- Golden Gate Park Fita, 29th March
- First. I had a good start to the season at this USAT Qualifier.
I had taken delivery of a new bow two days before the shoot, set it up
the day before but hadn't been able to tune it because of wind, and yet
I shot a great 90m score. The intermediate distances weren't so good,
but I was very pleased with the total.
- Arizona Cup, 3rd-7th April
- I repeated a mistake I made the previous year, and made a change too
close to a competition. This time it was trying to set up my new X10s to
shoot with the new bow. I did not get a good tune, and did not get
sightmarks for all distances before the competition, which lead to me
shooting good shots but scoring poorly, my worst score in three years. I
managed to qualify only because they cut the field at the full 64
archers. I did some re-tuning from Don Rabska's advice before the
eliminations, and managed to beat my friend Chris Jones in the first
round before being beaten by Rick McKinney in the second.
The visit to the Arizona Cup was part of a
longer holiday, in which
I visited Death Valley and
- Golden Gate Park Fita, 26th April
- First. It was back to the A/C/E arrows for this competition. I
got the arrows tuned quite well, and was getting my shot right for some
great dozens. Other dozens I didn't get it right, so the score was about
average, but I was happy because the signs of improvement were there.
- Cotton Boll Classic, 2nd-3rd May
I had been shooting very well the week before this
competition. I started out slightly weak, but quite soon regained my
shot and finished the long distances quite well. The 50m didn't feel
right but was scoring well. At this point, it looked like I would have a
welcome return to
Grand Master Bowman levels, but
the 30m was disasterous, dropping my score to a mid-1200. I combined
this trip with another favourite past-time by flying a light plane down
- California Cup, 9th-10th May
- A reasonable start, followed by poor intermediate distances should have
raised warning signals. This was the start of a (hopefully short)
slump. My shot was not very consistent, and even though I got an average
score in the qualifying Fita, I didn't shoot very well in the
round-robin Olympic matches the second day.
- Colchester Double Fita Star, 23rd-24th May
- The official weather was
Conditions were declared inclement at the commencement, but improved to
near perfect weather (at least for Colchester!) leading to many
'personal bests' and Stars...
My own recollection is somewhat different, and mainly involved feeling
cold and tired. The tired part was due to many late nights and early
mornings the week before, combined with jet-lag and a late-night
go-karting session the night before the shoot started. I gave up after
70m on the second day, when the tiredness and the thought of the long
drive up to Edinburgh got the better of me.
I was also even more tired on Sunday; I had been down to Southend to
finish off the night rating for my pilot's license, and on my return I
could not find anywhere to sleep (the motels and hotels for miles around
were full), so I ended up sleeping in the car.
I had also destroyed my sight at 90m by pinching the string and
shooting an arrow off the top of the button, which unfortunately hit my
- West of Scotland Archery Championships, 30th-31st May
- Third. It's official, I'm going soft due to the Californian
climate. Linwood is not know for good weather, and it obliged this
weekend with bitterly cold temperatures, stiff winds, and a good long
dose of heavy rain. On top of that, I hadn't sorted out my loss of form
from the previous week, so I turned in a couple of the lowest scores I
have shot for years.
I have never seen so many people give up at a tournament; so many
people had retired by the end of the tournament that the organisers
switched to shooting a single line instead of two. This competition was
more about endurance than anything else. In the heavy rain at the start
of Sunday, my sight settings were so low that I was afraid of
repeating the previous week's sight-destroying episode, so I moved the
sight up and aimed at the target flag instead of the gold!
I also saw the most spectacular bow limb failure; while on full
draw John MacIlroy's limbs exploded, dropping the arrow straight to the
ground and flinging the broken bottom limb towards the target.
Fortunately John was not hurt. One of the laminations in the top nock of
the limbs must have come unstuck, with the string then slipping off the
nock, and the limbs dry-firing. The lower limb cracked and split
straight across, only the front carbon fibre lamination holding it
- Golden Gate Park Fita, 14th June
- Second. I shot a nice 90m without thinking about it, and then
poor distances for the rest of this qualifier. My form problems from the
previous weeks had not sorted themselves out, and I let myself get
lulled into shooting any old way which might score, rather than settling
down and working on my form.
- California State Championships, 20th-21st June
- For the second year, I hired a plane and flew down to Long Beach for
this tournament. The flights down and back were easy and smooth, but
this time I had a plane with enough range to make the trip without
stopping for fuel, which cut a couple of hours off the total time. It
was nice to get home before dark (ironically though, I didn't need to;
my new night rating had arrived in the post the day before I left).
I didn't shoot too well, but I was working through my loss of form
of the previous month, and was happy to see some improvement in my shot.
Some blank bale and blind shooting on the practice butts helped towards
realising what was going wrong, so I will be including a lot more of
that in my training for the next period.
- Sacramento 900 Round, 4th July
- Third. An embarassingly poor round, but it was just a fun
competition. I had been shooting field archery for the previous few
weeks, and had made a few changes to my form that I had not had a chance
to try them out on the flat. It turned out that one of the changes was
- U.S. Nationals, 3rd-7th August
- I still was feeling the effects of being ill the previous week, and
didn't feel too well at some points. Lack of practice was showing too. I
shot loads of good shots, but I didn't always feel that I got rewarded
On the second qualifying Fita, my limb tip delaminated, so I made
the decision (which I had been intending to do anyway) to buy some new
limbs. The new Win & Win limbs are the same weight are my Hoyt
Carbon Foam limbs, but are significantly slower than the Hoyt limbs, so
I needed to wind the bow up a bit to get the arrows to tune.
I came in exactly at the middle of the cut for the elimination
round, but got unreasonably nervous during the eliminations. I was down
2 points after the first end, but got that back to be up one point after
the second end. I shot two 10s at the start of the third end, and was on
course to win, but I kept coming down because I didn't want to shoot a
bad shot. The generator failed at this point, which took out the timing
system, but I had my stopwatch running and knew how much time I had. I
just couldn't get the shot to feel right. Just before the time was up I
managed to get a reasonable shot away, but when I got to the target I
found it in the three. As all I needed was a six to win I was very
disappointed at losing the match and not getting the world ranking
- Grape Stakes Fita, 29th-30th August
- I had been re-shaping the grip on my bow after the U.S. Nationals, and I
had re-painted and laquered the grip the week before. Unfortunately, I
didn't discover until the start of the tournament that my sunblock
dissolved the paint. I shot a dreadful 90m whilst trying to remove the
ensuing sticky mess, and never really recovered.
By some miracle, I made it through to the semi-finals of the
informal Olympic Round, but was beaten into fourth place. This wasn't
too bad a result, since compounds and recurves were mixed together, with
a 5-point handicap to the compounds.
- Pacific Coast Championships, 19th-20th September
- I can't remember much about this tournament, except that it was another
- Sacramento Archery Club Fita, 27th September
- After a shaky start, I recovered back to a poor but acceptable level,
better than the recent disasters.
- Duel in the Desert Trials, 3rd-4th October
- After this tournament, I decided not to shoot the Duel in the Desert. I
didn't even make the Duel team (actually, I would have, but there was a
scoring error. I decided to let the selection stand.) I flew down to San
Diego for it, this time the first time I'd taken a retractable gear
plane away for a weekend. The flight was not uneventful; it was the
first time I'd flown VFR over the top, and I also had a brake failure on
landing. Fortunately the airport I flew into was an old military base
with a 7,000 foot runway. As far as the shooting went, I just couldn't
work out what was wrong. My shot felt good, but I just wasn't getting