabbit was my most satisfying hit of the weekend but was short lived when I split the last one.

Calps was down eight at this stage and Pepone dropped another few, I was down five and rumour had it another Spaniard Tonin was tearing up the course. The competition was heating up as was the difficulty of the targets. I managed to get through the plinking range section which included two standers and three kneelers unscathed only to miss a 40 odd yarder along the steep incline. My last lane I dinked a 48yrd, a slight wind that I could barely detect blew me right across.

I finished on 43 and was well pleased with as the heat had taken its toll, Tonin was on 42, but World Champ Pepone unfortunately had failed to load twice, finished on 41. Calpin had 39 with Andras 38, Neil D had 37, Mark and Phil G both had 35, Shaun 34 but Scott had a difficult time suffering with a migraine was on 32. Notably Delphinus from Portugal was on 38, Mamel from Spain and JC from Belgium were both on 37 so they all were in real contention for honours.

The Piston class was highly competitive with a UK contingent of heavy hitters in attendance; Mark Brewitt showed the field a clear pair of heels with a strong performance and score of 36 on the black course. He was two clear of Nick Murphy; Rupher from Spain was on 31 with Grubber suffering the after effects of the Spanish hospitality and a change of stock on 28. Val S had experienced serious gun problems in the extreme heat and his performance suffered accordingly.

The evening ended with dinner provided at the Labekoa restaurant, again the food was excellent with a main course chicken dish that had everyone going for second helpings.


An early rise of 6.45am for a 9am start saw spirits lift considerably at the Exteberri Hotel. Amazingly it was raining heavily and the temperature was considerably cooler so we were all much more accustomed and familiar with the conditions, Neil D was positively buzzing. The heavy rain persisted on the plinking range and the light was dim due to the dark overcast conditions, temperature was 16 degrees Celsius. A swap of course meant black targets were the order of the day for the PCP class and yellow targets for the springers.

I started on the final lane on the steep uphill section however the targets were not just as steep as the yellow course. I was paired with Pepone who gave me some breathing room with a miss on his first target. He was also prepared not to fire unloaded with the electronics on his Mk4 Daystate in full flow flashing and ‘beeping’ before each shot. We proceeded up to the plinking range where a kneeling lane consisting of three targets and a frightening interchangeable wind was in present. The wind in the first lane was perhaps slightly easier to detect in the rain but the kneelers were worsened by the fact the rain had stopped momentarily. Onwards up the steep embankment which was by now wet and muddy making conditions slippery and difficult to get a stable shooting platform. A lane of three standers, 20yrds, 50yrds and 45yrds greeted us on arrival. After I had missed the long one Pepone stepped up and calmly dropped all three, shooting of the highest order and it was easy to see why he is the current World Champion.

It was a difficult section with the targets criss-crossing lanes and strings that at times simply refused to indicate where each target was located so time was required to carefully locate the correct target that correlated with the number on the scorecard. Some lanes needed careful positioning of the bean bag to ensure a clear shot for each target, silver birch trees were in the line of sight, in particular at the top of the muddy embankment and it was this that cost me another dropped target. The left to right wind on the longer targets was clearly giving problems as the right side of a few targets was battered by those who hadn’t picked up on the tricky wind.

The top of the hill was perhaps a slightly easier sector of the course but the last lane, targets 48, 49 and 50 were not to be taken lightly and no 48 cost me a target, 51yrds with a wind doing opposite to what I had expected. A long walk to the bottom of the hill all the way to the very end of the course again we were met with a lane consisting of two standers, not so far this time, 22yrds and 30 yrds but both positioned up pine trees at a slightly uncomfortable angle just above horizontal, not too high. A direct wind gusted across the stream on these from the right to left, luckily I got both but they were giving all sorts of trouble to quite a few; Pepone and Calps both snatched one apiece and an uncharacteristic double dink by Neil D demonstrated they weren’t to be to taken lightly. Mark Stenton who was going extremely well was only three down before entering this zone but the ever increasing wind caused him all sorts of trouble and he doubled his miss count before leaving. I must mention a notorious target from here, no 4, a 27yrd 15mm positioned inside a thick bush under a canopy of leaves. It was a black target in an already dark location with no paint on the paddle and a ring of misses around the kill; it was extremely difficult especially trying to find a fine cross hair for such a small killzone. Also Sanjon had picked up some naughty tricks from Calps from his two visits to the NEFTA Classic, target no. 8, was a 55yrd crow that showed signs of a large amount of misses low of the killzone. It was in a dark location and rangefinding was difficult. The large laminated white number speckled with raindrops below the target parallaxed beautifully however it revealed to me that the number was some 5yrds closer than the actual target, I still managed to miss it after all that!

I finished the course back where I had started with two final lanes of three, knocking all down I finished happily what was a very good course that was demanding in various guises. I was quite happy only being 5 down, and speaking to some of the others as the scores came in it was clear that almost everyone had shot higher scores than the previous day, except Andy Calpin on 37, who had apparently shot himself out the previous week at GP 6 in the shoot-off with Neil. Scott Robinson clearly left Saturday’s disappointment behind him and scorched in with a 45. Neil had a 43 which placed him in a shoot off for 4th and 5th with Delphinus from Portugal. Pepone had finished on 43 to take 2nd place. 3rd place was again Spanish honours with Tonin on 40. Mark Stenton and Hungarian Andras finished strong both on 41, as did Phil G and buddy Shaun Shore both with 37.

The only shoot off of the competition was a head to head tussle between Neil Daniels and Delphinus, shooting separate targets at the same time both connected sitting and kneeling and then both missed standing. The crowd, cameras and video positioned themselves for sudden death standing, Delphinus dropped it and Neil dinked, so 4th place honours was Portuguese.

The Piston class took on more changes in place from the previous day, as Nick Murphy handed in a stunning 39 on the yellow course; this was enough to take the win and 1st place with 7 points to spare. Mark Brewitt’s form dropped faster than the heavy rain and a 26 dropped him to 3rd place behind Spaniard Rupher with 35 hits. Rob Long AKA Grubber had got to grips with his change of stock and with a few less bottles of wine, handed in a decent 32 for 4th place. I must mention Val as the cooler weather and rain seemed to inspire him to the extent he almost doubled his previous day’s score to redeem himself.

The event finished with the presentations to all the winners on the podium with their trophies and hats, group hugs, handshakes, kisses and photographs topped off with a fantastic group meal again in the Labekoa restaurant. I bring home so many fond memories from this special friendly place and can only thoroughly recommend it.

He who never made a mistake never learned!
He who never missed never shot!

Last edited by Conor; 21st July 2011 at 07:02 PM.
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