by Drew Callan

Old Hens Coutances 2016.

Having enjoyed an extended stay in France being kept company by the young birds entered for the young bird national the hens were up and away in a joint liberation to compete in their own mini national race. The whole convoy had it all to do, but as was the case with the young bird result the 18 Section G members who meticulously prepared and sent 69 birds to compete against the 1,114 old hens in the race made the most of the helping wind on the day and that is where the lead birds were to be found when the feathers settled with 5 in Section G in the Provisional top 10 result.

1st Open NFC O/H Coutances

Taking top honours, and backing that up with 2nd place in both the open and section we have the father and son partnership pf John and Dave Staddon. These two gentlemen deserve a pat on the back for this result as they only sent 3 old hens to compete. These guys are starting to make this race their own as they were run close last year, losing out to a top drawer performance against the wind by Micky Watts. I have said before in previous race reports for the old hens national, I admire people who will keep a team of hens, regardless of size, ticking over with this race in mind. Personally, I am glad to put the old bird programme to bed in July without having another race 7 weeks later. Also, and again it bears repeating, there are fanciers within our ranks who see this as a ‘mickey Mouse’, tin pot national. Having covered this race for 4 years now I would disagree as the efforts the competing members go to getting these hens spot on at the wrong end of the year are impressive, and at the end of the day you can only compete with the birds that are put in the race, whether that is 1,114 or 10,114 you still ned to be at the front to win.

So, with that in mind let’s look at the winning birds. Being naturally shy and retiring by nature Dave doesn’t often get heard so I will leave it to him to tell you about the 1st and 2nd Open and Section G winning hens:

‘ It was the most wonderful end to the NFC flying season for us, especially after the long wait for the liberation. We have had a marvellous season and this was a fantastic way to finish. I think I am right in saying this is Dad's 3rd win in NFC races the previous two when flying with his brother Mike. This is however my first NFC win. We have been very close with 2nd,3rd & 4th  open in the last year or so. It's good to get over the line.

What a week this was. The weather was not kind and I did not envy Phil Curtis the job of racing advising. We would like to congratulate Phil on doing the best job he could in the difficult circumstances. We all know you can't keep everyone happy in a national race but we think Phil did a good job in trying conditions, as did our convoyer Trevor and his assistant. All our birds returned in fantastic condition. They had been well looked after, so a big thank you to the convoying team and the NFC transporter one of the best on the road.

We sent 3 old hens to the race and were delighted to time our first two arrivals bang on our expected time within 2 minutes of each other. The national winner has been named ‘Shapway Glory’. She is a yearling hen from the Hereman Ceusters/Louis Thijs family. Both her sire and dam were bred by Paul Titcombe of Portishead. The dam was a prolific racer for us winning 1st, 3rd & 7th WOESRC with up to 5,500 birds competing plus 1st Breeder Buyer & 1st Combine Open. The sire was a son of Paul's NFC Cholet winner, so you can say she was certainly bred for a race of this type.

Racing widowhood, Glory was lost from the difficult Alencon BICC 2 race earlier in the year in which we lost 8 hens and subsequently returned approx 3 weeks later. She was given time to recover before being sent to the Saintes NFC race where, not at her best, she was clocked on the night at about 7.45pm to win 65th  Sec 595th  Open. She was then sent to Le Mans BICC where she was our first bird winning 11th Section 395b and 388th Open against 3944b in a west wind. Since then she has been allowed to pair up and has been trained weekly in the WOESRC young bird races as well as a few short 15 mile southerly tosses a couple of time a week. She was sent to this race feeding two large youngsters, she was uneven in her wing moult having 5 to moult in one wing and only 4 in the other, so that blows that theory out of the water !!! Surprisingly, with the east in the wind she arrived at the loft from the east and was going like a bullet and trapped without hesitation. What a sight and now a national winner who also recorded the fastest velocity from the whole convoy. It is unusual for old hens to beat the youngsters but she did it and we are very proud of her.’

Well done Gentlemen, those little ladies did you proud.

Mr William Morris

Staying in Section G , and claiming 3rd section and 3rd open we have another seasoned performer at national level in the loft of William Morris, I would like to thank his daughter Ann for emailing the details to me complete with photograph. The little lady who was up with the leaders is described as being medium sized, and at 5 years old will have a few miles under her belt. Throughout he racing career she has been a consistent bird for the Morris loft, and it has been noted that she favours racing with east in the wind with hazy conditions, so she was in her element in this race. Her sire was a good bird of NEHU lines and her dam is a stock bird from Mickey Griffin of Gloucester.

In 2014 she was 4th NW Section, 42nd Open OH. In 2015 22nd NW Section, 23rd  Open OH, both of these races were from Guernsey with the CSCFC. In 2015 she was also 3rd club Bordeaux 499 miles on the day. This year she took 14 days to home from the CSCFC Pau race and was left to recover with this race in mind. She was sitting a pair of eggs for 7 days when basketed for Coutances and although having dropped 5 flights she looked immaculate. When she was verified online, for a good while Mr Morris had actually thought she had won the race but ended up a very creditable 3rd Open 3rd section G.

Taking 4th Open is another establish Section G loft, Mr H Eades.  This is yet another long established loft with a sound record right along the line. The timer on this occasion was a 2 year old Vandenabeele hen. She had been raced successfully during the old bird programme taking a few prizes through to combine level, and at that time of year she was raced on the roundabout system. However, she was repaired for the old hens national and was sent feeding a 10 day old youngster. She was given 3 combine races with the young birds to keep her ticking over in the run up to basketing for Coutences.

Claiming top spot in Section J and an impressive 6th Open we have the Gloucestershire lofts of Trevor Cooke. Trevor  would like to start by congratulating all the other winners after the birds being in the baskets for six day’s this was going to be a difficult race for all. He flies  this Janssen based hens team  on widowhood, and  they have been very consistent for him over the past few years by helping the loft  to be the top prize winner in the club and claiming  Fed and  classic prizes and breeding winning birds.

On the day of liberation, Trevor was at work when he found out that they was up which meant him having to leave work to set up the ETS and thought he had left plenty of time to do this. However, when he arrived home he noticed that there was six birds on the loft , after sweating and a few harsh words to himself as he walked down the garden, thinking ‘I missed the hens’, he noticed that these were young birds that sat out from the night before. But five minutes after getting the young birds in and switching on the ETS and making a cuppa of tea the first hen dropped. The second hen was close on her tail and came in like a rocket to the extent that Trevor was thinking to himself she wasn’t going to be able to stop but she hit the trap and was in. The rest of the hens came back just as good as the first two.

The birds were gifted to Trevor by his good friend Wynne Jenkins from south Wales, who also has excellent results again in Club, Fed and Nationals. As the birds were in the baskets for six days Trevor would personally like to thank the convoyers for looking after the birds as they arrived home in excellent condition.

Nigel Matthews

Taking 2nd spot in section J and 6th open we have the loft of Nigel Matthews. Nigel clocked a Chequer hen of Mark Gilbert bloodlines going back to Southfield Supreme, Marks Dax International winner in 2004, with her sire being a chequer cock off Mark Gilbert bloodlines, winner of 6th open Messac and 14th open Tarbes 2011 . He is also a full bother of 1st section, 2nd open Tarbes. This little lady was sent sitting eggs for 14 days at the time of basketing and this clearly did the trick and kept her mind sharp during the extended stay in the baskets. She is no one trick pony, as 2 weeks previously she was 1st Section BICC, so she was clearly fancied.

Ronnie Wilson

Claiming top spot way up in Section L, and a commendable 7th open we have the loft of Wilson and Iddon. Speaking to Ronnie about the performance, he was telling me that the section topper is a yearling Vandenbrande hen. She was racing to the young bird loft where she had been all season, and was effectively treated as a young bird including being darkened early in the season.  For this race she was paired to a young cock and sitting fresh eggs, and had already won a few prizes this year prior to going to the old Hens national.

To show you how pigeons can make fools of us, Ronnie was saying how he had ear marked 6 hens for this race right at the start of the season, and the plan was to have them going to the race on 8 day old youngsters. For added motivation the cocks would be taken away 4/5 days prior to basketing  - this all went to plan  but on basketing he want happy with one of the  hens so to make up the numbers the section topper was chosen as a last minute substitute off the bench! Mind you she was bred right, and the 6 days in the basket never really touched her and it’s no surprise as back 2014 ( I think) when they were in the basket until the Tuesday and libbed in a n/e wind her sister was 6th Section and 61st open. The loft had a good race with 3 more hens back by early next morning and all in good nick.

Kevin Wintle with his welcoming committee

We go back to Section G now, for 8th Open and 5th Section, which goes to S and K Wintle. The timer was a blue  Van Den Bosche hen who was sent on four large babies!!! She was bred by the Partnership from a gift pair from Ray Hunt who Kevin met on a trip to Belgium. She has been a good hen over the channel for the loft including in 2014 as a yearling she was 50th open,  7th section Fougeres  NFC with a holdover being their only entry. In 2015 she was 6th club Littlehampton, 1st  club Messac and two weeks later she was their only entry at Niort where she was 1st club Niort by 39mins, 4th combine Niort and 1st open combine Niort winning £200 then stopped.

This year Kevin had some high hopes again for her from across the channel, but after being sent to Fougeres with the combine, she came home two weeks later  with a very bad injury, a deep cut above her leg and she was limping very bad. It makes you wonder how they get home with some injuries.

She was left to heal on an open loft, and after a month or so she was flying the skies out and   was trained lightly with the young birds.  She was then sent to two young bird races and then she went across to Coutances with the NFC where she is provisionally 5th Section G.

She is also breeding the goods and her young has scored last year and this year.

Kevin would like to thank Ray Hunt, Derek Taylor and Nigel Templer for birds he has had from them, and the birds from them that were crossed together have done well for him.

In 9th open and claiming the Bridesmaids spot in section L we have the Congleton loft of fellow committee man Roger Sutton. This is what he had to say about the hen:

"Each year I leave about 15 yearling hens in the young bird loft.  These are then exercised and trained with this year's young birds.

Towards the end of the old bird season they are given a few land races and this year Vire late on with the Midland National. They are still trained with the young birds and went to Frome.  Sent to Yeovil as trainers with the Wrekin Federation and four were selected for the Old Hens National.

The 2nd section winner had a 6 six day old youngster, her first ever young bird."

Derrick holding yet another Section winner

Rounding off the top 10 and top spot in Section W we have the North Wales loft of Derrick Jones. This gentleman is no stranger to success and year on-year he turns out top results, and with running a farm time is a precious commodity so the results are all the more impressive. The section topper won first Yeovil this year for Derrick, then came home two weeks later with half her tail feathers missing. She was put by to recover and as with the winner of Section L, was brought off the Subs bench for the old hens national, Coutences was her first race since then. Her sire is the son of the ‘42 hen’, a flor-Engles -  she is dam of 10 first Feds, first open MNFC Tours, 3 x1st  sections and 3 x 2nd   sections in the MNFC. The section winners dam is a direct gebr Heesters and is a daughter of their first national winner. Derrick had 7/10 on the day, so they were clearly up for it.

Around The Sections

Section A

Topping the section we have one of the gentlemen of the sport, Lou Severe, who I have had the great pleasure of speaking to on a number of occasions. Lou likes to keep thing simple around the birds and they seem to thrive on it.  He doesn’t keep any stock birds after having a rethink a few years ago. He now buya couple in from various sources but the majority of his young bird team each yaer is bred by his good mate and drinking buddy. The hen in the clock this week is the same grizzle hen who has been 3rd and 2nd previously from the old hens nationals. She had been to Tarbes earlier this year, but had made a hash of it so she was repaired and sent to Coutances sitting 8 days and came and topped the section, she must have known Lou was disappointed with her. She is bred by Tony Cowan and Lou bought her at a breeder/ buyer sale he can clearly spot a good one!!!

Lady Mary- top racing hen for Jon Eveleigh

Taking runner up spot is the loft of Jon Eveleigh. The loft had 2 birds in quick succession and they were also mother and daughter. They are from Jons Southwell based family that go back to the birds of Albie and Jan Deacon and Jimmy Shepherd. In their background are such stalwarts of the Southwell strain as Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Millennium Supremo, Boomerang and Southern Dancer. The first bird of the pair is known as ‘Lady Mary’ and has an impressive track record including being 215TH from Tarbes last year.  Both her and her daughter were lightly raced this year with the Old Hens national in mind and had a couple of races to keep them ticking over. Jon races natural and at the start of the season will flag the team to get them up to race fitness before he starts the road work. Both these ladies were sent sitting 10 days and came racing hard to the loft from due south. Jon says they were in great condition, which isn’t a surprise as these old families thrive on hard days so I doubt if the 6 days in the baskets would have bothered them at all. After being in the sport since 1955 this is Jons last season racing and he had hoped to gain a ticket in his last race, so the girls never let him down. At 79 years old and after 60 years in the sport he is not quite ready to walk away completely and will keep a few pairs to keep him occupied, I wish you well Jon.

Johnny Attrill with his son and Daughter

Section B

We go to Salisbury and the successful lofts of Johnny Attrill for the winner of Section B. This is what he had to say about his latest section winner:

My 1st Section B winner is a daughter of Nightmare, his top racing and breeding Kees Bosua cock. Her nestmate was 3rd section last week in the BBC old hens national and a full brother was 1st section in the CSCFC this year. Nightmare has bred winners every year and is  a winner himself  of 5x1st section, 2x2nd section,  4th section, 9th  open and 11th  open NFC Cholet 8700 + birds  in a n/w wind ett., and he has also won 3 RPRA awards.
This year he was paired to direct kees bosua hens on loan, one of which has just been sold to
Taiwan for a four figure sum. John Gerard has been trying to buy this cock for a client in Taiwan offering a four figure sum - he is not for sale John but thanks. Nigel Langstaff and Ian Crammond offered a four figure sum for him to return to Fontwell where he was bred but he is only 6 and has a lot more breeding in him yet and he has earned his place in my lofts winning me several thousand pounds. Anyhow back to the race well done all winners young bird and old and all at NFC.’ Well done Johnny.

Steve Harris of Mr and Mrs Harris and Daughter

Taking second spot is Mr and Mrs Harris and daughter. Steve is currently soaking up the sun but I managed to get brief details and a photo thanks to his daughter. I will get further details from Steve when he returns from Portugal. I do know she is was bred by his dad and sister who compete as S and L Harris, and is bred from their NFC section winner another one bred for the job.

Staying with Section B I want to tell you about the fancier in 5th Section. Andy Boxall does things a bit differently; he races to a 10 foot loft and races only 10 old birds and each year only breeds 6 young birds to race. This makes his willingness to compete at national and classic level all the more impressive. The hen he clocked is a 2 year old hen bred down from Frank Sheader Soontjens with the blood lines of Silver and Gold in the mix.  He is a big fan of Aviform products and they get used in the loft all year round. This will be Andy’s last season for a year or 2 as he is moving and the new house needs some work, so the birds will have to take a back seat.

Andy Boxall and his loft managers.

Section C

Taking top spot and claiming the double having won 1st Section in the young bird race we have the Dorset lofts of John Halstead.  John also achieved this feat 10 years ago in 2006. This time he brought out a seriously good bird in the form of Nyland Falaise, a blue pied Marcellis hen which won 1st Open BICC any age Falaise in 2014 by 132 ypm. She has previously won several top six Section positions including 4th Section CSCFC Coutances 2 weeks earlier but races best when feeding a four day old baby. The plan was to send her back to the BICC but the time in the basket prevented this so she is now finished for the season.

Taking runner up spot is the loft of T Vincent.

Nyland Falaise

Section D.

Taking top spot on a day when these gam birds had to battle to get home we have the loft of Wilkinson and Son. Racing out of The Plymouth & District R.P.C. won the 1st D Section with a Recessive Opal White Flighted Hen, GB15N29189 also securing them 1st Club & 1st Classic Club locally.

Their 2nd bird home, a Blue Chequer Hen, GB15S40857 earned them a 3rd Club and 3rd Classic Club, which was 13th Section in an extremely difficult race in to the West Country’s Section D.

Their second hen was bred for them by an avid National flyer and good friend, Graham Buck, whom also heralds from Plymouth and is a past National winner! In 2015 another close friend, Steve Luscombe, also a past BICC National Champion, offered John four eggs, and they hatched three healthy youngsters at the end of March. These were raced right through the Young Bird Programme that year and they in turn ended up rearing two birds, one from each pair.

From those babies, the Opal Hen was mated on the 21st February 2016 and then she was put on the roundabout system. She was only lightly raced as her cock bird was racing at the same time and they did not want to upset him, as he was doing well racing from the National races across the water.

Deciding to give the Young Bird National a try this season with a pair from their junior team, John and Gladys also committed to enter a couple of Old Hens and a good decision this proved to be after having already accrued a brilliant set of results in the Old Birds this year with the National.

The Opal Section winner was mated up and was sent sitting 14 day eggs on the day of basketing. The Chequer hen was raced in the same way as the Opal hen but she flew home to a 5 day old baby, unfortunately when she arrived home John could see she was damaged and on examining her, it was probable she had been hit by a bird of prey en route to her young one.

The Wilkinson’s have a 22ft by 8ft race loft with 4 sections and a small race team of birds occupying it, consisting of only 9 old birds and 2 two pairs of stock birds. So all in all, winning D Section is a beautiful result to compliment their already outstanding results in the National Flying Club conveyors, as the birds were home in excellent condition, including the one that was Old bird National this year, which consisted of some respectable D Section results: 29th & 45th Fourgeres, 5th  & 14th Messac and 2nd  & 83rd Ancensis.

John and Gladys Wilkinson would like to firstly thank their generous friends for helping to put them on the map for the prestigious Grand National Racing in the Plymouth area and also the damaged. Thanks to Paul Hill for getting the info and photo.

John from the Mr and Mrs Wilkinson partnership.

Claiming runner up spot is NFC Treasurer Paul Naum, Paul Hollywood lookalike and ceaseless worker for the pigeon sport. Paul had a great race on a difficult day and his first handful of hens chalk up 2nd, 3rd,6th and 10th . It says a lot about the man that he never mentioned this when we spoke on the phone. The hen he clocked first is a 3 year old hen who had actually never been in a basket before in her life until 6 weeks before the race. This was her first time across the pond and she certainly chose a difficult race and extended stay in the basket for her first taste of national and channel racing. She is bred from Pauls old Janssen family that he has had for 35 years, and can be traced back to a pair of birds that were knocked down to him by Tony Cowan in a an auction for Albert Tarleton. Well done mate.

The Kulpa Boys not just good looking.

Section E

Taking the top 4 spots in the very competitive section E we have the Reading loft of Steve and Paul Kulpa. These 2 gentlemen are, I feel the finest exponents of racing hens in Britain and probably further afield. They have developed a system over the past decade that is quite simply devastating, and I wrote about this at length in one of annual studbooks last year.

The partnership clocked 6 of their 10 entries within 28 minutes and had 8 on the day with the last 2 arriving together early the next morning. Apart from the birds having a few less feathers there were in very good condition after 6 days in the basket, so thanks to those looking after the birds.

The 1st bird to arrive was a 6 year old from the partnerships long established Janssen x De Klak family. This hen already won 1st section E from the NFC at Messac this year. She is a direct daughter of “Sophia” who herself was the winner of 1st open NFC Fougeres 2004. Sophia is a g.g. daughter of Hans Eijerkamps Bartoli and mother of 6x1st federation winners for them.  The father to the section winner was bred by Hans Eijerkamp and a direct son of Mister Bond.

2nd bird to arrive was another of their Janssen De Klaks this time a 4 year old, whose sire was bred on the line of Hans Eijerkamps De Generaal, when paired to a Herman Beverdam Janssen Hen.

3rd bird to arrive was a 2 year old Janssen De Klak. Her sire is a grandson of Eijerkamps Bartoli and the mother was ‘68’ winner of 2nd open NFC Fougeres 2004, again on the lines of Bartoli. 4th bird to arrive was a 3 year old Van Loon. Both her father and mother are direct Eijerkamp Silver Shadow Van Loons.

Preparation for the NFC race consists of them racing every week since the start of April, with the federation & NFC. 2 weeks ago they went to the CSCFC old hens race, where the Kulpa boys took the 1st  5 positions in the section and placed 20 hens in the top 52 in the open result, they were then given a week off and into the NFC race. All the birds are raced on Versele Laga corn and Aviform products are used in the water.  Another top drawer result gentlemen, well done.

Section F

Topping the section from the Old Hens National we have Eric Illsley, local celebrity and all round good guy. Eric has had very little racing this season for a number of reasons but set up a strong team of hens for this race. The section topper is a 2 year old hen and is a cross between his established Jan Aarden family and a bird that Eric acquired from Mark Gilbert. He assures me that next season he will be back keen, lean and hungry and will be going toe-to-toe with the other section F boys for top honours.

Taking the runner up spot is the loft of Sherman and Wells. A few years ago these guys set themselves the challenge of having a proper go at national racing and set about putting together a family that would seriously challenge for top honours. I have to say, based on the number of times I  have written about them in the past 3 years they have really stepped up to the challenge. The hen that was first to the loft is from a Drapa cock x Koopman. She should have no worries about being up with the leaders as the week previously her sister was 2nd Section and 3rd Open in the BBC race.

Section H

Taking top spot is the loft of Andy Talmer. This is what Andy had to tell me:

Having moved and other personal reasons, this was the first time in 20 years that I have sent to a National Race, although I have stayed a member all that time.

At that time marking was at Reading Cattle Market, rubbers only and no ETS.  I had my birds marked at Bassingbourn and must say it was well organised and marking was very smooth. A special thanks to all the people concerned.

My pigeon is a Pure Bricoux yearling hen, bloodlines from Jim Kimmance of Liverpool, I have been lucky enough to have some great birds from him on two occasions and have established the loft around them.  She was sent sitting 12 days and was very keen on basketing day. She dropped 2 flights in both wings the week before and was looking a picture. This was only her 5th race of the season and the first time across the channel.

Unfortunately I had to work so did not see her come home and thankfully I now have ETS, which allowed me to time in. It makes all the time put into the birds so worthwhile and rewarding. I would like to give a special thanks to all the people who have called and sent me text messages of congratulations.’

John Black in the mix again for section honours.

Claiming 2nd section H is the loft of John Black.  This is another loft that has a high level of consistency at national racing and John is certainly no stranger to the top end of the result. On this occasion the bird he got from Counances was a yearling blue hen sent feeding a small young bird. It was her first race of the session as she was paired to a widowhood cock early in the year and was earning her corn keeping him warm and happy. Her sire is a Raymond Molderveld chequer cock and dam was a gift from ex National President Fred Sharman.

Section I

Taking second spot is the partnership of Mr and Mrs Grimsdell. Ray and Jean have been lifelong fanciers and throughout their time in the sport they have been consistently competing and winning against the strongest and finest competition. The timer on this occasion has improved on her 9th section in the same race last year and now goes by the name of ‘Jenaray’. She is a 3 year old hen and it is no surprise to see she contains bloodlines from Geoff Kirkland as these fanciers have a friendship going back many years. The sire is the one who contains Geoffs blood, and is Willie Thas down through ‘The Snake’. The dam is one of the lofts long established Meulemans family that has served Ray and Jean very well.

Ray and Jean Grimsdell

Section K

Topping section K we have the loft of R and J Hardy. This was the third channel race for this yearling hen that had been raced roundabout until this race when she was sent sitting on 7 day eggs. She is bred from a hen that was 1st Mid Yorkshire combine for the partners last year. All their returning birds were in great condition showing they had been well cared for and would like to thank the team involved.

Pete and Cynthia Hagland

Runner up spot goes to the top national racing loft of Pete and Cynthia Hagland. The partnership had a great weekends racing, with success in the Young Bird national as well. The dark cheq hen was worked hard alongside the young bird team in the run up to the race and will have been meticulously prepared by a master at the game. The effort and workmanship put in by Pete is evidenced by the fact that she was in top condition on return, the 6 days in basket hadn’t touched her.

Section N

The hens flying in to the top North East corner of the club had it all to do with the mid morning liberation, and I think if you spoke to the Section N members they were not expecting birds on the day, but being pigeon men they remained hopeful. As it turns out one little lady stuck with it and dropped in on the night to warm the cockles of her owners hearts. This game hen belongs to the loft of John and Stephen Best, a well established distance loft with a sound record across the channel. To cement this reputation they not only topped the section with the only bird on the day, but they also too 2nd and 3rd section as well.

The section topper is a  4 year old Soontjens x Jan Huybrecht who has  a bit of previous, including 2nd club, 3rd Fed from Lillers, 1st club, 2nd Fed from Rennes and 2nd Club, 2nd Fed from Roye incidentally all these were in a North East wind. Earlier this year she was also 1st club and 2nd Section from Ancenis with the NFC. To add to this she has now scooped 1st club, 1st Section and provisionally 11th Open NFC flying 380+ miles. She was raced all year on roundabout and then after UNC Lillers the team were repaired with the aim of sending a few hens to NFC Countances sitting on a youngster. The hens were trained with the youngsters to keep them ticking over in the run up to Countances.

Taking 2ND Section, and arriving when it was just getting light is another consistent hen. She is off a Maria Vandevelde cock containing the lines of Samson paired on to a grand Daughter of the top Vandenabeele cock Wittenbuik. I have no doubt she would have been in on the night if she had been given 30 minutes extra daylight to play with the day before.

Claiming 3rd section is another hen prepared exactly the same as the 2 loft mates that beat her. She is bred from and M and D Evans cock who is a grandson of Golden Gabby, and her dam is from some Janssens that originate from Petron lofts and contain the blood of Mark Gilberts Treble cock. All these are clearly bred from the best and it shows in their results. The partnership were impressed with the condition of the hens and would like to say a big thank you to the race team who did a magnificent job looking after them for the 6 days.

The Section winner for J and S Best.

Section P

Topping Section P we have the loft of Micky Watts who normally does a demolition job in this race and won it in great style last year against the wind. This year he had one of his hens at the front

again to top Section P.

Runner up is another loft that had made this race their own in recent years J and J Brady. Their 2nd section winner is a 4 year old mealy hen.  Her sire  was bred for the partnership  by Mr & Mrs K Hines, this cock as now bred 2nd  section Coutences NFC 2016 and 2nd  section Bordeaux 2015. The dam is from their direct Jos Thone pigeons that have performed for the team at all levels for a few years now. At 4 years of age she still carries the scars from a hawk attack and given the way she finished and trapped you would have thought that there was a hawk behind her!!

Micky Watts 1st Section P

Section W

Claiming Bridesmaids spot in the Welsh section we have the national winning loft of Fishlock Brothers and Son. This was their very first NFC race so as you can imagine they were over the moon to get such a good position. They saw home a yearling hen bred and gifted to them by Premier stud, bloodlines are Hardy kruger from the black power lines.  She is the latest in a long line of winners bred for the partnership by the boys at Premier which have won or bred birds to win at every level including 1st open national. They would like to congratulate all the sections winners and the overall national winners John and Dave Staddon and Nigel Templer. They have had the pleasure of meeting these guys on a few occasions and they are super fanciers at the top of their game right now. The team only entered 2 hens and had both home in super condition.

Right that wraps up the national racing programme for 2016. As has always been the case, many thanks to all those who have helped throughout the year getting updated contact details, photos etc to me when the fanciers themselves were unable to. Also, I would like to thank the fanciers who send me information before I get around to contacting you, you guys are now in the majority and make my life a whole lot easier between May and September. Again, and please keep this in mind for next year, please feel free to contact me if you are provisionally in the top 10 of the open or top 2 in your section. If I haven’t contacted you then it might be that the contact details have changed, and its not as someone suggested on Pigeonchat that they were being ignored. I personally aim to contact and give publicity to all the relevant peoek in each race, if I cant contact you I don’t make it up I leave that to other Press Officers. So, if I have missed you off the report it’s not because I didn’t try, contact me with details of the bird and I will include it in an article over the winter, I have  a couple of fanciers who have already done this. Also, if you know of a fancier (or yourself) who competes well regularly at NFC level then let me know and I will give them a bit of publicity.

Right, that’s all from me except to say I hope to some of see you in Torquay on the weekend of 26th November at The Imperial for our presentation dinner, it has an outdoor pool so bring you swimming trunks!!

As always,

or 01926 817796.

Drew Callan

P. O. NFC.