Last year’s Clay Shooting Classic was a runaway success, providing a great days competition in the beautiful 5,000 acre West Wycombe Estate. However, not ones to give up on the strive for perfection, EJ Churchill are promising that this year will be even better.
Although running on a similar format, this year’s courses are slightly different; one is in the EJ Churchill grounds, and the other is situated on a previously unseen area of the estate. Course setter for the event Adam Calvert is hoping that this new set-up will help make the competition as exciting as possible, allowing people the rare opportunity to shoot on grounds completely new to them.
The course at the grounds shouldn’t disappoint either, with many shooters last year commenting that they would have loved to have shot at EJ Churchill itself. And, with a ground fully kitted out to put some challenging fun and varied birds, it seems ideal that one of the courses should be here. The ground itself will be shut during the competition, allowing for some interesting targets to be set which couldn’t normally be accommodated for.
The 125ft tower at the ground will be used to full advantage, with some distant and high birds – something which would be far more difficult in the wilderness of the estate. Having said that, the terrain on the estate will throw some challenging birds with the organisers deciding to locate this year’s course in the valley rather than on top of the hills. By doing this, the hills can be used to full advantage to vary the trajectory of each target.
When queried on the difficulty of the targets, Adam admitted that last year may have been a fraction too easy despite the positive features. He seems to be keen on setting the course for B and C class shooters, but this year wants to make more of an effort to really push the B/A class competitiors: “Last year it was a fraction too easy and we needed more ‘signature’ targets. So, this year, we will be setting some B/A class targets to really stretch the scores out. This year we will hope to defeat people on speeds and angles!
“We will also be using different colours of clays again, which we got a lot of positive feedback last year. I think people like to see something different that they don’t see at their usual club shoots.”
As well as the main courses, Adam and Rob are hoping to put some quick pool shoots on for people to get their eye in and to provide a bit of light relief from the main competition. As well as this, a practice stand may well be present this year, as preparation for the main event and as a confidence-raiser if the morning hasn’t gone as well as planned!
One addition to the relatively unchanged team is champion clay shooter Duncan Lawton. Duncan has had a glittering career on the clay line, winning two World Championships and becoming the first person ever to shoot a 100 straight at English Sporting. Having him on the team is an honour for both Rob and Adam who both looked up to Duncan when they were younger.
What you didn’t know
- Two arctic wagons full of clays will be delivered for the event
- Four security guards will be working 24/7 for three weeks before and during the event
- Six people will be setting the course for three weeks
- 11 vehicles were used last year just for setting the course
- Over 80 staff will be working every day of the competition
- Competitors will munch through around 7,200 rashers of bacon during the event