Southampton TargetSprint organisers Stephen Batchelor (21st Romsey Scouts) and Trevor Draper (Shackleton ESU).
Started the competition based on the ISSF TargetSprint Competition and Rules back in 2015 after discussions with one of the NSRA board members Roger Monksummers who suggested that the new format and competition needed to be run in the UK. The foresight of Roger on this competition was clear, this competition was going to be a hit. With that in mind Stephen and Trevor decided to give it a whirl first starting with scouting entries only. This was due to their close links to the scouts, both being leaders and linked in to Hampshire Scout Rifle Club and the Scout National Squad and of course the Venue being 21st Romsey Scout HQ.
As with any startup and no knowledge of how well it will take off the Stephen & Trevor didn’t really have much of budget and decided to fund the setup from their own pockets. They located some old filing cabinet sides and cut out the targets to the ISSF rules of 35mm diameter with a spacing of 80mm from the centres. The knockdowns themselves were made from wood with a plate screwed on the front, DIY maybe but they worked and served a purpose. This first event was run using springer air rifles as access to the more expensive pre-charged was not available at the time. After expecting only a few entries for this first event in the UK they were surprised when the entry list exceeded 30. The event was clearly a success and the decision immediately made to run again the following year.
May 2016 saw a change to the competition, firstly the targets were upgraded, the springy filing cabinet fronts from the previous year had taken a beating, some aluminium was sourced and new fronts to the targets made. After interest was made by a team from the Netherlands to enter, the decision was made to make the competition both an event for scouting members and non scouting members. Team Drechterland committed to entering the event and with entries from South Africa too we had ourselves an International competition. Feedback this year was again positive and the decision was made to run again.
May 2017 saw another change with sponsorship from Sureshot-Airguns we were able to purchase some official knockdown targets, these still being part funded by 21st Rifle Club, Shackleton Rifle Club and Stephen. Air Arms also provided some goodies to be given to competing athletes and staff. Once again Team Drechterland entered so did the South Africans, another international was to be had. This year was also included as a qualifying event for the British Shooting National Series. A few of the athletes managed to qualify for the GB team and later compete in the Suhl World championships. Southampton Echo provided some post competition coverage with a 2 page spread in their Sports Pink! Echo.
August 2017 Roger Monksummers and the NSRA requested that with their knowledge and successful events that they setup for the first Target Sprint competition at the Junior International competition at Bisley, it was setup on the 50m range area and had 28 competitors, already being asked to repeat this next year it was another successful event on the list. Target Sprint is certainly taking off.
May 2018 the 4th competition and once again a national series event. Similar number of competitors to the previous year and a super fast last heat being made up with a number of the GB team athletes.
August 2018 the 2nd Junior International TargetSprint, the South African team showed great enthusiasm to the event and have since run a number of target sprint competitions back on their home soil.
With all of these events it goes to say that without the competitors and helpers the events could not take place or be successful so our thanks go out to all of those involved.
The journey continues……..