The 2009 World F-Class Open Championships
It has been a month since the ICFRA World F-Class Championships were held at Bisley, England. The United Kingdom dominated both the F-Open Team and Individual categories, with wins.
In the following weeks, after-the-fact quarterbacking (arm-chair-experts) has been in high gear. Some folks have suggested that the Brits won because of the “home court” advantage. Rubbish! If it was the home court advantage, how come the USA won the 2009 World Rutland Cup Championship? The plain truth is that the United Kingdom team simply outshot their competitors in the Open Championship.
Given the nature of the superb shooters competing for the world title, you would expect that the 145 shooters were among the best, if not the best in the world. On any given day, any one of them could take home the gold. However, this time, the UK team took home all the marbles in the F-Class Open Competition and no one can take that away from them.
The conditions at Bisley during the competition were far from perfect, with unpredictable winds and drizzles of rain, reaching torrential downpour (typical of English Summertime). The only saving grace given the weather was the outstanding organization of the event, thanks to Mik Maksimovic. The man worked tirelessly for weeks ahead of the shoot preparing everything. And during the competition, he was lucky to get 6 hours of sleep a night. Up before dawn and in bed long after sunset. However, his dedication and hard work yielded an event that operated like a well oiled machine. My personal opinion is that the U.S. would do well to tap into his expertise and hire him to help plan the 2013 World Championships at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico.
The individual World F-Class Open Champion is Gary Costello with a score of 458.44v (44 x in the US), edging out my good friend from Scotland, Des Parr, who scored 456.36v for 2nd place and Grant Taylor of Scotland who scored 455.30v for 3rd place. In fact, the British Team took the top ten places: John Carmichael with 454.37v at 4th, John Campbell with 453.36v at 5th, David Kent with 453.35v at 6th, Lee Tomlinson with 449.31v at 7th, Peter Hunt with 448.39v at 8th, Adam Brough with 448.29v at 9th and Dennis Groom with 448.27v at 10th.
(Photo courtesy of Alan Keating.)
If one looks at the scores, it is readily apparent that the competition was incredible, with a mere 10 points separating the men in the top eleven spots. Did I say eleven? Yep, as Carel Taljaard of South Africa scored a 448.25v, losing out on 10th place by only 2-v bulls. There was one bright spot for the United States. Gary Costello was using a custom rifle built by Warner Tool Co. (Alan & Dan Warner) of Keene, NH.
The British Team had prepared well and trained very hard on their home range, it would be silly not too! The Brits have a very successful F-Class Association which organizes at least six major events a year: Two in Scotland, Blair Athol; Two in Northern England, Diggle; and Two at Bisley culminating in the European Championships with over 140 competitors. The League system works on points with the best four scores to count to the National Championships. The Association currently has over 200 Open and F/TR members who regularly compete.
The results of the World F-Class Open Team Championship were equally impressive. The team captained by Des Parr, Adjutant Mik Maksimovic and coaches Bill Richards, Martin Townsend and Matt Ensor, with Peter Wilson in reserve lead in the competition from the first round. By the end of the second day, there was no question that the British were the new World Champions, taking home the Farquharson.
At the next F-Class World Championship match in 2013, the Protea Team of South Africa and Team USA (former World Champions, 2003 and 2005 respectively) will be set on defeating the British and reclaiming the title. This year, United States Open Team took 2nd place and the South African Team placed 3rd. The 2013 World Championship promises to be a major event in the history of F-Class. Three champion teams, all trying to prove once and for all, who are the best.
I’ll be there, taking pictures and writing, while my daughter Susannah, shooting in the individual competition, will attempt to give the “old men” from around the world a run for their money.
Copyright 2009 by Dr. Jim Clary. All rights reserved.