Wake up at 4am, leave home at 5am, and almost see my ass before 6am.
This weekend was the long awaited SADPA League in Kroonstad. We had our plans made a while back already, ammo was loaded, guns were checked, bags were packed…then the weather set in. It was cold and rainy the whole day Friday in Alberton. Checked the weather app on my phone and it showed a cold clear day in Kroonstad.
Then I saw some posts on Facebook about the massive hail storm in Kroonstad on Friday, are we still going to shoot?
Saturday morning we were up at 4 and on the road by 5am. Just outside Alberton we hit a patch of recently dropped hail on the highway. We decided to take the small Hyundai for the trip as the old Landy was just a bit too heavy on the petrol. I wish I was driving the Landy when we hit that patch of hail…the little Hyundai did not take well to it. I struggled but kept the car on the road but it was a close one…that woke me up and the rest of the trip to Kroonstad was ok, just rained all the way there.
As we entered Kroonstad it was still raining. The Kroonstad guys even had sign boards out showing the way to the range but NO we decided to listen to the GPS lady and took a wrong turn. As we carried on this rutted little wet dirt road, my instinct was saying this is not right. We eventually decided to turn around as that little road started to get worse. On the way back was a bit of a donga that the Hyuandai handled well going in but on the way out it was more of a challenge, then we heard a bang and I knew we hit the undercarriage….no warning lights so we continued and finally made it to the range.
The range is in an old quarry but on Saturday it was more a mud hole but even in the gloomy weather I could see that this is a beautiful range and is well kept.
As I got out of the car, a strong smell of petrol greeted me. Everything was wet so I could not see the leak but my gut told me we have a problem.
We made our way to the registration area and met up with the guys from Kroonstad and a few of the familiar faces. Quite a few Johannesburg and Pretoria shooters arrived. We helped ourselves to a courtesy cup of coffee and waited and chatted.
The rain was letting up so the MD decided the match must go ahead. We all joined our squad and off we went. Our squad started at stage 2, a long distance standards stage that was originally planned to be shot from prone. Thankfully this was changed to standing as the mud was horrendous. I did ok with this stage and thought I would have a good match but the car leaking petrol worried me….you could smell it on the range even.
Our next stage would have been epic if not for the mud. We had 2 shooters slip and slide but muzzles were kept downrange at all times. They recovered well and went on to finish the stage. I decided to take it slow rather. We eventually finished the match but the problems of the day took my mind off my shooting.
Then it was time for the prize giving but all I could think about is how are we getting home with a leaking petrol tank? 2 off our squad members said they will follow us to make sure we were ok. We rushed off to the nearest garage so I could see if I could make a plan with the leak.
Next thing I know a bunch of fellow shooters were on hand to help. While I was crawling under the car, they all had plans on how to stop the leak. Various plans were made and suddenly I had a tampon and a bar of soap in my hand…yes a tampon. We tried our best but as the tank were still leaking nothing worked. We decided to fill the tank and drive home. 2 of our squad members insisted on following us more than halfway. Another shooter gave me his cell number and insisted we call him if we had any problems.
We took off on the long road and made it home with a bit off fuel still in the tank. Next year we will be taking the Landy….
I just want to thank the Exco and members from Kroonstad, you guys put up a great shoot! Even with the weather you managed to run a great league. Your members are great guys! How you managed to run 8 stages on 4 ranges without any delays is just amazing! Thanks for the hospitality and sorry about messing petrol on your range…promise not to do it again! You will most definitely see us next year!
To my fellow sport shooters that helped with our leaking petrol tank…wow…just wow, thanks guys and gals! It is appreciated and will not be forgotten!
You sport shooter guys ….good guys all of you!
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