We look back as Mitchell Brooker-Smith headed up to East Yorkshire to compete in the British Shooting Grand Festival
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th of September marked the final competition of the 2020 season, the British Shooting Grand Festival held at East Yorkshire Shooting Ground.
With 2020 being such an unprecedented year with many obstacles preventing many shooters from getting to the ranges, it was nice to see everyone after such a long time to end the year on a positive note.
My family and I drove up to East Yorkshire on the Friday before to commence with some beneficial pre event training. The last time I shot at the ground was back in February, before the Coronavirus pandemic had struck Britain, so it was of paramount importance to become familiar with the range and get a feel for it again so I would be ready for the two days of competition.
I was pleased that my training went well – not only was it nice to see that the ranges at East Yorkshire hadn’t become too alien, but I find that having a good pre-event training session can be a nice physiological boost going into the next two days. One of the layouts we used was a range that I had never shot on before.
It was a brilliant emerald green and blended into the background like some kind of rainforest reptile. Not to mention the targets were flying nicely as well. I was now ready to head into the competition full of confidence.
I woke on the Saturday morning with my determination to do well combined with the natural competition nerves I usually feel. I’ve learned over time that having nerves isn’t something that means you have a weakness; rather, it gives you extra energy which can be turned into a positive.
I settled myself by taking a quiet walk through the Yorkshire countryside. It’s always pleasant to feel the country breeze flowing through the moors and hear the distinctive cry of a pheasant somewhere one or two fields away.
After my walk, my family and I headed for the shooting ground. The car park was full of cars all shapes and sizes, each belonging to shooters who shared the same drive for success.
My squad was the last to start on Saturday, which meant I had to wait until 11:30am until my first round commenced. I didn’t mind, as it gave me more time to prepare.
I had a steady start, shooting a 22, but was able to increase my leverage by shooting a 24 on the next. After a long day the sun was beginning to set and cast a beautiful egg yoke orange across the ranges, I finished on another 22 followed by another 22 and a 23 on the second day, finishing my qualification on 113/125.
I was slightly disappointed with myself as I knew I could’ve done better if I hadn’t made some silly mistakes. However, it was enough to place me in the Junior Men’s Final in second bib.
Sadly, my final experience wasn’t one I look back with pride or delight. Going in 2nd and coming out 4th is a hard result to take but I know it’s only a minor set back which I can learn from and channel into winning bigger and better results in the 2021 season.