Race Controller Mr Paul Hill wrote “The Coutances 2018 Young Bird & Old Hens were liberated at 8:00 am in a light Easterly wind, of approximately 5 miles per hour, in gloriously clear & bright Normandy French sunshine. Winds for the 2,546 Young Birds & 866 Old Hens were variable from East to South-East with a strength of 6 to 15 miles per hour, with the latter being in the channel but otherwise they should experience a good clean run home to Blighty.


End of season thanks on behalf of myself & the Convoying Team, Trevor, Barry, Richard and Bob, I would like to thank all the Members for their valued participation and hope you were satisfied with an overall successful race season without any holdovers and allowing the birds to get down and do their best racing available to our British fanciers, in what proved to be an extreme year to deal with due to weather, communicational microwave transmissions and solar flare activities, to mention only three.”

A great race did follow with the members recording competitive times throughout the country for both races. It is very seldom, on the occasions that two races are held in conjunction with each other, that I have to visit the winners flying 130 miles apart. Added to that we have seventeen section winners for each race totalling thirty-four winners and as I endeavour to report on the first five in each section I had the daunting task of 170 top five section positions to write about. Obviously, most would say this is reaching for the stars but with the help and assistance of the many dedicated scribes in their relative sections we have come very close to achieving it. Those that have been missed for one reason or another please send me your details via email and I shall include it in a future article. Our club is the very best in the country and a position in the top five of any of our sections is worthy of recognition, and if it was not, why would anyone race for it?

I do need the help I receive, and I am truly grateful for it. Also, we have lots of sponsors donating prizes to be won in our races and they do so to enable us to recognise their appreciation of being associated with the National Flying Club. As pigeon fanciers we should support them in return and over the next few weeks I shall be reporting on each and every one. The closed season is a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company over a few beers at the presentation night and shows. If you see the NFC stand, please come over, say “Hello” and if you are not already a member, join us!

On to the report of the Coutances young bird and old hens race...

For section A and winning the Old Hens race was Tony Baughen, Tony has had a tough time of it for the last few years since his second heart operation. In fact, he has been very despondent, so this win has put a spring back into his step. His section winner is a little blue natural hen sent to chipping eggs. She had three flights left to go and was prepared especially for this race. She goes back to a kit of 6 Janssen youngsters that his son bought for him when he started back into the sport, probably the best family of consistent pigeons he has in his loft. He would like to congratulate Roger Sutton on winning the race and all of the other section winners. J May & Son 3rd Sect young birds; Well done to the winner and section winners. 

My 3rd section winner is a blue pied hen, race natural to the perch. This is her 5th race and has been racing consistently. She is from a son of our no1 breeding cock “Spiderman” (who is a son of Leo Heremans “Rossi x Spinneke”) When pared to a granddaughter of Leo Heremans “de Power”. Mr & Mrs May 4th & 6th Sect young birds; Our timings are darkness babies raced to the perch. Both birds have been racing well, this was only their 2nd channel race. The 4th section winner is bred from a pair of direct “Pitbull” pigeons both bred by Karel Laenen and the 6th section winner is bred from a pair of direct “National Wonder” pigeons both bred by Vermeerbergen-Wilms.

First section young birds is R. Broome and Grandson. Rodney won the section last year, so well done on your repeat performance. No details of the pigeon but Rodney himself is well known for his pigeon training services for fanciers in the Portsmouth area. Well done Rodney you deserve your win. Second section 'A' is Mr Consistency Brian Wall of Gem Supplements. Brian's record this year has been phenomenal being first or second section in the races he has flown. Brian timed his young bird that was bred from his stock loft, this young bird was having its first race this year. 2018 was an exceptional racing year for Brian who is well known in the sport for being the owner - Managing Director of the popular Gem Supplements. They cannot be many if any MD’s of pigeon companies that race pigeons. Brian told me he likes the fact that over the years he has sponsored and helped many organizations and charities in the sport he loves. He flew 30 widowhood cocks this season, which he says is about the maximum he can manage successfully. These race to two sections in a 28 foot loft, 24 in the larger section and 6 in the smaller one. The widowhood Hens are in the third Section on V perches with the floor covered in plastic balls. This discourages the hens from pairing up, although near the end of the Old bird racing a couple of the hens still got to the floor to pair up. Brian said the Hens being so close to the cocks makes no difference to performance although he concedes if he could he would have them further away. Nationals and specialist clubs like the BICC & Classic are the races he likes to compete in, although club racing he uses as trainers he still supports his club each week and is chairman the Emsworth & Havant FC.

He is very pleased with his performances in the 4 National races he completed in this season because it was a loft performance as you will see below not one pigeon. The Tarbes race is a little too far for my pigeons he says, although I like to dabble now and again. I asked about his routine and he told me the following; I train the cocks to the hens about 6 tosses before racing. Once racing commences I do not train. I use the first couple of club races to get them race fit. They go out twice a day for an hour and are fed their main feed on an evening. After the main feed I go around the boxes and give them a pinch of Matrix which they look forward to as they love it. This year the birds have flown round the loft exceptionally well. I noticed that I could not hear them when they took off which is really unusual normally they clap off. They did clap when they were flying round the sky, but they were silent on takeoff. I have never experienced that before, I suppose I have never had birds this fit & healthy. He feeds Gem Super widowhood throughout the racing season with plenty of Gem Supplements as you would expect. On return from a race he gives 50% Super Diet soaked in Gemthepax and 50% G10’s as much as they can eat. They get the same Sunday and do not go out that day. They rest and repair the muscles as rest is as important as exercise. His top ten Section results this year in the National are from Coutances 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th sending 15 birds, Messac 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th & 9th sending 20 birds, Ancenis 1st 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th sending 15 birds, Sigogne 1st & 2nd sending 6 birds. Brian’s favorite bird is a big winner who has a perch for life, a 2003 Van Reet Cock now retired of course and also a section winner & 4th Open National bred a two year old cock that won the section this year and was 2nd in another two. Some reward for the loyalty Brian has shown him in return for a happy retirement. Not surprisingly Brian has also won the Section ‘Champion of Champion’ by a mile and was 15th in the over all ‘Champion of Champions’ in the NFC. He has won 15 Sections in the National now and 3 Classic wins plus 1st BICC with many other top positions in all these races.

His ambition is to win a National he’s been close a few times and as he says it is not easy living so near the coast (half a mile) as your birds need to come in right over your loft other wise if they turn left or right it’s dead time and you will be beat. No time for the birds to funnel up to your loft if you live further from the coast. He said this year the wind was kind to him and the NFC did not have any bad races as such. Some years luck is with you and you have to be ready to take advantage of it. Like all fanciers I have had my share of bad luck, so it’s nice to have some good luck. Another reason Brian puts his success to this year to is that he semi retired and now as more time with the birds and enjoys the racing again. Like all pensioners he wonders how he did it while working full time the time the sport takes up and the energy you need to compete. Now it’s a pleasure. I used to enjoy young bird racing he says, but now it not the fun it was years ago. Losses are bordering on the silly side and it’s a worry every time you send them. Well trained young birds once they have an over night race and are released in the hundreds/thousands seem to lose it and just disappear. Clashing/sickness and hawks play a part but I believe it is some thing else that affects the YB’s. What I do not know but there’s some thing wrong. I wouldn’t race them if I thought it would not affect them as yearlings so I give the young cocks one or two races and only train them once they have had that.

Section B

Bill Edwards has been helping me all season with the section B report and even though he was jetting off on holiday the Monday after the race he still managed to compile this report;

It gave me great pleasure to congratulate Steve and Yvette Harris of Portchester, Hampshire on recording not only 1st section B NFC with Young Birds but also 1st Section B NFC with his only entry in the Old Hens race. Steve wanted to congratulate the open and section winners as well as thanking the helpers at the Southampton marking station.

Steve is no stranger to the winner’s enclosure and has several top National and Classic performances to his credit. Steve was almost caught out by his first arrival and his single entry in the Old Hens race being nearly ten minutes before his expected arrival time. She is a 3 YO De Klak from his Dad Fred’s family of birds. She was raced as a Youngster and as a Yearling but for the last 2 years has been a widowhood hen but was moved in and trained with the youngsters at the end of the OB season. Just flying to a perch she has been well trained and flew Coutances with the Central Southern Classic the previous week

Steve’s next arrival was his youngster that also won 1st Section B. Also flying to the perch this young hen also flew Coutances with the Classic the previous week. Ironically the young cock that she had mated to failed to turn up from the Classic but he turned up the day after the National. The hen is bred from a cock of the Maximus line from Jerome and Jap Meeder when paired to Mandalartz hen on loan from John Gerrard. The Photos are of Steve holding his Young bird winner outside his smart loft and his old hen winner.

2nd Section B Young Birds is Kenny Cliefe of Portsmouth. Ken’s young hen is a Van Loon X Jacob Pootrvliet. She flew Coutances with the Classic the previous week taking 7th Section and 11th open being Ken’s only arrival on the day. She also wins the Southampton marking station Nominations. 3rd Section, again no stranger to the top positions, Johnny Atrill from Salisbury. 4th Section young birds are National and Classic specialist, Dave Waterhouse of Portsmouth. Dave would like to congratulate all the winners and thank his good friend George Appleton from Manchester who bred him 6 babies this year which included this Blue Hen. She flew Coutances with Classic the week before winning 16th Open and having only 3 races is now provisionally 4th Section B NFC. Dave is looking forward to racing her next year and would like to thank the convoyers and all concerned with the NFC

5th Section B is Robby Jones of the Bartlett & Jones Partnership with a Blue hen purchased on a loft visit to Belgium and is of Jansen lines. She has been trained 3 times a week East and West and this was her 4th Race

2nd Section Old Hens is Terry Sails from Southampton with a hen that flew Coutances with the Classic the previous week. This is the first year that Terry has raced the Old Hens races with the Classic and National. She is bred from a son of Joe Jones of Mertle Lofts and the Dam is Miss Fontwell bred by Crammond and Langstaff out of their Bosua family being a daughter of Spartacus winner of 1st NFC Messac. Terry would like to thank his friend “Fingers” who trains his birds for him every day. 3rd Section is Mike Moody also from Southampton. Mike’s 2YO hen also flew Coutances with the Classic the week before taking 6th Section and 9th Open. She has only been lightly raced, this being her 3rd race and was sent sitting eggs. She is bred from an Eddy Jansen Hen and a Van Wanroy cock. Mike has recently come back into the sport but has hit the ground running ably assisted by his two helpers in the photo, Nevaeh and Evlyn. 4th Section is Johnny Atrill from Salsbury and 5th Sect Old Hens is Mick Johnson known locally as “Pompey Mick” for his allegiance to Pompey football club. Mick clocked a 3YO Red widowhood hen of Honeysuckle Jansen lines. She was used as a widowhood hen for the early part of the season and then trained up and raced from the North for the last couple of Old bird races and then sent as a trainer with the youngster on the North Road before flying Coutances with the Classic the week before. She was flown on widowhood.

Section C

First section C young birds was Dave Snell from Seaton who timed a young hen bred down from pigeons via his good friend Bob Lee of South Wales. Bob keeps the good old Lee & Coopers Lefebre Dhaenen bloodlines and the hen has been consistent having been flown in all the races with the DCWSCFC this young bird season. Dave says the Combine is very good training for the national races. He would also like to convey a big thank you to all who take care of the birds and fanciers each week.

John Halstead had a good race being 2nd Section young birds with a blue grandson of Nyland Ashley having only his 3rd race. A fortnight previously he had been 5th in the Upton breeder/buyer winning £200 and was 25th in the Dorset Sportsman’s Open Guernsey Race. In the old hens race he was 1st and 2nd Section and this is the fourth consecutive year John has won the section with his team which are raced as natural hens, sitting babies aged from 3 to 10 days old at basketing. The section winner was a breeder/buyer pigeon from 2015 and was bred by R E Taylor and Sons of Bristol. She had been attacked and frightened by the hawk in April so had been given 2 months in the Widowhood hen loft before being brought out and repaired to be in the correct nest condition for the race.

The 2nd Section winner had been 5th Section the previous week in the CSCFC Coutances race and was bred from a son of Solo from J & P Webber of Abitellery mated with a daughter of Nyland Ashley.

Third section was Neville and Diana Spracklen who have had a great season. From the outset with their team of widowhood cocks racing from Coutance which is 124 miles, they managed to win 4th 5th 16th and 20th sec 38th 47th 207th and 321st open against 6651 birds. Moving on to Messac 201 miles they were 2nd sec 49th open against 7016 birds. From Ancenis they won 4th 11th 13th 17th 18th and 19th sec. Their favourite race was next i.e. the Tarbes Grand National and this is still the race that they would love to win. They knew it was going to be a hard race, which it proved to be, but they still managed to clock their cheq hen to win first section 13th open out of 2285 birds and from Sigone, they managed 7th 9th and 10th section. All this followed by 3rd sect young bird and 5th section old hens at the very last race of the season. They love flying in the National Flying club as they believe that “it is the best club in the country.” Well done both!

Derek Vincent came in 4th section who tells me he has been breeding and racing pigeons for the past 36 years - getting hooked following a desire of his son to take up the hobby, clearly his interest (and success) has far outlasted his son! His white flight hen is a Vandenabeele x Busschaert and a direct daughter of Derek's 2nd placed BBC National Carentan 2012 bird. Derek would like to pass on his congratulations to all the section winners. Mel and Sue King were 5th Sect in the young bird race and here is another husband and wife team who have had a great season.

The year started with a bang when they won 1st Section 1st Open Coutances with “Stourcrest Momus” a P & D Houfflijn cross Gaby Vandenabeele. The Houfflijn line was supplied by R Rome from their direct imports. The sire of “Momus” was bred by Mel & Sue from birds bred by R Rome and the sire was one of three young cocks that all won 1st Prize as Young birds, another of these young cocks also bred 1st section Young bird National. The dam of “Momus” is again from their main family of Gaby Vandenabeele cultivated from the M & D Evans birds they purchased in 1999. She is another daughter of “Dione” herself being direct daughter of “Shadow.”  “Dione” is dam and G dam to 5 X 1st Open Nationals and 3 X 1st Open Classic winners. Five full sisters bred from “Dione” when paired to a son of “Solitaire” have all bred 1st section winners, six sons & daughters of “Dione” when paired to a son of “Mclaren” have also bred 1st section winners.

After Messac they were delighted to time one of six entries at Ancenis to win 1st section, one of only a handful of race birds not to contain any of their Gaby Vandenabeele family lines “ Stourcrest Pyramis” is a M & G Caseart x Van Lint. The M & G Caseart lines have proved to be very successful especially when crossed with the Vandenabeele’s as their 1st Section 5th Open NFC Tarbes 2016 shows. The sire of “Pyramis” was bred by Caseart and gifted to us by Brian Goodwin and is a direct son of “Gamin” x “Prunelle”. Gamin is a full brother to “Nasdaq” 1st National and G sire of “Minstral” 1st National Brive . Dam of “Pyramis” is a Van-Lint daughter of “Pride of the Hill” 1st Open NIPA 24,436 birds from Dean Pallatt, purchased at a Blackpool auction after they took a shine to it.

Next up Tarbes the Grand National, this turned out to be a hard race for most with low returns, after a long wait they timed a yearling widowhood hen of Limbourg x Vandenabeele breeding to take 3rd section. The Limbourg lines are of the “Joost” & “Blackopium and are responsible for winning 1st, 2nd & 3rd Open CSCFC Bergerac amongst other prizes. The Vandenbelle has 2 lines back to “Eros” our NFC Nantes winner son of “Dione” mentioned earlier. The final race at Sigogne caps off a great National old bird season when they won 1st Section 6th Open with “Stourcrest Eurydicee” which is a full brother to the Ancenis section winner.

Section D

A&D Hodge topped the section in the young bird race; My section winner is a blue dock who had previously won 1st club Purbeck in the Devon Cornwall and West Somerset club 385b and originates from pigeons purchased from Fishlock bros of Wales. I sent four youngbirds to Coutances had three on the day the 2nd bird should probably be 3rd sect which again is very closely related to the winner. I breed 24 young birds a season and they are raced on the darkness and flown to the perch but given three thirty mile training tosses a week. I would like to congratulate all the section winners in the race.
Third section in the young bird and first section in the old hens was Simon Cordery; This chequer cock is bred from a ken ware cock which has been very consistent all season in the fed. and a Richard Goodier sprint Janssen. It was sent driving its hen (this particular cock, when John was basketing it, he wasn’t sure whether it was a cock or a hen). The old hen to take 1st section is a Roland Janssen hen, bred from a pair of birds purchased from Louella. She was flying to pippin eggs. She had never been trained or raced until this year, at 2 years old. When this hen was a baby, it was named Wai-Wai by one of my friends Wai-Yunn Crawley, after she took an interest in my new hobby.

Second is Mark Gannon; The hen which I believe is provisionally second section D is a five year old blue hen sent sitting 14 days. She is bred from Kees Bosua and Janssen blood lines which I have kept for the past ten years originating from Foxwood Lofts and Premier Lofts. This pigeon has been a reliable racer scoring several times in the Tiverton Continental Flying Club and the Devon, Cornwall and West Somerset Flying Club over the years. I was unable to race old birds this year due to hawk problems and this hen was trained with the young birds in preparation for this race.

Alan Harwood took 3rd place in the old hen’s race; I sent one 3 year old hen to Coutances she has only had 4 races, 3 with the Devon Cornwall and west Somerset continental flying club and one race to the isle of Wight. The isle of Wight races seems to help our birds to face the channel. She has been with my young birds all year in the young bird section she has paired with a young cock and was feeding a big baby. She is a Vandenabeele from a stock bird from Bryon Shipley (Fidell  x Belle). My birds have had no training this year due to my wife's poor health and her needing 24-hour care, at present she is in hospital. The birds were liberated at 8am, Three birds arrived together at 11.15am, one was the old hen the other two were young birds. I sent four birds in total 1 old hen 3 young birds. Annoyingly the birds didn't land and chose to sit on the neighbour’s roof. At 11.20 am I called my good mate Brian Reene along with a few unmentionable words, he couldn't believe I had three together. The hen was still reluctant to come in lots of shouting her and whistling followed for what in a pigeon financiers world was an eternity  she landed and could visibly see the loft I put her baby in the trap she saw it and dropped in to be clocked at 11.44.30 losing me almost 30 minutes, the two young birds sitting on the roof came in at 12.47.23 to take 11th section I got all my birds back safe and sound me however am now greyer and balder with pulling my hair out than I was before this race.

Alan Phillips was 4th sect young birds; This dark hen, flew the YB race program in the Tiverton Club racing with Devon Cornwall & West Somerset CFC. Her parents have been paired together for the first time this year, the Sire is from Alan Newton of Gwent down from his 'Nearly Cock' and the dam is a Koopman hen. Alan has had a very good season winning several 1st in Tiverton club and winning the Devon, Cornwall & West Somerset Club. Alan did comment that this year there have been terrific YB losses, and even though we live in an area full of falcons, he doesn't think the blame can be put entirely at their door step, he believes new technology, mobile phones, increased use of radio signals, radar in the Channel for overseas races has made a huge impact on the ability of our pigeons to home. Taking 5th Sect young birds was Andrew Mabin who wrote; Firstly, I would like to congratulate all the prize winners, with many of the big prizes going to the longest fliers today. Here in the South West of Devon, Totnes, it was always going to be a different story, the fly would be almost all water and flying almost 140 miles was asking a lot.  This game little hen must have been flying on her own and deserved a good 5th section prize.  Again the mother being a Prins Blauwe De Rauw Sablon. Having only moved here two and a half years ago we are trying to establish a new team.

Brian Reene was 4th sect in the old hen’s race; I was very pleased to have clocked a prize winner in the old hens National. It has been a poor season for me, nothing seems to have gone well, but in this race, l sent 5 birds and clocked 4 so ending the season not so bad!

I timed a 2yr old checker hen, her 1st time over the channel. The hen is a 'Van der espt', bred from stock l obtained from Nigel Llewellyn some 4 yrs ago now. They bred several good birds for myself and friends, but I really do like them, the beautiful handling of medium size, exceptional feathering and brilliant eyes, the best l have ever seen! 

I gave a couple of pair to a friend Wezz Stephens, told him to cross them for racing, he bred 10 reds, all have been trained and raced. He has finished young bird racing now and has still got all 10 in the loft. They are a long-distance pigeon, definitely not fast, and need to be nurtured until maturity, then go for it!

Section E

1st Section in the old hen’s race was Ken Wise of Isleworth. Ken clocked a fantastic pigeon on the day bearing in mind the wind and the drag of the birds going up the central /west side of the country.  He was winning the race for a few hours until he was pipped into 2nd by Roger Sutton flying over 100 miles further up country and the wind on their side.  The 3 year old hen achieved a velocity of 1686 completing the 174 mile trip in just over 3 hours.  She is an inbred M&D Evans pigeon being a double granddaughter of the legend “Shadow.”  Against all racing theory of inbred birds are not for racing her sire and dam were full brother and sister mating being from a cock called “Maverick” – a son of “Shadow” and a hen called “Jans Special” who is a Peter Veenstra pigeon down from “De Jan” and “Special Blue.”

She has a great racing record already having previously won the Federation for Ken.  Ken has been winning races for years with his family of pigeons and won everything to win in the club, fed and combine and 4 x 1st with the London and South East Classic club.  He now focusses on national racing.  The hens and youngsters were purely road trained for fitness and this was their first race of the year.  He had 100% returns.

Roger lowe took the next four positions and wrote; Firstly, congratulations to all the section winners has I’m still in shock has you can see. Because I found my first bird hanging on the Avery thinking it was a returning pigeon from the last race because I didn’t think they would be that fast so was not ready with the loft locked and no ETS ready!  However, they say you live and learn but after 45 year in the sport I’m still learning. Sending 17 old hen my first bird a yearling already a winner of a few prize best being 5th sec 20th open 1817b BBC National Fougeres  being another from the “Main Man” sire of “Main Son” this year’s Sigogne winner in the NFC national and himself a winner of  2nd and 3rd open saints in the NFC, son of “My Little Diamond” a winner of 1st NFC and dam of NEMESIS winner of 1st NFC. Dam of my first bird is “Ruby" granddaughter of Gaby Vandenabeele and is a gift bird from Mark Gilbert. My second bird, also a yearling is bred from “Diamond Che” a grandson of “My Little Diamond” when paired with “Gold Ring” an inbred daughter of My Little Diamond when paired to the Main Man her son. Her best performance to date is 2nd sec 20th open BBC fougeres 1652b 
Third bird also a yearling and a double granddaughter of my little diamond from “Red 005” x “The One” winner of 1st fed plus 1st open central southern classic Guernsey she bred from the “Main Man” when paired to “Lucky Supreme” from Mark Gilbert’s “Southfield Supreme” 1st International Dax. “The One” is a full sister to “Main Son” this year’s Sigogne winner NFC. 

In the young bird race, I would like to say well done to Dave Lee on an outstanding performance in only his second season at his new address. I sent 16 young birds and getting three come together I was very pleased, after finding the old hen just before. Only sending hens my first being a line bred to Eijerkamps “Che” sire being “Shining Che” bred from “Carlos” top son of “Che” bred by Eijerkamp and purchased from Pipa. 
When paired to “Lucky 13” bred by Crammond and Langstaff from “Amsterdam Che” son of “Che” when paired “Harriet” also bred by Eijerkamp from “Carlos” X “Inteelt Harry” daughter of Jan Hooymans “Harry” My next three are all the same way bred being inbred to Hooymans “Harry” sire being “Pink Harry” bred again by Crammond and Langstaff from there NFC national winner “Rolex” x direct daughter of “Harry” dam is “Epson Harry” purchased at the Epsom show last year she is bred by JPS lofts from a son of “Harry” when paired to a double granddaughter of “Harry”. Getting 10 of the 16 home on the day it became a very good day, thanks for a good race. 

In 4th place was Les Penycate in West Molesey. Les clocked a blue cock at just over the 3 hour mark for the 170 miles and recorded a velocity of 1645.  Les sent 5 youngsters to this race, all bred by his friend and great fancier Stuart Sheffield of Old Windsor – he was gifted 6 and he has managed to keep them all through the young bird racing season.  Les is unsure of the specific breeding but Stuart has some great families of pigeons. Gary Inkley in Uxbridge is another fancier we see plenty of at the top of the Section results.  Gary clocked a Syndicate lofts pigeon to take 5th Section doing a velocity of 1626 – the sire is a pigeon from “Outlaw” and “Rowen” and the dam is an inbred Harry pigeon.  Gary’s youngsters have been racing really well this year, but he has had a nightmare with road training, regularly being hit by BOP and even around the loft although the birds seem to feel safe in the loft so on race day its worked out well and they are bolting for home.  

Section F

The outright winner of the young bird race was David lee of Reading a full and comprehensive report can be found on the NFC website. Taking 2nd 3rd and 4th was P Gilbert.

Pete’s first bird, and second section is a blue pied cock sent feeding a large youngster which has had plenty of racing, going both midweek and weekends with the local club. This pigeon is Belgian rung and was one of four bought on Pete’s annual coach trip to Belgium and Holland for the spring exchange and Lier market events. Its breeding is Van Lint and Pete fully intends to find the breeder again next year, though waiting until after making his purchases to inform the breeder of his success in case the prices go up. Pete’s second bird is a dark chequer hen also sent feeding a youngster, which has also had a lot of club racing. To round off a thoroughly good day Pete’s third bird was clocked 37 seconds after his second bird to take fourth section with the remaining 5th place going to Bob Taylor of Abingdon.

The partnerships 2012 bred blue hen was sent unpaired as the cock she was paired to was lost off the loft 10 days prior to the race. She is a Patrick Janssen that was not raced through the old bird season but was trained with the young birds once they had flown 2 Federation races. She was a gift from a friend and was broken to our loft in the first week we had her. 

4th Sect in the old hens race was Mr & Mrs V. T. Hall. Who wrote “Congratulations to Dave Lee & Rodger Sutton on their win in the NFC Coutance race. I would like to say a big thank you to my grandson Blaine Partlett for cleaning out my lofts carrying my baskets/birds to all clubs & classic marking stations. My blue pied hen was sitting & feeding a big young bird when I sent her to the race points.  he came 84th open Fromm SCC Coutance the week before coming 4th section F with NFC Coutance. She is bred from 1st NFC Pau “Little Margaret“ cross Bert Hessian SVR of Blaune & Belgium Cracker. I would like to wish everyone all the best for next year 2019.  Yours in Sport Mr & Mrs V. T. Hall.”

Section G

Nigel Templer was 1st section in the young bird race with a bird of Heremans-Ceusters bloodlines which he bought in a breeder/buyer sale at the Portishead Club donated by Paul Titcombe.  The sire was bred from a son of his national winner when paired to "Shipway Comet" and the dam is from Pauls race team being bred from his best stock cock which is sire of 8 x 1st prize winners. Nigel would like to convey his thanks to Paul and the NFC for looking after them prior to liberation with congratulations to the winner and the other section winners. Second sect was Geoff & Catherine Cooper who sent a team of hens, all flown separated and the hen they timed was bred from the race team. Her sire was a gift from Mark Gilbert and is a grandson of Jellema’s “Romee” and the dam is a daughter of “Carla Page” 16th International Pau when paired to a son of “Farmer George” and “Wollongong” both 1st International. Their second hen which maybe 6th section is out of a son of Mark Gilbert’s “Kannibal” 4th International Barcelona when paired to a daughter of “Farmer George” and “Wollongong”.  Their third bird clocked provisional 10th section is from a son of “Farmer George” and “Ivy” 1st International hens when paired to a daughter of “Euro Star” and “Wollongong”. Third section was Adrian Bishop from Bristol with fourth place going to R & J Whiteside. Stuart Wilcox was 5th section in the young bird race; My timer was a Blue W/F hen which is a Derwa x Minderhoud, a new family I am trying, these are bred around the Geeloger, Paulien, De Zoon and the Turbo Pair. They have been a quick success winning several races this season. The hen who was flying to the perch is bred from "Albi" a son of Albert Derwa's 1st European National Cup Winner “De Zoon” being a son of “Paulien”, the dam is a daughter of “Special K” bred by Koen Minderhoud he is a direct son of Geeloger 1st NPO Pithiviers 6340b, 1st NPO La Soutteriane 3077b and 1st NPO Chateauroux 2227b. Granddam is Golden Eyes a daughter of the “King of Rekkem” 1st NPO Rekkem 19,469b. I sent 10 and had 5 home in good time.

The old hens section winner was S P Laver who races at Bedminster whilst second place went to John & David Staddon; We timed our good hen named Miracle 23 to be provisional 2nd section G 30th Open. This is the fourth time this season we have been 2nd section. She was placed back on our chaos widowhood system for this race after a spell of racing natural after the core old bird season, she was then allowed to pair and sit eggs. She was then raced with the young birds in the WOESRC before being sent to the BICC Guernsey & CSCFC Coutances races in preparation for this NFC race. She has previously been a first-class hen winning the WOESRC Saintes race in 2017 by over 14 miles. She’d also won 1st Section 3rd Open CSCFC Coutances OH, 3rd Section 29th Open CSCFC Coutances and now 2nd Section G Prov 30th Open NFC Coutances. She is a full sister to Gina G 2nd Open NFC Coutances, 4th NFC Coutances, 4th Open BICC Falaise. They are both direct from our Miracle Pair. The racing loft in Evercreech will close at the end of this season with all future racing happening from our new loft in Ditcheat. This hen will most likely be put to stock but will go to the BBC Fougeres OH race as her last race. R E Taylor & Sons, also of Bedminster came third with Martin Yandell fourth and W G Harris from Elton in fifth.

Section H

Steve Bartholomew of Bromham was 1st & 2nd Sect H. Steve moved up to Bedfordshire from Bristol 2 years ago, The first bird home was a 2 year old Van Loon Hen sent sitting, bred by Joe Thompson of Bristol, and was gifted to Steve along with 14 others as a young bird when Steve moved. The Blue Hen earlier in the year on Roundabout took 1st Bedford Club from Exeter in the Inter Counties Fed. The 2nd Section was Mealy Pied Hen also gifted to Steve bred by Matt Lee from Steve's stock loaned to Matt whilst Steve was moving. The Mealy Pied was sent with the MNFC to Vire this season and was 20th Open 6th Sect 4094 Birds. On the same day Steve was also 1st Kempston F C.1st Midshires Fed and 1st UBI Combine Honiton with a Grizzle young bird. Terry Bennett came in third section and sent a photo which is of Dick Brocklesby, Terry Bennett and Phil Fox. Dick and foxy put in a lot of work and advice at Terry's loft. The Blue hen had been hawked earlier in the year, but she was kept on exercising with the young birds so they put a ten-day old chick under her on Monday and she fell in love with it, and put in a good effort.

Rusted & Hayward partnership in 4th with a hen that was trained with the young birds in preparation for the National. She was sent sitting a seven day old youngster and her dam was bought at the clubs Breeder Buyer sale being a Cauman bred by Chitty Bros of Kings Langley and her sire has mainly "De Kleine" blood in him I brought stock from Andr'e Berghams of  Belgium at the Spring show in Holland. Fifth section went to A Smith in Little Harrowden.

First section young birds were C Crick & Son with S Charbrowski in second and fourth place. Both of his pigeons have originated from some of his best distance pigeons. Their parents originated from his Polish friends, Jan Zalejski and Piotr Kurzelewski. They both specialised in races over 500 miles. Third was non-other than H M the Queen raced by her Loft Manager Peter Farrow and fifth was Paul West in Grantham. Paul sent me the details of his bird; It is a Imbrecht/Coppenolle x FVW and was hatched on 5 May. She went to Coutances with its cover feathers starting to drop, also losing feathers on its head! Its first race was on the 4th August, I sent it by mistake as I thought it was earlier bred but it was the 4th bird back to the loft in a fresh North wind. It had 3 more races with the furthest being from Bedhampton 150 miles, then into Coutances 276 miles.

On the Sires side it was off of a son of Little Meg, 1st Sect 2nd Open Tarbes NFC for Mr & Mrs Corkett and Sons and  Dave Hazels Perpignan which was 32nd Semi-Nat Perpignan 5,141 birds. 18th Semi-Nat Carcasonne 4,245 birds. On the Dams side it was from my FVW family which I have had for over 20 years with additions to them. The Dam itself was bred for stock, being off a cock that only raced as a young bird due to a house move. Its winnings totalled 1st Club, 4th Nottinghamshire SR Fed Salisbury in a strong N/East wind, 31st Sect K 174th Open NFC Carentan. 3,246 birds in a W/North West wind, 2nd sect K 42nd Open NFC St.Malo 3,428 birds in a North wind and a FVW hen that I bought from Mr & Mrs Corkett and Sons which had won 6th Sect 25th Open MNFC Bordeaux and 30th Sect 115th Open MNFC Bordeaux. I only sent 2 birds to this race as I am not a big team player and I would like to thank the team at Royston for marking the birds, they were a friendly bunch. Also the convoyers as the birds returned in very good order and last but not least my good friend Dave Hazel for his advice with the birds I have had off him.

Section I

First section in the young bird race was R M Taylor from Warley with second place going to Mr & Mrs Ashfield & Son in Great Barr. Third was Mr & Mrs R Stretton & Daughter from Rougeley and fourth was Bowskill & Gascoigone in Mansfield. Prince Brothers of Cheadle continued their good run by coming fifth section. Following on from their young bird result Bowskill and Gascoigne won the section in the old hens race. Second was E Keyte in Atherstone with third and fifth going to Cliff Sanders also in Atherstone. Cliff timed a

three year old blue hen which has been first to the loft three times this season from the Channel. Fifth section was a four year old chequer hen bred by good friend Geoff Jones from Crewe, with the Jim Biss bloodlines. Cliff would like to congratulate all the winners and thank Ray Scriven along with all the lads at the Alverley marking station. Mr & Mrs Ray Grimsdell in Burton on Trent took the remaining fourth position.

I had previously asked Clive Yates to send me a few details about his loft and system as Clive has had a very consistent year in the NFC “I am a part time pigeon racer these days, not racing every week as in the past I would never have missed a week’s racing, but I do like my racing with the NFC. The birds come home in good condition with clean feet even after a hold over. Since I re-joined the NFC four years ago listing my first bird only, I have won in 2018, Coutances 7th sect; Messac 2nd sect; Ancenis 2nd sect; Sigogne 2nd sect. 2017, Fougeres 5th sect; Messac 2nd sect; Messac(2) 2nd sect; Fougeres(2) 1st sect. 2016 Fougeres 3rd sect; Messac 3rd sect; Ancenis 2nd sect; Saintes 1st sect and 1st sect Saintes 2015. This season I had changed my system and beginning in the new year I exercised my old birds every day where they were flying for over an hour or more. So I decided to not pair any of my race birds up as they were flying so well. None of the birds had any medication after I sent a five day dropping sample off to Deweert Vet Service at the beginning of April. Fortunately the results showed them to be clear of any ailments, requiring just the obligatory PMV injection.

Trouble was only around the corner though after my old cocks had a few 20 mile training tosses. They were coming very well so on the first nice day towards end of April, I took eighteen of the 2 to 5 year old cocks forty miles. That day I lost six multiple winners and three more came back smashed up with damaged wings not able to race again. It would seem a family of Falcons had smashed into them. So now I have had to change the way I train my channel birds. In the past, before the BOP were so prevalent, I would take the birds with the family to Weston Super Mare, drive the car on to the beach and single toss them while the family enjoyed the day, but these last couple of years if I try to do this there will be one come back Hawked or one missing. The system I used this year was the chaos system but I do not think I will use it again next year as I will go back to widowhood with the cocks and hens paired before the start of the season. This way I think they are keener and more “switched on.” This year my birds were fed on Gem Plus without breaking them down or limiting of the food. In the first NFC race of 2018 from Coutances I sent 28 and dropped two. For the next race from Messac I sent back the 26 that went to the first race and lost one. For Ancenis I sent 30 lost 3 and for Sigogne sent 26 had 5 on day 21 back by end of 2nd day 481 miles. So not too many lost over the season and I’m happy they won the champion league in the section with the 5-bird limit.

The last few seasons I have had two teams of young birds one on the darkness system with the other only trained on natural. I would say that as yearlings the performances are no different as a good pigeon will still be a good pigeon at the end of the day. This season I bred my young birds later than before so they were weaned late April and going out for the first time in May. I had no Sparrowhawk problems around the loft and they were flying well in no time. I began training with 49 young birds and after four races I still have 47 left.

My base breed is my old FVW that I have had since 1982, but my number one stock hen that I am breeding my present family around is a hen bred by Batenburg from Holland. She is a Euro Diamond X Jan Arden and I have paired her to eight different cocks and bred winners with them all. When I paired her to a Wilde cock she bred 1st, 3rd & 5th federation 51 miles. Paired to a Direct Mark Gilbert cock she bred the West Midlands RPRA rose bowl winner over 450 miles and to another Wilde cock she bred Ace pigeon middle distance MNFC.

When paired to her son she also bred my 2nd section winner Sigogne winner when having his third channel race winning 2nd federation Messac two weeks before Sigogne. My advice to anyone always is “win or lose enjoy your racing.”

Section J

First section J with the young birds was Brian Harris & Son; The Blue hen is a darkness youngster, the sire being one of our Dutch family of Frans and Annie Van Pinxteren birds which are a combination of De Klak/Van Loon/Gus Hofkens and were obtained from John Birch via my good friend the late John Knowles. They were also responsible for breeding our blue hen 'Isabel' who finished 5th Open/1st Sect in the 2015 Y/B National from Guernsey. Dam of the blue hen is a Van-De-Merwe bred from birds purchased off J Hughes of Manchester. This pair has bred us numerous first prize winners - I have named our hen 'Jackie' after my wife who has put up with me and my birds over the past years - We do in fact celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary in October. Our birds are raced on Vanrobaeys mixtures supplied by John Sturman of Rowley Regis. I would like to send our congratulations to the National winners Mr & Mrs Lee and a big Thank You to all the conveyors, the marking team at Alveley and all the friends and fancies who have rung to congratulate us on our win. Special Thanks to a friend who helped cure our youngsters of YBS earlier this year. Second section was McGraw, Clegg & Preece from Stoke on Trent and Williams & Wilks were third section young birds which is a homebred hen through Dean Williams ‘84’ cock, crossed with our old Pied Sultan lines via Howard Jackson. The pigeon in 6th section position is a little blue hen bred from our good friend and excellent fancier Stevie ‘Stourport‘ Price which we have named “Aye Aye Aye.” As we fly young birds and old birds to different loft locations each partner had to be at their respective lofts so Kirk managing the young birds and John clocking in the old hens. We couldn’t see both lots of pigeons come but a provisional 6th section in the old hens was nice to go with the two young bird section positions. The old hen clocked was bred by the NFC master Martin Williams of Ledbury and has flown well all season. Lastly can we thank the NFC for a great race and keeping the birds in such good condition. Ben Oakley from Whitchurch was fourth with a cock he bought at Stu Wilcox “Speed Sale” at Blackpool this year from M and D Evans. His sire is “Dolce Harry” a grandson of Jan Hooymans Harry when paired to “Champion Yes” raced by Mally Robinson, which won 1st MNFC Carentan as a young bird in 2011. The dam of my hen was a gift bird from Wayne Jones from his Frans Zwols stock through Formula One lofts. 

In the old hens race P Lockley & Sons were first with a blue yearling hen sent feeding a 7-day-old youngster. She was actually the second bird to arrive home, but the first bird wouldn’t trap. The section winner is Houben X Van Den Brande. The sire was bred by S. McDermott of Stafford and is a winner of fourteen 1st prizes. He also topped the Gloucester Fed this year and the dam was bred by M. Blackmoor of Darwood lofts. The hen that wouldn’t trap and should be 2nd Section is a Van Den Brande of Anouske and Rooney lines.
These hens were not going to be raced as I only race widowhood cocks. After having some difficult races with the yearling cocks in June, I decided to train and race 8 hens. They have performed well taking prizes in the local club and several good positions in the MNFC Vire race. Mr & Mrs Geoff Kirkland were at the top again taking second position with third and fourth going to J & R McLatchie and R Gelder & Son in fifth spot.

Section K

Chris Gordon won section K and once again Chris has come to the front in the YB racing.  Having spoken to Chris, he entered ten young birds in this year’s young bird National, of which seven homed on the day. His first pigeon is a Lewis Thijs which was bred in December. Chris first introduced these Lewis Thijs pigeons in 2011 and they have done a lot of winning for him up to 350 miles. Both parents of this winning pigeon are Lewis Thijs birds. Chris informed me that he clocked one only a few minutes after his first pigeon which should also finish 2nd Section K. This too is a Lewis Thijs crossed with some of his own breed. L & S Gash won third section who wrote “ Saturday the 1st Sept is a date we look forward to just like everyone else, for the young bird national from Coutance. Our birds had been trained hard and have raced the full programme up until that date. It's been quite a bad year for fanciers with young bird losses but we selected 10 young birds from our team to fly this race. The first home was a bird bred by Mr & Mrs C E Lee who are good friends of ours, with the bloodline being a Jan Aarden cock X Busschaert hen. This cock has performed well all year and we have had some pleasing results from him.  It was no surprise to us that he dropped down first onto the landing board to gain 3rd section K. The whole team flew well with seven coming home on the day and two the following morning. All we needed to achieve was a decent bird on the day to claim the section K averages which we think we have done. This is a massive achievement for us to have done so well having only being in the sport for four years. The fanciers in this area have a lot to answer to, for getting us both addicted to these amazing creatures.

Derek Edwards came in fourth place. Derek sent eight pigeons to the National of which six came on the day and a further one the next morning. His first pigeon was flying her third race of the season, having only been to Newbury then Buckingham beforehand and Derek informs me that the breeding of this bird is from a good friend of his, Arthur Taylor, full of Arthur’s classic winning line. H A Rawson, Son & Towers came in fourth with Phil and his Partner sending 14 young birds to the race. They had 10 return on the day and the dam of their first bird is Moggy Morgan x Mark Gilbert line and she had flown 1000 miles in 8 days last season, competing in the NFC Saints race, followed the week after to Poitiers where she was 1stClub 5th Fed.  She has also figured well in quite a few races so it is no surprise that a young bird off her has flown well.  The bird was sent sitting a 5-day old youngster. Pete Hagland was fifth and Pete’s young bird was a Lion van Rijn. This was an exchanged youngster with Colin Clark from mid-Glamorgan.  

R Turner and Pallatt of Worksop won the old hens section K and as it was the first race of the season with the NFC they were delighted to win 1st and 3rd section. The hen in first is a yearling hen that has been consistent this season and raced every week. This was her fifth channel race of the season she out of a direct son off “Olympiad 03” when paired to a daughter off Richards top stock pair, a Peter Jonker crossed Jan and Joke Kaman. She was sent on widowhood and the birds returned in excellent condition, so I would like to send my congratulations to Roger Sutton the race winner and to convoyer plus race controller for all their hard work. B & P Winter were second and the sire of this old hen is a son of Little Gem, when paired to its own mother. The dam of this hen is a Chris Hebbercht pigeon. In fourth place was Pete Hagland and Pete’s first old hen is a Herman Beverdam. Pete has raced this particular breed for 25 years and they are still winning for him. Pete informed me that this hen went over the channel at the beginning of the season and came back with absolutely no tail feathers at all and this was her first race since. Pete sent 8 old hens and got full returns on the day. Fifth section is Dave Hubery who restarted in the sport in 2016. His two-year old hen is a Van Copen hen, bred for him by Wayne Ellis. Dave calls this pigeon “The Bridesmaid” as it has had seven second places, plus various other prizes. She was sent sitting 7-day eggs.

Section L

Roger Sutton had a pretty conclusive young bird race in the section taking the first three positions as well as winning the old hens race outright. A full loft report can now be seen on the NFC website. In fourth spot was B P Lee from Congleton and Peter Hardman took fifth place. Second and third in the old hen’s race was Mr & Mrs F B Jennings & son from Chorley with fourth place going to Graeme Marskell in Preston. Fifth was the third Congleton loft in the top five of the section with Kevin Tagell.

Section N

Dave McSween & Jim Sexton of Sunderland took the top three section prizes and showed us all how to race young birds at distances over four hundred miles. Raced on the darkness system they fly 402 miles and their mealy hen was hatched in February being fed on Vanrobaeys No 37 YB mix. All three are from their old UNC Bourges lines. Their winners preparation was six, fifty mile tosses then two races from Wetherby 65 miles and two races from Worksop 108 miles then jumped into Coutances. She had just thrown her first flight and was not paired up but fresh and showing to the young cocks in the loft. Her sister won the Sportsmans YB race from Guernsey in 2015 being the only bird on the day. Malcolm, Heslington & Jones of Wingate were 4th section with a natural young bird from Alan Kelly of Ireland stock.

In the Old Hens race Tom Cuthbertson & Derek McWilliam of Willington Co. Durham timed a 4 year old Louella Busschaert hen sent sitting chipping eggs for the 391 mile flight winning 1st Section N. This hen won 6th Section N from the Messac Nat in 2017. Dave McSween & Jim Sexton of Sunderland won 2nd Section N with a yearling celibate hen. It was only lightly raced during the OB season & was bred from one of their own crossed with a hen bought from Staddon Bros. It's preparation for the race was 6 x 50 mile tosses with their young birds followed by two private training flights from Northampton at 190 miles and Buckingham at 204 miles, then given a week’s rest before being jumped to Coutances. Jeff & Matthew Walton of Coxhoe were 3rd and 5th Section with two hens. The first, a three year old sitting 10 day eggs topped the section from Messac this year. She had two 5th sections NFC in 2017. Her sire had won from Bourges 557miles and is from a grandson of Sumo paired to a granddaughter of Poco and her dam another direct from their good friend Jos Thone'. Their second hen, a four year old granddaughter of the same stock pair and was flying to a 7 day old baby. She won 2nd section Fougeres in 2017. Brian Wiemer & Son of Hartlepool were 4th section with a five year old hen from Kirkpatrick/Van Winkel stock. Their other three entries figured in the first ten of the section.

Section P

At first section P are previous national winners Mr & Mrs R Tofts of Bishops Stortford, with a very respectable 44th open provisional. Given the conditions on the day, section P and all those on the east side would have had had to pull the rabbit out of the hat to get near the open winners so well done to all of those who will feature in the result. Their young bird was a Blue hen bred from a Vandenheede cock gifted from Roger Lowe at Orbital Lofts. The dam is a De-Klak which is a daughter of their national winner from Alencon NFC in 2008.

This was the hens third race and she was the first pigeon home each time. This was their last race as regrettably they are leaving the sport due to moving to Norfolk where hopefully they will have a quieter life and maybe Ralph can take up fishing. The winning hen will now be living with our good friend Chris Patmore. A good ending to a long very enjoyable time in the sport. In second place are the Jutla Brothers from London and I had a very interesting conversation with Jack Jutla, not only about their race but about young bird losses in general. The Jutla loft has not been exempt from these losses but a strict training regime only leaves the strongest and as jack told me, he’s not worried about the ones that don’t come back. The young hen they timed is a NFC gold ring young bird sent sitting on eggs who’s sire is a direct Van Den Bulck while the dam is a daughter of Rudy from Gaby Vandenabeele. Jack told me she was going to Guernsey with the BICC as she was now on a small baby and was even keener, so hopefully it turned out well for them. 

At 3rd section with the young bird is Mark Bulled from Harlow with his single entry. No mean feat these days to have the confidence to send and get one up in the result, here’s what mark told me; “I'm not a fan of YB channel racing , with no time or interest in the dark system, so had no real desire to send. However, I had a young red hen that had been in the first two to my loft every race feeding a baby and she was in really good feather, very keen so I decided to enter just one. When the forecast gave east winds I pulled her out and in the end plumped for another hen that had been very consistent but not a front runner. She was feeding the same youngster as were two other hens so there was a bit of motivation there and she was tight in the feather. With a half-hearted eye on the loft and a more interested eye on the test match I saw a young bird drop in around about my expected time, but was not sure if it was one from the race earlier in the day but I was pleased to see it was my sole NFC entry. Her Sire is my Darkie cock winner of 4 x 1st M11 when I was interested in sprint inland racing, his sire being 8th LSECC and 9th BICC. Her Dam is bred by Dave Waterhouse bred direct from his “Ace pair” I have only bred three from this hen and they have all won for me.

Fourth section are Trevor and Adrian Wilson from Manuden who said  “We are Trevor and Adrian Wilson, a father and son partnership. We race from Adrian's back garden which is located in Manuden, near Bishops Stortford. We are very small back garden fanciers with limited time as we both work long hours. The bird in question is a blue cock known as 'drop tail' as he has one tail flight that hangs very slightly down. He was sent sitting 12 day eggs on the floor of the young bird section. This was his seventh race of the season and was bred in the first round. A home bred youngster and by that I mean that we don't follow fashionable strains but have been putting top pigeons together for 11 years to produce our own strain. His sire 'Mr Bussehart' and in his pedigree there are 26 x 1st clubs and 12 x 1st feds just in his grandparents. The dam is a granddaughter of our Koopman stock cock 'Verius' winner of 5 times in top 100 with between 10,000 and 18,000 competing. A full brother of ''Drop tail' was sent to a new starter Matthew Mason, he has won 2 x 1st clubs and 2 x 5th section in the Lincolnshire South Road Fed with up to 3,500 birds a week. We bred Mat 6 youngsters and 5 of them have scored - Well done Matt” At 5th section are Andrew Marney and Lisa Howard, here’s what Andrew had to say on what was his first YB race of the year “My first bird was bred from a Staff Van Reet from Alan Mark and a Jos Thone pigeon from Paul Kendall of Wantage. My 40 strong young bird team were prepared only for the young bird National as I didn't race them in my club and started training them just two weeks before the National race. They had a total of 11 training tosses up to 50 miles before facing the 176-mile race and out of the 40 sent I got 13 on the day, and over the next 2 days I had 32 back, so all in all I was pleased with their performance. I know a lot of people had young bird sickness this year and there were many losses, I have developed a system that keeps the sickness away and over the last four years I appear now to have eliminated any sickness from the youngsters that I breed. The youngsters that I have raced and trained have been healthy from weaning and when they returned from the race all looked in great condition. I believe my first youngster although it did not win the section was the first bird into Kent.”

In at first section with the old hens is P Jackson and son from Bromley, previous national winners and following a good race with the BICC old hens previous week. Here’s what Lee told me “just got this photo before I sent this keen celibate hen back to Guernsey in the BICC this week as she raced consistent as a baby, going all the way to Yelverton. Her full sister that year being well up in the combine. On the dam side she is great granddaughter to “CHAMPION 45” Jan Huybregt cock and another granddaughter was 6th open BICC last week. On the dam side she goes back to the Van loon (Planet Bros) lines which always do well for me when it's tough so let’s see how she gets on this week at Guernsey” At 2nd section is Kevin Foster from Longfield hill, with a two year old blue hen sent on a small baby. She has been a very good hen from a youngster when she won the fed by 30 ypm and the joint venture, in a head wind. As a yearling she won 42nd National Le Mans, 24th National Guernsey and in this corresponding race last year with the NFC she was 1st section 5th national. She is from a double grandson of “kanibal” and was bred at the stock loft by Tim Rodwell who manages the joint stock team. At 3rd and 5th section are fanciers that more than hold their own in the longer distance International races. First is A Anis and son and Alan timed a yearling hen sent sitting chipping eggs, this follows on from her 39th open BBC Bordeaux a few weeks previously. Bred by Billy Fox of Newcastle, originating from Colin Fagg stock. Forth section is J and J Brady, the father and son partnership both called John, timed a Jan Aarden hen that came in as a stray, and knowing the owner Dave Coomes who lived locally, he gifted them the bird. She had flown in 6 channel races this year so had obviously thrived in the hard work. At 5th section is F Knowles and Son, Simon clocked a blue hen which was sitting eggs. Originating from Leir market £10 spend its grand sire a grizzle cock (the original Leir Market import) won around 20 x 1sts and although of sprint bloodlines he also produced birds responsible to score up to Barcelona!

Section Q

Looking at the early times on the NFC website it appeared to be a relatively easy race, with the early birds making over 50mph. Unfortunately, the bright sun that bathed the rest of the country and the helping wind did not reach Cornwall on the day and the Duchy was shrouded in a cover Cornish mizzle with visibility down to as little as 20yds in places. In fact I did hear the day being described as being “as dark as a sack down here”! This being the case it was a really hard, difficult race with nothing being timed on the day.  Fortunately, on Sunday, the fog lifted giving a clearer brighter day and at 08:37, Trevor Jenkin of Penzance, timed his blue cheq cock to win 1st Section Q, recording 398ypm. Trevor, one of life’s real gentlemen, was absolutely delighted when we spoke and he look huge pride in describing the story behind his winning pigeon. Last year, Trevor organised a Charity Auction to help his great nephew Harvey. The Helping Harvey Campaign, was launched in aid of this brave young man who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and was in need of a life changing operation called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to aid his mobility.  In support of this sale, Trevor purchased a pigeon that had been donated by Alan Parker of Clitheroe and such was Alan’s generosity, that he asked Trevor if he would like to wait until the end of the season, when Alan would send Trevor a matched pair. This was agreed and the wonderful end to this story, is that the pair supplied by Alan, went on to breed Trevor’s section winner. The pair in question was a cock bird containing the Jan Aarden lines of Nico Volken and Leo Pronk and a hen from Alan’s No 1. Delbar cock when paired to a granddaughter of Little Miss Titmus. When I asked how the bird was prepared, Trevor immediately expressed his gratitude to his friend and club mate, John Angwin. Trevor explained that he has not been in the best of health in the last few years, having had a stroke three years ago and also having suffered a few minor strokes since then. Therefore, being unable to drive or train his pigeons, John has stepped in, travelling out of his way every morning to collect Trevor’s young birds to take them for a daily training toss. This daily regime has been supplemented with a few good stretches on the training transporter with Rodney Kemp and Joe Nucifero, to whom Trevor also expressed his thanks. Without doubt I have found this my most heart-warming and satisfying report of the year. A victory for the small team man, a victory for generosity, friendship and human kindness. I can honestly write that I have never had so many people contact me to make sure that I had a section winner contact details.  So, from all your friends in Cornwall Trevor, well done mate!

Section W

Section winner in the old hens race is Derek Jones of Wrexham. Derek had five birds home in a short time and the sire is from the Duke of Rutland X Florengles. The 2 year old hen has had 4 positions in sections of National racing. Mr & Mrs Shane Lewis won the young bird section with a hen sitting a 3 day youngster. Her breeding is Scammel and Peplo X John Wheatcroft Herman Cousters and they also took 5th position. In 3rd was P.C & D Hughes who timed a natural dark hen whose sire is a Van Den Brauan from S Malinson of Whitby crossed with a van Loon. The dam is a Steffan Lambrecht from J.P.S Lofts. The partnership timed a second young bird to take 4th position. In 3rd section was the partnership John & Mark Hughes with the best of Harry D & D Boylan crosses Syndicate Llofts. They have had a good first season with the NFC winning 9th Sect 85th Open Coutances 6651b and 8th Sect 198th Open Messac 7016b.