Aussies show the way at inaugural World Rimfire Championships
In July, nine Australian Rimfire Benchrest shooters made the trek over to Volmerange les-Mines, France, to compete in the first World Rimfire Championships alongside shooters from Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and of course, France.
Australia entered three three-person squads, including Robin Cox, John Radford and Jaegen Peet in Team A, Richard Lightfoot, Glen Seaman and Annette Rowe in Team B, and Joy Harrison, John Patzwald and Ashley Elford in Team C. These members were selected as the top nine shooters from the past two IRB National Championships held in Silverdale, New South Wales, and Murdering Point, Queensland, with the shooters undertaking solid preparation at both club and state levels.
Monday and Tuesday included practice at the competition, with the main aim of trying to determine the idiosyncrasies of the high-walled baffled range, particularly the incoming wind, which spilled through the top of the baffles down and spread each way of the centreline. Those who have shot on baffled ranges know the difficulties.
Team competitions commenced on July 9, with all countries except Belgium entering at least two shooters. The teams competition was won by Australia Team A with a fantastic score of 4467 with 249 centres (X). Italy Team B came second on 4461 with 230 centres, followed by the Australia Team B third on 4455 with 339 centres, and Australia Team C fourth on a very close 4455 with 216 centres.
Of the 10 nations and nine individuals competing, Australia has performed best in IRB to date. The Australia Team B of Richard Lightfoot, Glen Seaman and Annette Rowe currently holds the World Single Day Team Record of 2241 with 130 centres.
Individual competition commenced on July 11 and was shot over two days. Here, Australia’s John Radford shot a perfect score of 1500 out of 1500 with 114 centres. John Patzwald came second with 1498 and 99 centres, France’s Jean-Pierre Inglet came third with 1497 and 92 centres, Richard Lightfoot came fourth with 1496 and 85 centres and fellow Australian Jaegen Peet came fifth with 1495 and 90 centres. Victorian shooter Annette Rowe shot 1488 and 73 centres. She was followed by Robin Cox, Glen Seaman, Ashley Elford and Joy Harrison.
Conducting the team competitions first was a great idea that welded the teams together. This led to increased cooperation, sharing and discussions about tackling the wind for the individual shooting competitions, and of course meant that the shooters were able to celebrate the various achievements together.
This inaugural World Rimfire Championships was run extremely efficiently. The scores were completed about 30 minutes after the last targets were collected; there was no requirements for a jury and all members left France having enjoyed a top competition.