by Drew Callan, Press Officer

Messac 2016

For the second race of the 2016 NFC programme the birds were at Messac, a distance of 380 miles or so to the middle of the club radius. The weather once more dictated things along the line of flight and with very poor conditions along the line the birds were treated to one more night in France under the care of Trevor and the team. Not to be deterred, Cock Crow Kelly was up and about and doing his homework to try to determine a lib time, and he had the strings cut and birds away at 9.40 on the Sunday morning in to a still, sunny sky. The lack of wind at release was to change to light North Easterly along the course of the race. On any race day the wind direction will be a benefit to some but a burden to others and to be fair any east in the wind will have a big bearing on the outcome and velocities.  I have written before about filling your boots when the factors all fall in to place and favour your neck of the woods and a little bit of luck rubs off on you. But, as I have been told before ‘luck is where preparation meets opportunity’, in other words it takes more than a bit of a helping hand from the weather conditions on the day. In fact, when you read about the national winning bird you will realise that the Pym family had a bit more luck than usual as the winner had been hit by a peregrine over the water on the way home. So, as the race panned out it was clear that the West Country boys filled their boots with style, with only Eddie Bateman up in Birkenhead getting in on the act to stop the Cider Swillers taking all of the top 10 positions.

1st Open NFC Messac

1st Open, 1st Section D

On to the winning pigeon and partnership now, Mr and Mrs Paul and Marilyn Pym and son Richard. They clocked an absolute stonker of a pigeon to claim the top spot in Section D and the national. The yearling blue bar cock came screaming off the water bang on line and hit the back of the shed with a bit of purpose. I will let Paul tell the rest as he is a naturally quiet man who doesn’t say much!!!

First of all we would like to thank all of the kind people for calling around or phoning us on our amazing win, it has been over-whelming, it made me cry with joy.

Second, thank you to all of the committee members and Officers-in-Charge of marking stations around the country, without you good people, us members of the National Flying Club would be lost. Well done, every one of you. In particular I would like to mention the marking team at Kingsteinton, nothing is any trouble to them even providing corn paid for out of their own pocket to ensure the birds could be fed when being basketed. It is no understatement to say that we couldn’t compete without all your efforts.

Third, and more important of than all of the above people, is the Chief Convoyer of the National Flying Club, one of the best in the country by far, and one of the most dedicated for the job.  Well done and thank you and your team.  My birds, under your charge have always come home in good condition.  I know what stick you get Trevor, but it is never from the winners, only from the ones that the wind did not suit on the day of the race.  None of our first 4 birds went for a drink straight away, which proved to me they had a good drink in the crates.  I was the Chief Convoyer for the National Flying Club a few years back, so I know what you have to do to feed and water, well done.

Fourth, I have had pigeons for most of my life, since I was 5 or 6 years old.  By the time I was 14 years old, I would buy corn from the mill, cracked maize, barley and wheat, all mixed together.  My birds in those days still won from 400 500 miles.  That corn cost 2 shillings and 6d per bag.  Now it is £17.75 per bag.  My bird looks no different now than they did then.

Fifth, down to the race.  Having heard of the liberation time, I went on to the Exeter Airport site for the weather report for the day.  It was mist, slow to clear, light Easterly wind, up to 6 miles per hour.  I then looked at the National Flying Club handbook to see what time I would need to get a decent bird.  I kept looking at the clock, hoping that any minute I would get a bird - that would be great! I was looking South down the Exe Estuary towards Exmouth, when I saw a bird up very high near the clouds, going like a rocket, all by itself.  Before I had time to think ‘I wish that was my bird’ he folded up and dropped like a stone, right through  the traps, my heart was thumping, I could tell he was having a go.  About ten minutes after verifying the bird, the text messages started and then the landline, it did not stop, I rang my son, Richard, he was out with his 4 daughters at a horse show.  I said to him to have a look on his phone and see what is happening.   It was not long before he was back at the loft, with the words ‘you are leading the NFC’.  I was speechless for once in my life.  It was many hours later, before we were told that no-one could catch us now.  My heart was racing, what a thrill.

Now to the bird.   A yearling blue cock.  As a young bird, he had no training at all, just flying around the roof and ranging.  One race to Purbeck, 60 miles.  I sent 16 young birds, no training, all home, most club members lost lots of birds.  This year - no training, 4 club races, then straight into the NFC Fougeres race.  He returned well and in good time.  I sent 20 birds and got 19 home.  One weeks rest, then no flying at all.  On the Sunday, 5 days before the Messac race, he was let out with all of the other cocks, morning and night, for one hour.  Bath if he wanted to.  All of my birds exercise well if fed on a light mix, they go off like a kit of young birds.  We had 16 back out of 20 from the race, all in good condition, but 3 had been attacked by hawks on their way home that day, including the winner.  One afternoon the birds were flying around the roof and relaxing, enjoying a bath, a hen sparrow hawk dropped into our garden scattering the birds all over the sky and had pinned down a bird in the bath.  Other Birds hit the house, flying into the windows (one of which died), one hit the pylon wire, which also died. This happens often!!

I keep all different strains of birds.  This bird is from a long line of winners for Richard and myself.  The sire was bred down from a pair of Bob Fenech’s Coormans. The dam was from the House of Aarden, Steve and Leslie Wright.  We race them on my own system, which I call the madness system.  This is my first year on this system and I am very pleased with the - so far.

This is such an honour and one I have been dreaming of all of my pigeon racing life.

Also I would like to thank my wife and family for all of their help and support all of these years.

Daniel Hocking knocking on the door again.

2nd open 1st Section G

Taking runner up spot by a slim 4 YPM we have the ever present Daniel Hocking. I have been doing this job the same length of time as Daniel has been back in pigeons and each year without fail I have written about his performances. Daniel has one single aim in pigeons and that is to win nationals, and he definitely has the right mentality for this with everything being sent to national competitions on a regular basis. Daniel would like to pass on his congratulations to Paul Pym on his winning pigeon another great win in the west.  On the afternoon of the race Daniel was watching the birds being verified on the computer as the race unfolded and realised that he  needed one to be in with a chance and with that his  hen dropped on to the roof and in. She is a full sister to last weeks 10th open provisionally from the BICC race at Alencon. She's bred from the lines of Derek flowers Giessen lines and his Natalie lines. She has been flown lightly with the Devon Cornwall and west Somerset Continental flying club, with this being her first time across the water. He would like to say thanks to all down at the club for their congratulations, they all have a good laugh at the Watchet clock station and now have two section winners in as many races. Thanks to Paul Naum who sorts out what ever needs sorting from corn to clocks to getting the birds to Frome (he just isn’t too hot at getting a round in though).3rd open, 2nd Section DWe have the partnership of Williams and Paterson. I have been unable to contact them on the phone number that I have.4th Open, 3rd Section DWe have the partnership of Jackson and Nash. I have been unable to contact them in time for the report to go to press.

Team Spracklen.5TH Open, 1st section C.

Topping the competitive section C we the consistently high performing loft of Neville and Diana Spracklen. This marks the partnerships 20th section winner, and the little lady to reach this mile stone is a little yearling hen of  De klak cross Southfield Supreme lines. She is the granddaughter of Roger Lowes 'My Little Diamond'. The week before the national she was 4thclub, 9thfederation from Coutance so was fighting fit for this race. She has flown on the roundabout system along with 18 others that they entered for Messac. The partnership clocked four in 9 minutes and had 15 on the day with one the next morning. They would like to say thank you to Eamon Kelly who does a brilliant job as race controller, Diddy Davis and Tony swain who take our pigeons to the marking station. They would also like to congratulate the race winners and all the section winners.

Mr and Mrs Wilkinson and Son6th Open, 4TH Section D.

In 6th open we have the partnership of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson and Son. The partnership clocked a 2 year old cheq cock who was being raced on a semi widowhood system. This system was taught to them by their good friend Dave Lee from Reading, and they would like to acknowledge their thanks for all his help. The bird in question was gifted to them by another successful racing partnership down in that neck of the woods Steve and Lee Luscombe, and to prove the quality of stock the second bird for the Wilkinson team was hatched from an egg that the Luscombe partnership gifted to them. Anyway, the cock that was first home winning 6th open and 4TH Section D  was also the same bird that won the Plymouth Classic Club that duplicates out of the NFC- by 40 minutes from NFC Fougeres and has come again to top the Classic club. On both occasions he also won the ‘100 Club’, so not bad going for the first two races. He has been a consistent bird right through his career and was sent with confidence by the partnership  - and this was rewarded. The partnership would like to say thanks to the Luscombes for providing some excellent birds and to the fanciers in section D who all scored in the open result great flying froma dedicated group of people.7th Open, 2nd Section G.Taking Bridesmaids position we have the Bristol lofts of Stephen Moseley. The bird bringing home the honours this week is a 2 year old widowhood cock that is mostly the old fashioned and reliable Wildermeesch bloodlines that have served Stephen well, with a dash of Frans Zwols brought in to try as a cross. This cock has been the model of consistency all season and has regularly been Stephen’s choice to carry the pools and noms. The week previous to Messac he came well in the CSCFC race and should lift a bit of money for the loft so confidence was high for him to do well and he did not disappoint, and his nest mate was on his tail to be the next bird over the pad. Stephen uses Van Robaeys corn across all the birds and has a health programme based on advise and products from De Weerdt, although he is a big believer in keeping the colony happy rather than having to seek a cure. The loft had a good race with 6/8 and they all came in excellent condition.

2ND Section G for Stephen Moseley.

8th open, 5TH Section D We have the loft of Underwood and Prettejohn.  Mike and Robbie clocked a dark cheq yearling cock from Messac. He was lightly raced as a young bird and this year he only had two inland races at 115 miles and 160 miles before going to the NFC.  His sire is bred by Jimmy Jackson of Widnes from his Red Barcelona lines, and his Dam is  from Louella Pigeon World, being a direct daughter of the Rode Pau X Zuster Valandas and was  selected especially for the partnership to be paired to the Re Barcelona cock.

Back in the winter Mike Hannaford brought his good friend Alan Bates of Hartlepool for a loft visit, Alan particularly liked the cock in question and tried to bring him home. That was a pretty  good bit of  picking Al when are you down in the Midlands? The partnership think it only right to call the pigeon "Hartlepool Al" in appreciation of the masterclass in selection.

The lads are now fully focused on National racing and do not compete in domestic club racing, choosing to use them as opportunities to train the birds. They know , as Sunday proved, that to get a good national bird they need to have the lead birds coming off the water having come across in a straight line from Messac. They know that dog legs eat up dead miles and to this avail they have taken to training from off the water, using the services of a friend who has a fishing boat. They hope that by taking the birds out a few miles in to the sea and liberating them they will have greater confidence and also learn to look out for land marks that will help them race in to the right area. Another bonus according to Mike is that there are much fewer chances of getting a peregrine strike out at sea. When I spoke to Mike he was relaxing on a sun lounger in Corfu, as he said he needed a week away from the stress of racing in partnership and getting beat by Paul Pym but as he said at least he was beaten by a gentleman!!

Auditioning for the next Littlewoods Catalogue!!

9TH Open, 1ST Section L.

Claiming top spot in the far flung section L we have the Birkenhead lofts of Bateman Brothers and son. The loft, under the management of Eddie Bateman had a dream race with 3 birds entered and on the clock in as many minutes to claim 1st, 2nd and 4th section. This I think was the performance of the race and was also commented on by the national winner Paul Pym. The section winner  is a Blue Pied Hen Lefebre Dhanen X Van Reet. This hen raced on roundabout has carded every year it has raced with North Wirral Federation or the West Cheshire Federation. Very consistent hen. Her nest mate was the Batemans first arrival from the last MNFC race from Coutances which figured well in the West Section

Eddie Bateman a big performance on a big day.

The second arrival also raced on roundabout and is from their  old Lefebre Dhanen  family that has served them well over the past 20+ years. She scored well inland with 8th  Fed from 90 miles, 10th  Fed 90 miles, 11th  Fed 194 miles and 29th  Fed 137 miles. The third of the three entries dropped with the 2nd bird but messed about. She too is a Blue Hen, also on roundabout.  This yearling hen is another Dhanen X Van Reet cross and was a good youngster for the partnership last year and to date has had 3rd  Fed 137 miles, 27th  Fed 183 miles and 28th  Amal. This girl will be one for the future I think.

All three birds were jumped from 190 miles to 389 miles and it certainly didn't do them any harm and into a North East Wind. Bateman Bros & Son consists of Eddie (the main man) and His brother Alan and son Jack. Although Jack and Alan don't participate now Eddie still maintains the name. The week before Messac they won the old bird averages in the strong North Wirral Fed with birdages from 800 to 1000 birds a week. Eddie races both cocks and hens on roundabout and enjoys all racing with a liking to channel racing. They have won the strong Chester 2 Bird and are always a threat in the North West Combine.

This performance by them was a dream result but Eddie admits to not seeing any of them arrive (need to go to spec savers Ed). Les Jones was on hand to help spot the birds. Only sending three and to get them so close together flying up to double the distance of some members is truly remarkable. When you consider the hen third to the loft last time as she wanted to get back in the young bird loft, this has to be one of the best team performances in section L. What is most remarkable I think is that Eddie chose the three entries based on them being the first three back from the inland race the week before clearly a loft in form.

Well done Eddie, Alan and Jack ( and Tracy) a much well deserved performance that has been commented on and much admired by fanciers all around the country.


John and Dave Staddon

10TH Open, 3rd Section G

Finishing up the top 10 we have the father and son partnership of John and Dave Staddon.  This is what they had to say.

’First of all we'd like to offer our congratulations to Mr & Mrs Paul Pym and son Richard on their fantastic victory. A nicer man you couldn't meet, so well done Paul. Well done to all the Section D flyers who made the most of their opportunity on the day and put up some great performances as well as Daniel Hocking for winning our section. Finally congratulations to all the section winners and especially Bateman Bros & Son, a fantastic day at the office. We were delighted to time a yearling dark cheq cock to take 3rd  Sec G 10th  Open. He is a Widowhood cock and had previously flown Coutances with the CSCFC and then Fougeres NFC this season. He has previously won 3rd  HLFC Hamworthy with over 500 birds competing. He had really tried hard on arrival. He is bred from a Son of Geoff & Cath Coopers Woolongong 1st Int Pau who we bought at Blackpool and paired him to a daughter of Annie our own 1st BICC Carentan winner. So this cock carries 3/4 Cooper blood and 1/4 Mark Gilbert. His next race will be Ancenis NFC.

We enjoyed a good race on a stiff day and timed 15 of our 27 entries in one hour and at the time of writing have only two birds adrift. Once again all birds returned in great condition as usual.’

D and K Jones -1st and 2ND Section A.

Around The Sections

Section A

Going double top from Messac we have the Havant loft of D and K Jones. The partnership had a very good race, and would like to congratulate Paul Pym and family on winning the race in style on a hot and testing day. The first 2 over the pad, and taking 1st and 2ND Section, are both bred by the top UNC loft of Homer and Williams. They are the super fast Herman Ceusters and this blood have had an immediate impact on the loft since they were introduced a few seasons ago. The third bird that the partnership had over the pad is a son of their top racing cock called’ Dad’s Lad’ who won this race back in 2012. The partnership would like to compliment the convoying team for looking after the birds  - they all came back in top order and were out spinning around the next morning.

J M Fisher

Section B

Topping Section B we have the Wimborne lofts of J M Fisher. The bird that came for Jim is a Hermans Ceusters bred by Derek Spoors from County Durham, Derek has been the source of quite a few good birds for the Fisher loft over the years. This 2 year old widowhood cock hasn’t been hammered with weekly racing but has been taken slowly and carefully. However he has already managed a few good turns including 5th and 14th Dorset Federation from Fougeres, 37th section, 132nd open CSCFC from Coutances and now 1st section B from Messac with the NFC. Jim would like to give a special thanks to his dad for all that he taught the young Jim when they flew in partnership, this is where Jim cut his baby teeth and learnt the essentials for being a successful pigeon man. Jim would also like to thank the race team for taking excellent care of the birds and also the open winner and section winners on a real racing day.

M Shipp

Taking runner up spot is M Shipp from Sunny Portsmouth. Buddy clocked a little yearling hen having only the second race of her life. She is a granddaughter out of champion Ray, so her bloodlines are the best of the Kees Bosua pigeons .Her lack of experience clearly never held her back and based on this she is one to watch out for next season. Buddy would just like to say well done to the winner on such a hard day.

Section C

Runner up was the loft of P Stoodley. I have been unable to get info on the pigeon or fancier in time for the report to go to press.

A top result on a tight day Steve and Paul Kulpa

Section E

Taking the bragging rights this week we have one of the most under rated lofts in the section Steve and Paul Kulpa from Reading.  The 1st section E winner is a 6 year old celibate hen raced on a system they have devised over the years and is proving to be devastatingly effective it clearly gets the best out of the hens. She is of Janssen x De Klak breeding. Her sire was bred by Hans Eijerkamp & Sons and was a direct son of Mister Bond, winner of 1st national Bourges 10221 birds. The dam is Sophia who was the winner of 1st open NFC Fougeres 2004 and now a top stock hen, she is dam to 6x1st  federation winners. Her breeding is from the successful line of Hans Eijerkamps Bartoli. 116 is a regular position taker, but this the first time she has reached the top spot, and didn’t she do it in style  - topping the section with 50 yards to spare on a real working velocity day?.that was no mean feat.

Preparations up to this race were inland sprint racing up to the first NFC race, after which she was given a week off and then back to Messac. She arrived after her 6 hour fly in perfect condition, and after a quick drink and a fuss, she looked none the worse for her journey back to Reading. All birds are fed on Versele Laga widowhood mix and given the Aviform products in the water throughout the year. The lads had a blinding season last year at all levels and are rolling that over in to this year. Well done gentlemen.

Taking the wooden spoon from Messac we have The Winkfield Wonder Mark Gilbert. Mark once more had the birds on form and at the front of the back, and the first over the pad on this occasion was a 3 year old who will have seen a few miles in the race basket.

Section F

Taking top honours in the section we have the Devizes loft of Frank Quinn. Frank is a regular NFC competitor and thinks he last won the Section  when we were competing from Dax international. The section winner is a two year old hen flown separated, she has been consistent  for Frank but she hasn’t yet  set the world on fire. She flew out to Saintes as a yearling and was 38th sect in the NFC .She was bred from two birds given to Frank by Andy Parsons of Salisbury fame - many thanks Andy from Frank. The sire was killed by the hawk last year so there will be no more bred this way sadly. She will carry on racing this year with the aim being to compete from Tarbes in July. Frank would like to thank the convoying staff as the birds came back in great nick, and he had 7/9. Also, all the winners and his many friends who phoned.

Gordon Seeney and his loft manager.

Taking the wooden spoon from Messac we have another one of the sports grafters and someone who will be familiar to anyone who uses the Steventon marking station. Mr Gordon Seeney. The little bridesmaid has been a consistent bird for the Seeney loft and Gordon reckons she gives him one good race each year and this might just have been her weekend for 2016. She is a Soontjen x Filmstar family good to see the old Tasker haeltermns blood is still doing the job that was expected of it by its late originator. The loft have had some good racing this year in the Didcot and Wantage club and ahe also achieved 2nd,3rd, 4th and 5TH Section in the NFC.

The Tarbs-inator.

Section H

Taking the honours on a real racing day we have a real racing man with a proper family of birds that thrive on working days Mr Richard Howey. This section topper is bred for the job and has some real quality national performance pigeons close up.  This is what he had to say:

‘I have been involved with pigeons since I was a small boy ( some sixty years ago) my grandfather kept Flying Tipplers which flew from dawn to dusk and sometimes into the night never to be seem again.

I started with my own pigeons at eight years of age and was that keen my junior school teacher wrote on my end of term report “If only pigeons were lessons Richard would be top of the class”

I won my first club race from Berwick at twelve years of age. The following year while on holiday in Northumberland I met the first of three exceptional fanciers who helped to guide me along the path to success. The first being John Carmichael who’s family of Carmichael X  Kirkpatricks are the base of my pigeons today.  I learnt a lot from John on how to breed, train, feed, and race natural pigeons.

The second fancier was Brian Deacon of Byfield, Nr Daventry, by now pigeon racing had moved on and widowhood flying was the way forward, Loft design, and how to manage widowers was always a great talking point with Brian, when Brian died Mrs Deacon gave me Brian’s Lady Patricia Two 1st Section 6th Open NFC Pau winner which is the Grand Dam of my 1st Section NFC Messac winner.

The third fancier is John Barnett of Natra Herb fame who came to my home to have a pigeon photographed saw what I was feeding and told me I should get into the 21st Century with my feeding. The following season I took note and timed my good hen After Time 2nd Sect 33rd Open from NFC Tarbes 624 miles on the day clocking at 10 14 52 in the dark this was when the pigeons had maximum hours of day light with the race being flown the nearest week end to the longest day. After Time is also related to the Section winner.

A few details about the winner, his sire is a Jan Arden called The Lance Corporal  which was loaned to me by Clive Brown of Alconbury when he left the sport for a couple of seasons, this pigeon is a multiple winner at MNFC and Club level with many prize cards to his name. The dam was 1st Section 13th Open O.H. NFC 2012 and had flown Tarbes earlier that summer, parents are Champion Rockie 1st Section 27th Open NFC Tarbes and Lady Patricia Two as previously stated.

Where possible I use very little in way of supplements and natural when possible the winning cock was bred in August 2014 and trained and raced the following season as far as Le Mans with the BICC. Since 2007 I have reared all my youngsters after old bird racing. I would like to thank my good friend John Tyerman for sharing his JT Mix with me as I have had a 1st  this year, and 1st ,2nd  & 3rd  section last year, since I started using it in the spring of 2015.

My other interests are gardening, training and working gun dogs, game shooting, and anything to do with the countryside.’

Second spot section H is claimed by Terry Roughton. The timer on this occasion was the same hen that topped the section for Terry from the same racepoint last year with the NFC and she very nearly made it 2 in a row.The 4 year old hen called ‘Lou’ was raced on roundabout with this race being her target. Previous results for this hen are 10th section, 25th  open Fourgeres MNFC 2013,. 2nd  section, 56th  open Alencon BICC 2014, 2nd  section 208th  open Ancenis MNFC 2014, 5th  section 612nd  open Vire MNFC 2014and 1st Section Messac NFC in 2015 a bit of  a tidy little pigeon there.She is Soontjens hen,  bred from  stock that was acquired from the late Rocky Dolby from Chatteris. Well done Terry, you have something a bit special there.

Section I

Topping my own section we have one of the most consistent NFC lofts in the Midlands Mr Terry Durrows. Terry is always a dangerous competitor and is a past national winner from Saintes and is always knocking around the top of the section competing for top honours. The section topper is a repeat performer, having topped the section from Saintes, and being 6 years old he has a shed load of previous form including twice topping the federation and winning 13 x 1st prizes from all distances. He is bred from a pair of Janssen birds that originated from Ponderosa Stud. The team of widowhood cocks were given a few inland races to get them fit and then in to the channel races. The birds are fed Versele Laga corn along with clean water and a clean loft to promote natural health and resistance. Trevor races the classic widowhood system with the hens being shown before basketing , and from Messac he had 14/16.

Runner up spot went to Roy parkes. Roy also clocked an experience, 4 year old widowhood cock. He has been very consistent inland for the Parkes loft and has topped the federation. However, the Messac race was the first trip of his life across the water and it certainly didn’t phase him. This Felix Pauwels x Kees Bosua cock was fed on Vanrobaeys corn and given his hen for 1 hour prior to being basketed for Messac.

Kimberley Shaw holding their section topper.

Section J

Topping Section J we have the Wombourne lofts pf Mr and Mrs P Shaw. This loft is on a of form at the moment, having just topped the MCC in h run up to Messac.This is another example of a bird being bred to perform at the top level. This section topper has been a solid performer for the Shaw loft and now goes by the name of Cavalry. He is bred direct from a cock that was 2nd Open MNFC and also a winner of an RPRA award. He was paired on to a daughter of ‘Dancing Queen’, the top racing hen for close friends Arnie and Sylvia Tonks.

Hot on the heels of the Shaw loft section winner we have the loft of Alex Stewart who claims runner up spot. The loft clocked a 3 year old red hen who was raced on the roundabout system and going over the pond for the first time this season. She was given 3 inland races in the run up to the start of the national programme to get her fit and ready. Alex and his dad Jock would like to pass on their congratulations to Pete and Sandra Shaw on topping the section.

Alex Stewart holding 2nd Section J

Section k

Coming out on top in the fiercely contested Section we have the former Blue Riband winning loft of Shackleton and Son. Peter and his dad clocked a 4 year old cock to claim the bragging rights this week. The sire of cock is himself a previous section winner and was purchased by the partnership in  a Breeder/Buyer sale. He was bred by Don Mc Cartney from Carnforth, a keen and successful channel flyer himself.  This cock went missing around the loft after being retired. The dam of the latest section winner is the lofts best breeding hen containing all the best of WLG bloodlines including The Marvel Hen and a son of Grey Gem.

Team Shackleton 1st Section K

Runner up spot goes to K Fields. Keith was on sentry duty at the lofts and the blue 3 year old widowhood cock come racing up the middle towards the loft and in his birds ‘he came like a miler’. The boy that brought the glory is bred from a cock loaned to Keith by his very good friend John Dudhill, and this was paired to a hen from Ron and Nigel Dennett. Keith comes from a long line of fanciers and has a breeding book that can be traced back to 1926, although there was a mishap when Uncle Bob misplaced it around 1951. He has served a sound apprenticeship and this is reflected in his attitude today, by his own admission the birds need to state their intent early on, and to this end he gives the yearlings a fair bit of work to see what will stand up to it. Over the years the Fields loft as done it all, won federations, combines and the coveted Richmond Cup but Keith is now well and truly in love with national racing and sees it as a completely different game in terms of mental approach and satisfaction levels.

Keith would like to thank John Dudhill for all his help and camaraderie over the years and to the Shackleton partnership on topping the section. He would also like to say a special thank you to Nev from Portland who he has known for the past 20 years. On channel race days Nev will advise him on the condition of the channel and predict where the birds will hit landfall and how conditions on the channel might impact on their progress and Keith would be lost without his input and advice.

1ST Section N

Section N

The birds at the top end had it all to do on the day and in Section N in particular they had the wind on their nose or shoulder for the duration of the race. However, as is the nature of national racing there are always exceptional feats put up by our little feathered friends. Top of the heap from Messac and taking 2nd Section as well we have the father and son partnership of John and Steven Best a very apt surname on this occasion. The partnership are new members of the NFC and fly all of 471 miles into Stockton that is a long way in that wind and heat. They timed the section topper at 5.19 am and she was followed in at 6.03am by her loft mate, so these birds must have been pretty close to home at nightfall on Sunday and were up with the larks to finish the job. Both were hen’s flying on roundabout, their first a 2013 late bred called “Gem Stone” was previously 5th Section N from Fougeres two weeks earlier, that's 900 miles in two weeks!!

Their second bird comes from the Crehan & O’Connor bloodlines of RIP& Mystique. These have proved very successful for the partnership. John was telling me that he really fancied this hen. They also timed a 3rd bird at 8.57am to take 8th Section.

Just a brief mention of a very game little bird in at 3rd .This was to the loft of the very consistent Barrie Blackett of Butterknowle who timed a very promising yearling at 6.13am, not bad going for a Yearling and one we will hear more of in the future.

Jimmy Varty and Grandson Matthew


Section O

We have another feat of endurance in to Section O and a well deserved section win for a very game bird. The winning partnership consists of Jimmy Varty, his son James and James' son Matthew. All three are very hard workers for the sport with young James taking on numerous roles at club, Fed and Amal level.  They fly in Flimby Homing Society with all three being life long fanciers. They are all very keen and especially love to race their birds from across the channel. This is the first time they have entered a national race and, although their bird was a bit later than they'd hoped, they are chuffed to bits to clock on what was a very hard race into this part of the country. Welcome aboard gentlemen, and what away to mark your arrival in national racing.

Their section winner is a two year old chequer hen bred by Egremont fancier David "Sugar" Wilson and is of Jos Thone, bloodlines. The partnership is a member of the Cumberland Social Circle and every year the Circle purchases six young birds to raffle to the members. In 2014 the youngsters were purchased from Sugar Wilson and the lads won this hen. She has flown very consistently at club level and scored last year from an inland race. She has been flown natural and sent sitting on ten day eggs at the time of basketing. James informed me that she may be aimed at the Old Hens National in September. Congratulations lads.

Steve Coxall

Section P

Topping the new Easterly section we have a loft that has been at the top for a long time- Bruce McAllister. Bruce is almost as well known for the quality of the stock that he houses as he is for his results. I could not contact him for more information in time for the report going to press.

Second section is the loft of Steve Coxall.  The first arrival is a 3yr old widow hood cock and this is overdue as he has been a fantastic racer since a young bird. He's been the first bird to the loft on many occasions picking up multiple cards at club and national level for Steve. His sire is a green eyed cock that is full brother to Mark Bulleds’ 2nd NFC Messac winner from his 'red bull ' family of sprint pigeons that Mark has cultivated with devastating results. On the dams side the mother was purchased from Steves good friend Gary Inkley . This hen has proven herself as a fantastic breeder being dam to 2nd  open Midlands National Flying club, 1st  fed 2000+ b , 1st  fed 1500+ b and multiple other top national positions for Steve and others.

Padfield Brothers- long distance maestros

Section W

Coming out on top this week is the same partnership who won the section from Fougeres, but not only that it is also the same pigeon. This 3 year old roundabout cock was having his third race of the season, having had a 166 mile pipe opener from Maidstone then Fougeres with the NFC  when he came to top the section. Then he had a bit of rest, just worked around the loft and in to Messac to again top the section. That is 2 section wins in 2 completely different types of races. As you would expect, a pigeon of this quality has a bit of previous, Last year as a two year old he was clocked at 5;10 in the morning on the 3rd day we had the first 3 birds into Wales and he was the third  - he was 5th  Single bird National Pau 2015 also  with 55th  open BICC Pau International.  He is also impeccably bred, as you would expect. On the Sire side he is from a son of Dave - he was 1st  and 3rd  National Tarbes and won the Gold Cup for bird of the year. Dave was paired to a Daughter of Padfields Invincible 2nd Barcelona now with Steve Wright at the house of Arden.On the Dam side it's a hen from their very good friend Dave Impett. The sire of the hen is out of Lee's Star when paired to the Goldmine hen and the Dam was out of his famous Katie's Star.

Vince and Dave clearly have the birds up on their toes and must be relishing the longer channel races with the current form the loft is displaying. Alongside this their birds are continuing to make their mark with the national winner for the Pym family being 50% Padfield.

Taking Bridesmaid spot is the top flight loft of G Treharne and son Stuart. This loft has tasted national success before in the old section and continue to be a force to be reckoned with. The bird claiming the runner up spot on this occasion is a two year old cock flown on roundabout.  Its sire is a direct son of Top Star of Raoul Verstraete when paired to a direct daughter of Ivo of the German partnership of Rutz and Sons. This little fella is out of the top drawer in terms of breeding and I suspect we will get to hear more about him in the future.

Right then folks,that is your lot for this week. I would like to once more reiterate the point that you don’t need to wait for me to contact you for information. If you are in the top 10 in the open or top 2 of your section based on the provisional result then please email details and a phot by te Thursday following the race. Or phone me if that is easier and I will take details over the phone. I want to give well deserved publicity to all the appropriate birds and fanciers, but I need your help in this. This week I have once more been helped in my quest by a merry little band of helpers so thank you for all your efforts in making contact with all the winners.

Finally, Champion of Champions League results from Fougeres is now on our website.

Go and see who is in the running for the Hartwells car.

As always, I am on 01926 817796 or if it’s not beyond you .


Drew Callan