If Carlsberg made shooting events, they would aim for something like this.
The Troy Foods FITASC Classic took place at Westfield Shooting Ground, from July 24th to 27th. I visited yesterday, and here is my view on an amazing event.
The event had 150 targets, set over 4 interesting parcours by Steve Lovatt. Each parcours had four hoops, using a mixture of new and old system FITASC. The Barn layout was behind the clubhouse, utilising the rolling landscape and a high crane to elevate some traps. From a fast looping and dropping midi, to a high midi crosser this layout tested some shooters. On pegs 3 and 4, a floppy curling clay and a high battue provided a different test altogether.
The Valley layout started at the end of the car park, giving a new view point on the land at Westfield. Peg 2 was facing into the centre of the ground, and had a fierce teal and a high battue. Pegs 3 and 4 were in the grouse butt, and on the familiar platform, with Steve setting up some testing clays over this area.
Top Field started just behind the platform, a high driven off a tower, and a sim pair of teals which could be shot either way round. Peg 2 was the ‘all rabbit’ bonanza, with four orange rabbits, including a tricky sim pair and a close up bunny to finish up. Peg 3 used the tower at the top of the hill, with a high curling midi that caught a few out on my squad. Steve set this with some distant crossers that needed huge lead. Peg 4, bought you underneath some of these targets turning them into driven birds that needed a lot of respect.
The Wood layout started at the top of the shooting ground, with nice transport up to the layout. Peg 1 was set in a clearing, with a tricky white going away bird as well as a nice blaze teal and a battue from the next field. Peg 2 had a another couple of high crossers as well as a fast climbing bird against a treeline that needed quick eyes to pick out. Peg 3 was over the small pond, with a high crow, and a close crosser that you could almost reach out and touch! Peg 4 was through the woods and out over a field. A new area for me at Westfield and had a couple of tasty quartering birds as well as a high battue which featured in a raffaele pair.
The entire course was set out with a lot of care and attention. Targets were all hittable, with decent visibility and long lines to read. There were definitely some clever birds that decieved many shooters through line and speed.
The Troy Foods FITASC Classic ran over four days, with the top two shooters from each day entered into Sunday’s super final event. On day one, the current FITASC World Champion Ed Solomons shot a stunning 143ex150 to claim his space. George Digweed MBE also put in a a top quality score of 136ex150 to claim the other place. Day Two saw more bright weather, and John Lee secured his spot in the final with a 137. The fourth position went to Des Sturgess with a 133.
As the weekend arrived, Saturday saw more beautiful weather and another set of top shooters out on the course. Martin Myers booked a return trip to Westfield with a 136 and Nick Hendricks shot an excellent 141 for position 6. On Sunday, more sunshine blessed the ground but temperatures were a little cooler. The last two spots in the evenings super-final were still up for grabs with some top shooters around the ground. Ben Husthwaite shot a 136ex150 to claim one of the spots, and Richard Faulds MBE shot 139 to claim the final slot.
The evenings entertainment was set, with eight of the top FITASC shooters in the country ready to do battle.
Over the four days of the FITASC Classic, hospitality was excellent. With catering laid on as part of the entry fee, the team at Westfield treated shooters to some great food throughout. The atmosphere around the layouts and clubhouse was excellent. No doubt, a drop of Gloucestershire sunshine helped everything along!
Refereeing was to an excellent standard, and logistics all worked like clockwork. Full credit must go to the ground staff, and everyone that worked in the background to make this one a success.
So, to the final event of the four days. When Steve Lovatt and sponsor Dave Kempley came up with the idea of resurrecting the FITASC Classic, they must have dreamed of a line up like this one.
With late evening sunshine across the ground, Steve had set a final parcours of thirty targets to decide the winner. With all the targets pushed out and wound up, there needed to be some serious shooting to take home the pot.
The finalists had a high midi crosser, and a high looper from the crane that dove to the ground. Along with those, there was a fierce teal, and a high climbing/stalling target. There was also a floppy teal that we had all shot earlier that was now disappearing behind a hedge and a couple of curling incomers.
George Digweed was first out of the hat and started things off by straighting his singles. Richard Faulds missed his first teal with two shots and dropped two of the first three . Martin Myers missed one early in his round, but Nick Hendricks and John Lee shot well to hit 17 and 15 before they started dropping shots. Ben Husthwaite was one away after the first 11 shots, and finished on very strong 23. Ed Solomons dropped one of his first three and never really got going to finish on 18, whilst Des Sturgess finished on 19.
So, it was Martin Myers that powered through to the end of the shoot off, finishing on 25 and winning the Troy Foods FITASC Classic. With Nick Hendricks and George Digweed MBE tied on 25, they shot off another single peg with Nick edging out George to take 2nd place. This was epic shooting against some amazing targets, Steve Lovatt told ShootClay Forum this morning that one of the targets was shot at 85 yards away. Pictures will not do this justice, the targets were among the best I’ve seen thrown at an event.
Martin Myers won a Zoli Z-Sport High Rib courtesy of Edgar Brothers and the impressive Clay Shooting Classic FITASC Trophy. The total prizefund for the event topped £20,000 with excellent support from Troy Foods and Clay Shooting Magazine. As the presentation party gathered, we even had an unscripted fly past from biplanes with wing walkers – just perfect!
Congratulations to all the winners, some great shooting on a tough course. We should give credit and thanks where it is due to the sponsors at Troy Foods. As well as Steve and Ally at the Clay Shooting Company for an excellent event.
A selection of pictures from the shoot-off and presentation: