by Drew Callan, Press Officer

Carentan 2014

Ron & Nigel Dennett - 1st open Carentan

Good morning folks. Well we waited a long time for it and it was over in blur of feathers and ETS bleeps or the clunk of a T3 hammering down.  The first race saw a magnificent send of 9,400 birds to Carentan and it showed the faith the members have in the committee and race team, and we would like to thank all who sent as we are very aware that there were other options that weekend. Of course members had a car to compete for as well courtesy of Kevin Godfrey and the provisional winner of that is sitting in the top ten of the open result at this point in time and if it stays that way it will be a pigeon that thoroughly deserves to win it.

At basketing the conversation was about the likelihood of birds being liberated on Saturday, with many of the opinion that it would be Sunday morning before we saw the strings cut with sunshine and a strong helping wind. No one seemed concerned about this and there was indeed no reason to be as the state of the art transporters were well stocked with Vanrobaeys corn and the birds were in experienced and safe hands so the members had every right to feel assured that their birds were sat safe and secure enjoying the views around Carentan. As it turned out our race controller Paul Clements ruled out a Saturday lib and rightly so given the weather we experienced across the country during the course of Saturday. Sunday dawned as an altogether better prospect and the race team had the strings cut and flaps dropped at 9.00 and a very fast race was on the cards. Personally I feel that the birds that orientated immediately after liberation were the ones that went on to top their sections and take the lead open positions, any mistake made at this point would see birds go wide and over as the cavalry charge up country got underway. For my loft this proved to be the case as I sat and watched all my entries drop back out of the north within the space of 35 minutes, and this was to give an indication of where the lead birds would be. History now shows that the northern members rode the bit of luck that the wind brought and filled their boots with a display of quality fanciership that saw them dominate the top end of the result. Across the club members were getting multiple early arrivals as can be evidenced in the 1900 first verifications that were notified, and over all returns were excellent at around the 90% mark going on the returns of those I spoke to.

Top of the tree for the opening race of the campaign and claiming 1st Open and 1st Section K  on a velocity of 1926 ypm is the father and son partnership of Ron and Nigel Dennett who race in to Meden Vale which is located 270 miles from Carentan. This partnership has been flying a top national pigeons for a few years now and must have thought that their day would never come as they have come close on a few occasions recently but it all came together on Sunday for them. They have built up a bit of a reputation for flying a very good hen at national  level and I wrongly assumed that the bird to finally deliver the national win was one, but after chatting to Ron it was confirmed the winning bird was out of the cocks loft and is an ultra consistent bird for the partnership and he also let slip that a she is responsible for racing the cocks and Nigel is responsible for the hens he has told Nigel that if he slips up again and they get a cock in the clock first then he will be asked to work his months notice. Mind you, as this is the first time that a cock has beaten a hen in any channel race in 6 years I think Nigel’s position is secure for now. The bird that took top honours is a 5 year old cock known as ‘The Eighty Six Cock’, a proper powerhouse of a pigeon with a bag of top performances to his name and given the speed they were travelling he used his experience to quickly find his line and then hold it over the course of the race. He was only being sent as a preparation race for Saintes but no one told him that. He is bred from a Peter Van Osch cock who Ron reckons is the father of the loft having directly bred or been involved in the breeding of their big hitting national hens over the past few years. The cock was paired to a cheq hen who in turn was bred directly from a cock the partnership purchased from Cosworth Stud.

The mighty ‘Eighty Six Cock’ 1st Open Carentan

Ron races 15 cocks on what can only be called a chaos system, with them being raced back to a few waiting hens made up mostly of stock hens. The motivation here being that the first cocks back get the pick of the hens and it may be that the later ones have to share the attentions of a hen. This keeps the cocks on their toes and certainly gives them something to think about and I have no doubt that it keeps their minds on the job. Nigel takes responsibility for the hens and as I said earlier it is their performances that have been the backbone of the loft, including being three times 3rd open Bordeaux at 550 miles plus. The 32 hens are raced to a section with 8 widowhood boxes that has old stock cocks in them…they are trapped in to here after exercise and on a Saturday, but live in a separate section during the week where they are boxed up away from their race section to keep them keen, which it clearly does. After exercise in the morning they are trapped in to the nest box section and the waiting cocks, but as there are only 8 boxes the hens are ultra keen and you will find 3 or 4 in each box. They are then carried across the garden to their section and boxed up until the next exercise period. The hens have food and water in front of them at all times and this gives them the fuel to exercise hard and long each morning.

The partnership do not train old birds prior to racing, this comes from the experiences gained by Nigel in the 15 years he worked with race horses. In that time he was taught never to gallop the horses at exercise, but to keep them at a canter and preserve their energy for when it was needed, and this was transferred over to the birds, hence the lack of training and a focus on getting them fit around home. This season the team missed the first two races as the birds were still being worked around home, them the team were raced celibate for their first two races. On the night before Carentan basketing the cock team were given their hens and bowls at 9.30 pm so they would rest as it got dark and  they were basketed early next morning to go to the national, and it clearly worked.

The partnership would like to mention a young man called Luke who knocked on their door one day and asked to see the pigeons and from that start he is now a part of the fixtures and Ron says he has to kick him out when it’s dark. Luke is only 11 years old and hopefully this passion will stay with him as he gets older. Ron would also like to thank Colin Dixon for all his help and support as Ron doesn’t drive so is reliant on Colin to take the birds to some of the marking stations and he reckons the partnership couldn’t compete in the number of nationals that they do with the help they receive from Colin, and Ron reckons that he is alright considering he is a Geordie!!

Home of the national winner


Taking the bridesmaid position in both the open and section k and only 4 yards shy of the top spot we have the consistent channel loft of Fred Ellis. Fred puts a lot of time in to the birds and this is added to by the fact that they are away from his house and the convenience that comes with it. The winning pigeon is a 3 year old Mealy Hen flown natural and was sitting 9 days on the day of marking. It has been to 2 inland training races this season with the Notts & Derby Border Federation in preparation for the channel campaign, starting on the 26th April  from Windrush 104miles and then the 3rd  May Newbury 130 miles. It had only been entered in one previous Channel Race in 2013 from Midlands National Fougeres taking 8hours 10 minutes. Fred sent 10 birds to Carentan and all were clocked on the day with his fancied entry a 2nd Section winner from Messac in 2012 clocked in 10hrs 42mins beaten again by R & N Dennett, so history repeating itself for the Ellis loft.

It was bred on the sire side from a Mealy Pied Staf Van Reet gift bird from Steve Marsh many years ago what called Bandit. Unfortunately due to a record keeping error the dam side is a mystery although Fred confesses to usually keeping immaculate records for all birds for more years than he can remember. The dam was a Blue Hen late bred with an old ring. If it had been any other bird for over 40 years ago he would have full records of the breed and every race entered and time clocked. The considered belief is it may be bred from the pigeon a Blue Hen  referred to above and a Blue Cock that Fred  believe is the best Channel bird that he has owned never to have won a Section prize that was his 4th entry clocked from Carentan.

Fred Ellis holding 2nd open and 2nd Section K

Claiming 3rd Open and topping Section H is the loft of T and B Graham from Milton Keynes. This was a very good bird given the wind and the location and it is fair to say that section winners are a rare thing down in that corner of the section. The star performer is a two year old widowhood cock who is home bred from a pair of Walter Docx birds that the partnership sourced direct. They really rate this family of pigeons and have been obtaining them from Walter since 1997. This is a small team set up with only 10 cocks being raced on widowhood, and they are not pit on this until they are two year old and they are kept calm and steady as yearlings to let them gain a bit more experience before having to step up their performances once on widowhood. The birds are fed SS Seeds super widowhood mix and they seem to be doing alright on it.

T and B Graham, 1st Section H

In 4th and 8th spot and topping Section F we have a quality performance from Cosmin Talas who has been putting together a top level collection of performance bloodlines that have been serving him well over the past 3 or 4 seasons. However in January of this year he took the difficult decision to part with pigeons due to personal circumstances and having a young family. He sold the stock birds and some of the race team. He gave away one of the lofts and the new stock loft was converted it into a playroom for his children. Naturally, he found it  very hard to let his good racers go and thank to his friends' insistence to not let all the pigeons go as he would regret it he kept a few  of his race team. The pigeons didn't fly out for about 3 weeks, while he was on holiday in April and then after he came back he started letting them out and gave them 2 club races and then sent them to Carentan with the NFC.  The loft had a very good race on Sunday and Cosmin wants to say a big thanks to all the people who looked after the pigeons and the ones who organised the race and he is without a doubt that the National Flying Club is the best Club in the country. His one regret is having not seen my first and second pigeon come, having found them in the loft thank goodness for ETS. His first pigeon is a 2y old cock bred from a son of one of the best long distance hens in Holland and a daughter of 1st International winner paired with double national winner. He was a very consistent yearling, winning 2nd club last year when he took the first 10 in the club. He was the 4th pigeon from Messac with the NFC last year and he finished in the first 100 in the Open.The loft’s second pigeon is a 2y old cock bred from a daughter of 2nd International winner. So far this team of pigeons have won 7 first sections and three 2nd sections in the National with old birds, so expect to hear more from this young man in the future.

Cosmin Talas, winner of Section F and 2 birds in the top 10.

Next up claiming 5th Open and 2nd Section F we have a seasoned professional in Nigel Finch. This cock is from a pair selected by R Lowe to breed national performance pigeons, so thank you Roger. He is similarly bred to the great racer /breeder fast as Lightening and showed his upcoming for by claiming 4th spot in the club from Exeter the week before and this booked him a space in the basket for his first trip across the water. He is raced on a variation of Roundabout, with alight feed in the morning with a solid feed at night, with the loft using good quality, but not always expensive corn. The race team are exercised twice daily with a few training chucks before the first race and very little afterwards. He would like to pass on his congratulations to the section winner and his thanks to the marking team at Steventon.

Nigel Finch

Topping Section B and making a bit of noise in the top 10 at 6th Open for the short drop lofts we have the loft of Wearn Brothers 1 and Neilson who fly in to Ramsdean. Despite trying a voice mail and a text I have been unable to track any of the partnership down, so if Jimmy reads this could he get in contact so I can give his performance the credit it deserves.

Next on the result we have a truly household name showing their class to claim 3rd section and 7th Open, the legendary Pearson and Dransfield. Frank started racing with his late brother in law Philip Dransfield in 1959 and continued up to his death a few years ago. In that time they cultivated an all conquering family of Busschaerts that were phenomenally successful. In the past few years Frank has brought in selected top birds to cross in to his family for racing. The 1st section winner today is a first cross Busschaert x Marcelis hen with previous form, having topped the section last year from Cholet with The National Flying Club and this gave Frank the confidence to make her his car nom and at the time of going to press she is the first nominated bird on the result so fingers crossed that she will secure him the Hartwells sponsored car, I should think he will be wanting a soft top convertible with room for a 10 bird basket. Frank doesn’t compete in club racing as much now and puts all his energies in to classic and national racing across the channel. He has a small team of birds that he has set aside with the sole intention of competing in the national programme with and he races these on the full widowhood system. He says he is still learning the finer points of racing hens as up until Philips death they just raced widowhood cocks. Frank would like to thank his sister Margaret and his niece Jane, without whom he feels he could not continue racing. They are a great help all year round and together as a team they clearly work well as the results are proving. Frank would also like to thank the teams at the marking station for seeing to his entries and also to the convoyers.


Frank Pearson of Pearson and Dransfield Provisional Hartwell Car winner

In 9th open and continuing the assault by the northern lofts we have the loft of Jim Shaw and son.  The pigeon bringing the glory this time is Blue Chequer Cock GB2013Z30883, bred from a Willy Thas Cock from Gerry Clements in Manchester, Alis Lad (Thanks Gerry) who is also Sire to 1st MNFC gold ring race from Falaise. Dam is from Micky Betts, being a daughter of his 1st MNFC Le Ferte Bernard, King Willy. The cock was raced to coast as young bird, and down to Bedhampton this year prior to dipping his toes in to channel racing. The loft do not carry a lot birds and this season they are only racing 13 old birds that all have to work hard to be there, with 11 of them going to Carentan, unfortunately  at the time of writing 3 are still coming. Despite the small numbers carried this loft is not afraid to go toe to toe with the big boys and they are previous winners of MNFC from Thorness, and their ambition now is to win the NFC. This year they chose to stop using supplements, and to be honest, the pigeons seem better for it. They feed the birds on the Matador range of pigeon corns that are used as and when to meet the needs and workload of the birds.

He’s The Lad 9th open for J Shaw and Son

Rounding of the top 10 we have the loft of Mr Neville Proctor, a loft with a great tradition and reputation for channel racing up in to the Staffordshire potteries.  The pigeon responsible this time for the 10th open position is a mix of old and newe bloodlines that Nev has crossed to improve on what he has in the shed. The sire is inbred to the ‘Good Blauw of 79’ which traces its lineage back to Harold Hamplets ‘Good Blue’. In to this tried and tested family Nev has crossed in a hen that contains the blood of the old Tournier cock x ‘The South African Hen’ who originates from the lofts of Johan De Jager in Pretoria. This mix of reliable bloodlines came to the fore on a day when the lead pack had to keep their nerves and quickly find their line and this will be one to watch for the future.

Nev Proctor holding his 10th Open from Carentan

Around the Sections

Section  A

Topping the section we have the family partnership of S and L Harris who race in to Havant in Hampshire. Their winning bird is a blue pied hen and a Janssen/van loon that was home bred from their own family that they have bred down from pigeons originally purchased from the Ponderosa back  in 1997 and they have been performance selected over the last 17 years. The partnership have been successful widowhood flyers for many years but decided to change to roundabout this year so that they could race their hens past the young bird stage. They have quickly gotten to grips with the system as can be seen from having topped the section on a very fast day that would have seen a lot of the coastal birds being taken over the top and up country in the stampede. The partners would like to congratulate the winner and section winners and thank Steve for altering the loft for them. They would also like to pass on their thanks to the NFC for the condition of birds on return from the race and all their friends for their messages.

The brains behind the Section winning S and L Harris

Second section is the loft of C.T. Ayling who also flies in to Havant but I have been unable to obtain a contact number for them.

Runner up in Section B we have the ever present Bartlett &Jones, with Robbie Jones at the helm. 2nd section B again being 2nd from this race last year and 2nd section in the BBC National from Messac last week.This years pigeon is a yearling chequer cock flown Natural Hood sitting 3 eggs at 10 days old, refusing to take a box he always makes a nest in a cosy corner on the floor and this time his nest is in the corridor on the floor behind the corn bin and wont let any birds near the nest.He is a Andreas Drapa cross being bred from a direct son of "FLITZER" mutiple winner in the thousands winning a car winning 9x 1st and 1st Olympiad champion and then sold for 400,000 euro.  1st 5431 birds - 1st 3878 birds - 1st 6970 birds - 1st 5508 birds - 1st 5370 birds - 1st 7150 birds - 1st 1551 birds1st 1193 birds - 1st 3878 birds - 1st 5431 birds - 1st 3019 birds - 2nd 11,185 birds beaten by loft mate "CARL" and 2nd 7395 birds beaten again by "CARL" another winner of a car and 1st Olympiad champion and sold for 500,000 euro. This new family of Drapa birds have hit well this year for Rob as only a couple of weeks ago a Drapa cock won over £1000and winning the Car nom in the Central Southern Classic and when going to press Rob reports that he has just won on the weekend 1st section 4th open Tours national with the BICC with another Drapa cross J.V.D.Bosch .The dam of the 2nd section B is a multiple winner and dam of 2x 1st Federation winners from their J.V.D Bosch family based around their  multiple national winning family that have won before now the NFC from Nantes and a car , the first 4 in the BICC national from Falaise and the BBC national from Poitiers. She is also dam of 2x 1st section winners at national level and now retired from racing this year due to a bad hawk attack last year when she came home from a race badly injured and will now be put to stock considering only one or two birds being bred from her a year with a big percentage scoring in races .Rob Jones races on his own now due to his uncle Fred Bartlett passing away many years ago now but kept the partnership name going. Rob feeds his own mixes of corns made up from Versele Laga & Marimans that is based on the old 1-2-3 Bosmolen system and all birds are trained twice a week normally from the east against the wind from between 30 & 40 miles in the evening if Rob manages to finish work by 6pm or by Tony Wareham who lives locally and has been very ill of late but now on the road to recovery and trains to Bognor Regis but most of the time Robs birds get trained from Fontwell by Nigel Langstaff so a big thanks from Rob to the both of them. Even though Robs race program is west and south training from the east normally keeps them away from the Hawk attacks as when training from the west the hawks hit almost 100% of the time. All birds are given the Aviform products during the racing season to keep them healthy with no other treatments needed to keep them in good form and seems to help the birds recover and race longer in to the season with most birds flying every week and doing well on their  8th - 9th and even 10th race across the channel as down south there is a big race every week with the Classic - BICC - BBC and the NFC not much club is normally done but Rob did send 2 birds to Fougeres for a money race in the Solent fed race winning 1st club on the same day as this Carentan national race.

One of the pin ups of the south coast - Rob Jones

Section C now, and the spoils go to the loft of G Glaze, who races in to the picturesque countryside of Shaftesbury in Dorset.  Graham has his pigeons at his old family childhood home and has to put in an extra amount of effort to travel from where he now lives  but he does it nonetheless which makes the section win all the more sweeter.

Runner up in the section is the loft of R Hooper but I have been unable to get in contact using the phone number I have on my database so if they could get in touch I will include their details in a later article.

Section D

Topping the section is the latest in a long line of fanciers from a famous racing and showing background, namely David Thresher. Racing in partnership as Thresher & Stoddart, the loft topped this strongly contested section flying in to Minehead, a town that can never claim to be on the golden mile. David Thresher is a 4th generation pigeon fancier and is the grandson of the famous Graham & Gwen Thresher who were renowned for their Olympic and Blackpool winning Delbars. He is the son of the infamous Roland Thresher Showman, grandfather and professional fisherman (David gives him some stick but he is the main reason that David has got the family of birds that he has today). The section winner, GB 11 N 34067, is a chequer hen bred by Robbie Hooper. She was raced on the natural system was racing back to a pair of 5 day old young birds so they motivation was clearly there to have her up with the leaders. David admits to being very surprised to see both birds sent come home so well and in very god time given where the lead open birds were and the speeds the convoy generated. David sent the hen the previous week to Carentan and she was the lofts first bird then also. David is putting this success down to a little hard work, the fact that Minehead pigeon club race with the west of England south Road combine and over the last two seasons this has been educating the birds to pull out of up to 4000 birds on a weekly basis and this is proving invaluable experience for national racing.  As a relatively new flyer to the nationals, David would like to thank all the all the people who have mentored him and offered endless advice and gifted bird that have helped to create a small family that are working well.

The Thresher team

In 2nd Section we have the loft of Rod Wilson who is flying small team of broken out birds in to the beautiful Somerset countryside near Watchet. Rod moved down from Scotland last year in Late May and brought a small kit of young birds with him to get started in the area, however the lady who owned to land where the birds were located got too upset at seeing the carcasses of the pigeons that had been killed by the local sparrowhawk so Rod had to relocate the loft again and breakout the birds again in January of this year. He races 8 old birds on the natural system to help bond them to the locality and the plan is to give them a bit of channel experience this year and build on that. The 2nd section bird is a red grizzle yearling hen flying to a big youngster. She is of the old Bricoux Sion bloodlines and her father was bred by Dr Jim Salmond in Scotland who Rod would like to thank. The loft is made totally from GRP Fibreglass, as that is Rods business, and is easy to maintain as well as being vermin proof. I have no doubt that when Rod gets established he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Section E

This is the section with the reputation for being the big sender and a very difficult one to top because of its breadth, but each race someone has to come out on top of the heap and earn the bragging rights. For the opening race of the season the honour of 1st Section E goes to the husband and wife team of D & G Thomas who race in to Chesham in Buckinghamshire, nestled within steeply sloping wooded hillsides. This is what they had to say about their section winner. We are absolutely delighted with this win! The pigeon will be named 'Lucky Star'. He is a 100% Peter Van De Merwe. His father is a son of 'Miss Lucky' and his mother is from a granddaughter to 'Joy' and a brother to 'Maserati'. He is also related to 'Bolt' our section C winner in the Fougeres young bird race in 2011. 'Bolt's' father is the grandfather to 'Lucky star's' mother. He was sent to the race sitting on eleven day old eggs. I have been racing pigeons for thirty two years and these are the best pigeons I have ever owned. On the day of the race we lost over three minutes because he arrived home with another stray pigeon which was probably from the same race. This dark grizzle kept him flying around the loft and at one point even disappearing from sight for a while! You can imagine the frustration we felt because we knew he was a good pigeon. Many thanks to 'The National Flying Club', as the birds arrived home in excellent condition. It was so nice for David Holt the Chairman of our local club, the 'Great Missenden Club', to come to our house to congratulate us in the afternoon. It is a brilliant club with some very strong flyers. In the photograph Gemma is holding 'Lucky Star' and Dexter is holding 'Bolt'. I would like to thank Mick Carrick for getting in touch with the section winners for me as I had no phone number for them.

D and G Thomas who topped the mighty Section E from Carentan.

2nd Section E went to Kevin Rowe, who told me: 'I fly my birds on the widowhood system (cocks only), racing in the Croxley Green club in the Inter Counties Fed and the UBI Combine. I do not race many birds, this year just thirteen widowhood cocks, and have three stock pairs and breed no more than twenty-four young birds. The pigeon that was second section has scored numerous club and fed positions inland including 1st fed Blandford. It is a Vandenabeele bred from birds obtained from D and J Hawkins of Doncaster. This particular pair have bred numerous good birds for me. In fact every cock bird bred from them has won. The sire is of Golden Gaby lines and the dam is a grand daughter of Shadow. My birds are fed on Versele-Laga mixtures all year round. The birds are not trained after the first race.'

Kevin Rowe

Section G

Topping the section is the consistent loft of Chris Harding. Chris clocked in a blue Heremans Ceusters based bird to bring him the glory on a very fast racing day. This family of birds has built up a reputation for being phenomenal sprint/middle distance birds back in Belgium and they are now quietly gathering a reputation for top drawer performances in the national and classic races in England.

Chris Harding holding 1st Section G from Carentan.

Runner up is a man who has quietly carved out a reputation in national and classic racing over the past few years, Mr Stuart Wilcox. Stu has a good nose for a pigeon and has been amongst the first to source winning pigeons from a range of up to the minute but under the radar winning families on the continent. The bird claiming first blood in the 2014 national campaign is a 3 year old Fran's Zwols x Van Dyck cock that has a number of prizes to his name, he was also 1st Club 3rd Federation Poole 1618 birds 3 weeks ago and is on his 3rd channel crossing of the year. His father is Royal Blue, a unique bred pigeon being from the King of Rekkem 1st NPO Rekkem 19,409b, 2nd Boxtel 11,887b, 7th Duffel 8866 birds etc and his full sister who won 3rd NPO Rekkem 19,409b, 6th 11,192b, 10th 9717b etc both being from the 575 and Queen Mother. Royal Blue was gifted to Stuart by Fran's and is one of only 4 birds ever bred this way. Dam of the hen is bred by Stuart,s other good Dutch friend Raymond Moleveld and is bred from a brother of Dirk Van Dyck Kannibal when paired to a direct dtr of Den Bourges who won 2nd Nat Bourges 40,415 birds and is again a brother to Kannibal.

Stu Wilcox and Son 2nd Section G

Section H

Runner up spot goes to the consistent national loft of Andy Smith who flies in to Wellingborough and who is always kicking about in the national races and usually up near the front in the section. Andy sets his stall out for these races and his hard work and focus is paying off.  In this race Andy had 2 birds on the bounce, being half brothers so the race conditions obviously suited this family. Both cocks are bred from the lofts Mickey Locke x Matt Rake Van Breman pigeons. This cross has produced some truly excellent national performers for the Smith Loft. He had 2 pigeons drop together and they are half brothers, bred from his Micky Locke x Matt Rakes Bremens. These stock birds have bred him some great national pigeons to date.


Andy Smith Runner up in Section H

Section I

Taking top honours is the Redditch loft of Jones & Adams who are no strangers to success at this level. On this occasion the section winner is a 4 year old blue Pied Cock called Wife’s Choice, and he is a Walter Docx x Lemans and is bred for the job having club, federation and national performance birds in his immediate parentage. This cross has bred quite a few good, honest birds for the partnership. The grandsire was hand picked at the Docx loft by their good friend Les Pinfield from Stratford upon Avon who I know personally to be a very good judge of a pigeon and an incredible racer himself.

One half of the Jones and Adams team


Taking 2nd Section is E N Murray and Sons who fly in to sunny North Oxfordshire. This is a loft that has always dabbled with the notion of national racing and have had some success at it, but they never really took the leap of faith needed by sending a sound team to the nationals and sacrificing club racing. However, all that has changed this year as the remaining and youngest partner, Buzz, has stepped up to the plate after the departure of elder brother Ray to become a professional pigeon fancier in The Forest Of Dean. Buzz has decided to fully test out the race team at the highest level and it will be survival of the fittest. He came oh so close at this attempt and hopefully it will spur him on to continue competing with a strong team in the nationals. On this occasion the 2nd section winner was bred by his good friend and mentor Dave Parsons. It is a cross of Dave’s old family based on the Babbington Vandenbosch x Braspenning birds which Dave invested heavily in with his first communion money and on the dams side it is birds bred by Mr Fred Barnett at top back garden loft fancier from Leamington Spa who cultivated a Janssen x Hofkens family.


Mick Jones, Bridesmaid again in Section J


Section J

Taking bridesmaid’s position is the Telford lift of Mick Jones. The  winning bird is a Blue widowhood Vandenabeele Cock (Blue Act) he was bred by Keith Gaut of Telford his sire being Class Act and the dam Fatima (now in Ireland) they originate from Alun Jones Red Star Lofts via John Richard of Whitchurch who won the NFC gold ring race in 2006 with his grandma (Classic Gold). He has won many prizes in both club and federation including 1st club 1st Shropshire Fed Blandford 1,163 birds as a yearling and 1st Alveley 2 bird 1st Wolverhampton Federation Frome 4,614 birds this year.

Section L

Moving on now to the last of the sections. This section, with its easterly neighbour, has traditionally been a staunch national supporter and regardless of the distance the members will step up and support with a healthy send of birds. This race was to be no different and the section was well represented amongst the 9,400 birds in the convoy.  Claiming top spot is the well established channel loft of Wignall and Barnie. The section winner is a two year Blue widowhood cock having his first channel race of the year. He was the lofts best yb in 2012 being first to the loft on four occasions winning two 1sts and last year he had two channel races with the NFC and had respectable position in the section from Carentan and Messac. His bloodlines originate mainly from Gordon Rigg of Congleton from his renowned Staff Dusarduyns family The sire being from Gordon’s ‘Dax Cock’ having been 1st  sect L  10th Open NFC when he was paired to a daughter from the Golden Couple 5 x 1st section "L". The dam’s side is a daughter from a direct Emile Denys cock from Express Barcelona x Barones when paired to yet another dtr from the Golden Couple. Incidentally its nest mate won 4th sect L" in the yb NFC from Fougeres 356 mis in 2012 when only 6 birds made it on the day in the section. The partnership wish to thank all the many friends who rang up to congratulate them.

Wignall and Barnie, still shocked at winning the section in such a fast race.

Runner up was the loft of Mr Victor Dace who flies in to Stockport. Again, I was unable to contact him as there is no phone number for him on the database. If Mr Dace could contact me I would like to highlight the performance of the bird in a far from straightforward race.

Right folks, so that is the first race of the 2014 campaign put to bed. Some of us got to sip the ambrosia whilst the rest of us had to make do with milk stout or even worse lager. So it’s time to dust ourselves down and start all over again. If the winner of the Hartwells sponsored car does indeed prove to be the legendary Pearson and Dransfield then it will give heart to the rest of us that a loft up in Barnsley that sends a handful of birds can win the car. If we are all being honest I think we expected it to be won a lot nearer the south coast but it’s good to spread the wealth a bit and we should all bear that in mind when we are entering our birds at Cholet and in the future.

Outside of the top 10 I would like to mention the result put up by Eamon Kelly of the Lloyd and Kelly partnership. I put his birds through at the Carentan marking at Steventon and each of the 27 birds entered was in immaculate condition and I would have gladly found a perch for any of the hens. It was a treat and a masterclass to have put that team through so it came as no surprise to see the loft peppering the result with early birds, including 4 in the first 10 of his section and all four in the top 45 against 9,000 plus birds. Eamon works hard for the sport and it is good to see him getting something back. My granny had a saying that ‘some people are born good looking and some people are born lucky’. I will leave to you to decide.

That’s it for me for this week. I look forward to speaking to some of you after the Cholet race and another  lucky fancier will be driving away another Hartwells sponsored car. Best of luck to you all. As always, or 01926 817796.

Drew Callan