A 57-year-old Grantham father is set to become one of the oldest players at an international paintballing tournament in France.
For Simon Richards-Cole paintballing is much more than a hobby. After first trying it out with friends in Sutton Coldfield 29 years ago, Simon was struck with not only by paint but the competitive bug, and decided to take it up professionally.
Countless competitions and trophies later, he is now set to represent Great Britain at The Millennium European Paintball Series Mediterranean Cup, taking place at Puget-sur-Argens in France next weekend.
Simon who lives on the Manthorpe Estate, explains: “It’s the F1 for paintballing. Thousands of players in teams from all over the world take part, in an arena filled with 3D obstacles. It’s all about stealth, with each team securing points by getting flags from the opposition. There are four teams and other individuals going over from Great Britain, and I’m the oldest!”
However Simon is taking pride in his experience, and as well as having competed in more tounaments than most, he can tell you anything and everything about the best equipment because he runs his own paintballing supply business Maxs UK.
Based at the Alma Park Industrial Estate, Simon supplies other paintballing enthusiasts and professionals with everything they need to get that perfect shot, while at the same time avoid being hit themselves.
In his workshop he has a range of the latest paintballing guns, known as markers, and over the years he has seen the technology develop massively with many now having in-built computers. In line with firearms law and tournament rules, these are capable of shooting paintballs up to a maximum velocity of 300ft per second.
When he is not pulling the trigger in competitions himself, Simon regularly takes these and a variety of paintball capsules, storage pods and protective equipment including masks, goggles, body armour and jerseys to trade shows.
Moreover his paintballing passion has been handed down to his son Ethan, 14, who has twice been named the UK’s Young Player of the Year at the UK Paintball Awards.
Indeed Simon admits that the world of paintballing takes him back to his own childhood. “It’s the buzz you get when you play British Bulldog, but a hi-tech version.”
Simon is also asking any businesses interested in sponsoring him at the Mediterranean Cup, to get in touch. “They will get their name on my jersey and the event gets a fair amount of publicity internationally,” adds Simon.
For more information on the tournament, go to www.millennium-series.com, and to contact Simon call 07825 291088.