The SSAA range at Majura in the ACT was the venue for the 40th anniversary Australia Day weekend Benchrest competition which went ahead in spite of extreme heat and a blanket of smoke from the lingering bushfires. The shoot attracted competitors from most states Australia-wide being as it is the second-most important Benchrest competition after the national championships.
Light Benchrest was contested on the Saturday in sporting conditions which were certainly smoke-flavoured. Many small groups were recorded and with four rounds gone it looked like Robin Elton had it all wrapped up until Keith Smith sent down the smallest group of the morning on his last card to snatch the aggregate win on .2414 from Elton and Les Fraser.
The longer yardage was difficult with some of the worst mirage ever witnessed at this event. Undaunted, first-timer Collin Wright put down an amazing .340 group on the first card which stood until the last card of the day when Milan Morrell managed a .300 to take the medal. The aggregate prize went to Steve Sori on .3269 from Brendan Atkinson and Fraser while the grand aggregate was won by Fraser from Atkinson and Sori, all due to their 200-yard efforts.
Sunday morning looked good for shooting and Atkinson registered a .137 to kick things off before Sori posted an amazing .098 group on his B target which held up for best yardage and helped him take the aggregate title with an excellent .1808 from Mitchell Taller and Elton.
The longer aggregate produced some excellent groups, the smallest of them a .355 from well known bullet maker Ken Melgaard. As usual, consistency won the day and the aggregate was taken out by Michael Huebner with .3503 from Cameron Bailey and John Babic.
The Grand aggregate produced a popular win for young Cameron Bailey who, at just 15, is the youngest shooter ever to win a major aggregate in Australian Benchrest. Second home was Sori ahead of Taller.
The Bob Daniels Memorial Trophy for the Two-Gun event went to Sori from Huebner and Atkinson. Once again an excellent competition was enjoyed by all involved and was a credit to those who put it together.
Results - Light Benchrest Top 10: Les Fraser .3007, Brendan Atkinson .3080, Steve Sori .3121, John Babic .3256, Michael Huebner .3285, Robin Elton .3289, Keith Sewell .3467, Milan Morrell .3604, Keith Smith .3641, Jason Armstrong .3797.
Heavy Benchrest Top 10: Cameron Bailey .3221, Steve Sori .3307, Mitchell Taller .3313, Michael Huebner .3348, Thomas Spang .3367, Brenda Atkinson .3575, John Babic .3633, Jason Armstrong .3748, Keith Smith .3756, Milan Morrell .3785.
Two-Gun Top 10: Steve Sori .3214, Michael Huebner .3317, Brendan Atkinson .3327, Les Fraser . 3415, John Babic .3444, Robin Elton .3543, Cameron Bailey .3625, Thomas Spang .3684, Milan Morrell .3695, Keith Smith .3699.