The Field Target Career of Tony Fouracres
4 Comments26 November 2019 | Air Arms
Air Arms caught up with Air Arms shooter and Field Target legend, Tony Fouracres. Throughout the article Tony describes how he discovered his beloved sport of Field Target shooting and touches on some of his favourite air rifles and achievements throughout his wonderful career.
When did you start shooting?
I first started Air Gun shooting, just plinking really, late 2002 and immediately joined Mendip Shooting Club in Somerset where I soon became interested in the sport of Field Target shooting.
For me, I couldn’t wait to start shooting competitively, so in 2003 as a total novice I entered my very first competition within the South West Field Target Association (SWEFTA) region, using a second hand Air Arms Pro Target Rifle.
Since this was my first ever event, I was automatically put in ‘C’ grade and ended up coming 2nd in that grade on the day. After 3 events, I was regraded up into ‘B’ and actually won ‘B’ grade at the end of the year with an average score of 81.19% for the entire season, enough to jump me straight into the top grade of ‘AA’ for the following season. I held my own and finished 6th in ‘AA’ that following year.
What air rifle do you use?
I was enjoying the sport so much, and with the launch of a new rifle about to be released by Air Arms, called an EV2, I immediately put my name down for one. Mine was one of the first couple to actually come off the production line which I received just days before my 50th Birthday in 2004. That gun was amazing and shot superbly well straight out the box and helped me to take overall 3rd place within SWEFTA in 2005 and in 2006, I become the SWEFTA Champion with an average score of 94.74% using that gun. My main competition gun in now an EV2 mk4, but I still have the original EV2 mk1 as my spare and backup gun and still shoots just as well as the day I received it.
What are the highlights of your career?
As just mentioned, becoming the SWEFTA champion in 2006 after just 3 years of shooting.
Also, in 2007, I was approached by Air Arms and asked if I would like to represent them and shoot in their Field Target Team in the National British Field Target Association, Grand Prix Series.
Wow, what a privilege and honour this was for me, to be able to represent a truly top class airgun manufacturer like Air Arms, this was certainly remarkable.
I continued to shoot in one of their teams for the next 5 or 6 years before sadly the Osteoarthritis in my body, especially my knees, started to make shooting very difficult, so I relinquished my place so that some younger blood could come through.
In 2014, a new class was introduced into the sport of Field Target Shooting called ‘OPEN’. It is a class which is open to all, but there are no enforced discipline shots (i.e. NO Standing or Kneeling), so the entire course can be shot in the sitting position. Since I had great difficultly kneeling, I started shooting in this new OPEN class and it has enabled me to continue shooting when I thought I may have to give up.
I have won the OPEN Class within SWEFTA for the last 6 years on the trot and with multiple National Wins in the BFTA Grand Prix series too.
I was also the EUROPEAN FT OPEN CHAMPION IN 2016.
How has your shooting gone in 2019?
Considering all the pain I have been in with the Osteoarthritis in both my knees it is quite an achievement that I have participated in any competitions at all. It has been just sheer willpower and determination to get out and about with all my FT friends, enjoying the sport I love so dearly that has carried me through.
It’s been quite an exceptional year really, certainly one that I did not expect at the beginning and to finish being crowned The SWEFTA and BFTA Grand Prix OPEN Champion 2019 was totally overwhelming.
With the largest World FT Championships ever organised being held in England this year, I just had to enter. It consisted of 3 x 50 shot courses shot consecutively over three days. There is no Open class in this event, so anyone not able to take the kneeling shots in the kneeling position have to take them standing. I knew this was probably a step too far, as I would not have any recovery time for my knees but just desperately wanted to be part of the biggest FT event ever held. To be honest, I really struggled with my knees and could hardly walk on the last day. How I completed the last course in such pain, I just don’t know, but I was there giving it a go!
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
The last 10+ years have been incredibly difficult and very painful for me to participate in competition with the Osteoarthritis in my knees. They continue to get worse year by year, so now I feel is the right time to take a ‘short break’ from the FT shooting I love and have total knee replacement surgery carried out on both my knees.
The first one was carried out on 15th November 2019 and the other will be done in March/April the following year. I know I am making the right decision for my long term future but I am going to miss so much all the fun, banter, laughing and joking with all my FT friends from all over the World.
I am not expecting too much from next year and will hopefully be participating in a few shoots both locally and nationally from mid-2020.
Just being able to whizz about the FT circuits a little faster and pain free walking about the courses, will in my view be a great success!