Press Report Cholet 2019

The programmed National Flying Club Ancenis race had to take place from Cholet due to the liberation site not being available for the 2019 season. 

The third race of the season for the National Flying Club was held on the 15th June from Cholet with the 3500 birds liberated at 7am into a fresh South-South West wind and although rain showers plagued many parts of the country, the expected speed for the winning pigeons was 60mph or more. As it transpired the overall winner did indeed reach 1790 yards per minute which is just over 61mph.

Steve and Denise Wiggins from Basingstoke expected a five, to five and half hour fly for the birds to cover the 290 miles to their loft, so when their widowhood cock appeared from nowhere and flew straight into the loft at four hours forty-four minutes. They knew he would be a good one as he had shown previous form just three weeks ago by winning 7th Open Messac with the CSCFC, but they did not expect to win outright. It was not until four thirty, when a friend called say they were top of the leaderboard, that they realised just how good their time was and a tense couple of hours follwed , with all the family repeatidly checking the website to watch the northern times coming up one by one, just short of their velocity. They were over the moon when they received confirmation that they head provisionally won the Premier Distance Club in Great Britain, especially because their three-year-old granddaughter had asked Grandad Steve to “win the big race” for her birthday, which was one that very same day.

As a boy, Steve and his brother lived in Putney and caught stray pigeons which were housed in tea chests. Their father, seeing the keen interest his boys had shown in the pigeons, decided to buy them a small garden loft with which to race their birds, but as their teenage years advanced, their father “Wiggo” gradually took over as they went on to other things. One such distraction was Denise, who met Steve at school aged 13 and they have been together ever since, being married for the last 46 years. When they were first married, they lived Carshalton, London and as they had a decent sized garden, Steve asked Denise if she would mind if he put up a pigeon loft. “Not at all” was her reply and from then on, they both became involved in the pigeon sport, together and Steve said that he could not do it without her. 

They soon put together a winning team of birds, raced on the widowhood system and one ambition his father held was for them to win the Fulham Open which was a huge race at the time. Steve entered his cocks and won first and second that day, making his Dad really happy for them to have achieved the win. Subsequently his Dad, known locally as to his friends “Wiggo”, passed away over 20 years ago, which is when Steve lost interest in the birds and consequently, he and Denise moved to Spain for a few years. But the pigeon bug had bitten him hard and Steve began to help one of the locals in Spain to race his birds whilst all the time keeping a keen interest in the UK Pigeon Journals. Eventually they returned to the UK and moved to Basingstoke to be near their sons, which was just over five years ago, and once their homemaking was complete, a new twentyfour-foot loft was constructed which is when the search for quality bloodlines began. 

Steve had decided the De Raul Sablon pigeons were putting up good performances and would also make a good cross for most other middle-distance families, so he acquired a few from Mick McMurchie in Fife, who also had Peter Veenstra “Mr Blue” lines which soon began winning for them in their local club and federation . But their heart was in channel racing, holding the Classics and National racing as their main goals in Basingstoke, with the first major win being with Central Southern Classic FC in 2018 from Bergerac and now, just one year later, adding a first open National Flying Club. 

They race just fifteen widowhood cocks, although Steve had seriously considered racing on the Roundabout system, until he met his old friend Frankie Carson at the Epson Show who advised him the stick to what he knew best. At the end of January, he couples pairs them together with the hens and allows them the rear one youngster before going down on eggs for their second round. They are then parted as they reach the tenth day of sitting and the cocks will sit for a couple of days before a few training tosses three weeks prior to the first club race. Like most of us, they have problems early season with hawk attacks so once the first race is completed, the cocks exercise around the loft for an hour, morning and evening. Compact Disks are hung around the loft area to deter the birds of prey which Steve feels are very effective along with a watchful eye. The cocks are fed in their nest boxes and are never broken down after a race, which Steve is convinced is most important. “Once they have gone too low in energy, it is over for the season” he said, and channel races should be once every two weeks. He plans to keep two teams of cocks next season in order to ensure this essential rest.

Denise, known by her family as “Dee” is the loft organiser of the partnership, and will complete all the required paperwork for the racing loft as well as tending to the stock, young birds and any sick or injured pigeons. She will use honey on an open laceration and has been known to make splints for broken bones. She is just as keenly interested in the pigeons as Steve and really likes the social side of the sport, especially marking days at the Classic which they say is run very efficiently and is a great day out. They have made some very good friends there and Dee said Secretary of the Classic, Claire Norman, was the very first person to call to congratulate them on their NFC win. 

The old bird racers are now being prepared for the Bergerac race in three weeks with the CSCFC, having been left with their hens to go to nest. They have only had five races up to date but the partners will be happy concentrate on their young birds after just one more channel race with the widowhood cocks. The youngsters have been on the darkness system from April until June and are looking really well. Steve likes to train them well but is happy to stop the cocks after three or four races, whilst racing the hens until the end of the season.

They have bought quality stock birds with channel racing in mind, going to Geoff Kirkland and Mark Gilbert for particular lines. Indeed, they had purchased a double granddaughter of “Euro Diamond” from Mark which unfortunately escaped over Dee’s head one blustery evening at the loft. But once he recounted the loss to Mark, thinking it may get reported to him via the ring number, he replaced the pigeon free of charge with one exactly the same way bred, which Steve said illustrates the generous nature of the man. 

There is no doubt going to be further National and Classic success achieved by this very affable husband and wife partnership, and considering the general rule is that it takes five years to build a team to race the channel, in five years they have won two already, so I am sure many more will follow.

1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke
1st Open S & D.Wiggins, Basingstoke

Section A

First section A was D & D Mc Fadden with a two year old widowhood hen having her 7th channel race of the season. She has been a consistent hen for Darren and this year has been clocked in all of nationals and won Carentan in the club earlier on. Incidentally the cock she is paired to was 1st section in the NFC Fougeres race so they are obviously well motivated.
She is a gift pigeon from Mark gilbert and Nigel Langstaff from their joint breeding project.
Her sire is a son of “Southfield Champ” 1st Open NFC Saintes when paired to a daughter of Koopmans “Ermerveens Hope”. Her dam is from a top breeding son of Harry x 139. a winner of 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th NFC etc. 139 is also a daughter of “Southfield Star” 2nd Open NFC Saintes. Second section was J May & Son  with a direct Belgium Blue Hen from the “Pitbull” family of pigeons. She is raced on roundabout and this was her second channel race of the season after racing and winning inland and be being a very consistent performer.  Third section is  Dave Bridger of Littlehampton who timed a three year old Pencil cock bird now named 'HB' which is flown on Dave's own version of widowhood. This cock had previously had four inland races this year with his only other channel race being from Le Mans last year. His pedigree shows him to be very inbred to M&D Evans 'Shadow' of Vandenabeele bloodlines, with a double grandchild featuring on both sides of the pedigree when crossed in with a big dose of Janssen. He returned in excellent condition which is a credit to the convoyers and NFC transport. Mick Skidmore came in four with a seven year old Busschaert cock raced on the widowhood system. In 2014 he won 19th sect 24th Open from Bergerac with the CSCFC, 20th Sect Fougeres, 14th Sect Ancenis and 38th Open 5th Sect Saintes in 2015. In 2016 he was 11th Sect Messac and 9th Sect Messac in 2017. Last year he was 5th Sect Ancenis and 3rd Sect Sigone NFC.  Fifth section was C T Ayling with a yearling De Klaks pigeon from a pair of gift pigeons bred by Kevin Bakes. The father has two wins to his credit and the mother was daughter of “Bomber Boy” and “My Little Diamond”. This pigeon came second the week before from Coutances and was sitting on 10 day eggs. He sends his congratulations to the winner and would just like to thank Kevin Bakes for two nice pigeons.

Section B

I have been asked to highlight that if members are entering on line they should check that they have received a confirmation Email or if entering by post, they don't leave it to the last minute which could save confusion and disappointment at the marking stations. This report for Section B, was kindly compiled by Bill Edwards; Mike Moody of Southampton had the winner of section B and 2nd Open Cholet National. Agonisingly Mike led the field on the early times for a while and Mike would like to congratulate S & D Wiggins and all the section winners. When he saw his name at the top of the leader board he had everything crossed and was excited but in reality he did not expect to hold on to top spot due to the weather and he thought that he would be caught by the further flying birds picking up speed, after leaving the coast where his loft is situated. He was surprised and delighted that he only dropped one place to 2nd Open. It turned out to be an even result with 7 section winners in the first 10. The bird that came for him was a two year old hen raced natural and sitting 5 day eggs which has previously been 31st open Classic as a youngster and earlier this year 1st Club 6th Fed. She was his first arrival from Cholet with the BICC, after not racing as a yearling due to him working away from home. She is bred from a cock that was purchased at Blackpool Duif Auction and a Robert Pugh hen that also won 13th National and carries the lines of his “License to Thrill” cock.

Second section was Graham Rann and Daughters on the Isle of Wight with a two year Dark Hen raced natural and sent sitting 10 days. The hen is a granddaughter of Graham’s “Faithfull” that won 8th International Agen and also a granddaughter of “Jackie’s Pride”, 1st NFC Tarbes for Trevor Hazel on the Island. Third is George Willet from Portsmouth who said “Firstly, I would like to congratulate the winner S & D Wiggins on a great performance. My pigeon is photographed here outside K & J Zerafa’s loft with Steve Vaizey of Fareham who is the breeder of this good hen. She has won 3 x 1st clubs and many good federation positions, also some good positions in the classic’s and nationals before today race from Cholet. Her sire is a De Raux Sablon who has bred some very good one loft pigeons for Steve, her dam is a Leo Heremans hen, who herself won racing and being a granddaughter “Golden Safier” and “Lady Safier” Fourth is John Good also from Portsmouth who clocked a five year old Van Camp X Van Rijn widowhood cock. It was the cocks second channel race of the season with the other being Fougeres National. Prior to that and in between Nationals, he was raced North with the Southampton NR Fed. Racing weekly with no training, John has no fear of racing from the North and changing to South when it suits and he finds that the birds cope well and it sharpens their homing instinct by racing from different directions, so he competes from the North with his local Milton Club and South with the NFC. Taking fifth section is Mick Bunny from Portchester. Mick clocked another yearling that was gifted to him by his good friend Bill Ahern of Neesdon, being a Jan Arden X Southwell from the best of Bill’s Barcelona pigeons. Mick had 10 youngsters gifted to him by Bill and this is the second one to record 5th section B, NFC in consecutive races

Section C

First was Mike Staddon of Crewkerne who kindly sent me the following details; “I am delighted to record my 40th 1st section C in the NFC as I now only fly NFC and Crewkerne and District with the WESR Combine. The first two NFC races for me were a big disappointment. I lost 10 pigeons in the two races, and I was way behind the leaders. I used to use Versele/laga mixtures, mainly Champion Plus, but it is quite expensive, and I wasn’t happy with the droppings of the pigeons on these mixtures. This year, after great thought, I decided to go back to basic mixtures. In my opinion there is far too much small stuff in all the Belgian mixtures, especially for channel racing into the UK. I firmly believe the Belgian mixtures are contributing to the losses suffered in the UK. Pigeons don’t work back next day after hard races any more.  But I’m glad to say my “work backs” have improved 100% since they went back to basics and I don’t feed maize any more.  I had quite a shock when I was out shooting last winter and saw loads of dead and dying wood pigeons after they had been feeding on mouldy maize from the cover crops. Apparently, it is very toxic when damp. The section winner came back from the north, as is often the case when racing here with south in the wind, closely followed by a yearling hen 28 seconds behind the section winner.  My 2nd section winner was bred by Ray Scrivens the National President who is a great friend, thanks Ray. The section winner is my best hen at the moment. She has been my first pigeon in all the national races 2019 and in 2018 she was second section C Sigogne, 6th section Coutantes. 2019 23rd section C Fougeres, 11th section C Messac and now 1st section C Cholet. She is beautifully bred from my very best stock so hopefully she will go to Tarbes next week, depending on her condition.  I sent 10 to the race from Cholet and all 10 on the day. Thanks to the convoying team and the new Race Controller for the excellent condition of the pigeons. Congratulations to all the section winners especially Bob McKie in the north section at 500 plus miles, brilliant”. Third section was John Halstead of Nyland nr Gillingham with a four year old blue hen, sitting for 12 days. This hen was a gift from Paul Liman of Essex and she has been a really good performer each year. This season she has been 1st Club from Carentan and 28th Section 190th Open BBC Fougeres 2005 birds. Previously she has had 2 x 2nd 1 x 3rd and 1 x 5th Club along with 4th Section 45th Open NFC Coutances (old hens) 1135 birds, and 11th Section 57th Open BBC Coutances 1858 birds. She was so keen to get back to her eggs that she tried to jump out of the basket each time that the flap was opened. Fourth was the very consistent partnership of Neville & Diana Spracklen who can be seen pictured with the next generation of pigeon fanciers in their family. They timed one of their Daniel Ariens which have been a very successful family for them. In fifth place was Mr & Mrs.Hodges with a blue cock of John Gerard's blood lines. The cock is raced on total widowhood and feed on Van Robaeys mixtures. Some of his results this year are 2nd club 229 pigeons arrived with the winner 13th combine 2,069b, 4th club 334 birds arrived with winner 28th combine 2,641b, 11th club 382 birds 35th combine 2,726b. They would like to congratulate the open winners S &D Wiggins and all the section winners plus a special mention to club mates John & David Staddon and Merek Chwedoruk who both had a fantastic race.

Section D

A big thank you to Gill McClements who gathered this information; Chris Stevens and Sue White topped the section and Chris said “I'm over the moon to win 1st section D , this is my last season racing due to my partner Sue having Pigeon Fanciers Lung  and it is certainly a pick me up. The winning bird was gifted to us from previous multiple NFC winner Andy Mabin and is a grandson of his NFC Poitiers Open winner. His hen was lost three weeks prior to this race so he was sent looking at another hen. He has been a consistent bird who would always arrive in the middle of the field. I race weekly with the Honiton SRFC who took the first Five places in the section which I think will a long time until repeated again. All my birds are raced with the Devon South Road Fed which provide excellent racing week in week out. I feed a basic widowhood mixture and treat for Canker, Coxi and worms before the season begins, thanks to all the hard workers at the Kingsteignton marking station” Second section was Tony Churchill who timed in a dark chequer cock raced on semi widowhood, his breeding is R Goodier Jos Thone x Premier stud Van Dyke and has been a very consistent bird in club and national races. Third section was Alan Harwood from Sidmouth who clocked a dark chequer widowhood hen which has been his first bird from the two previous nationals this year. She is bred from stock gifted to Alan as eggs by John Halstead of Gillingham, for which he is very grateful. Fourth section was R Goodier & sons with a chequer pied Arien Verrecht roundabout hen bred down from stock purchased from Ian Stafford. She has several Club and Fed wins to her credit. Fifth section was Simon Cordery who clocked a Leen Boers roundabout cock gifted to Simon from James Cook, Tumley lofts on his first visit there in 2017.

Section E

First section was Gary Inkley and the brains of the outfit “Stanley”. They timed a three year old blue widowhood cock, which has been a consistent pigeon all his career with previous positions including 22nd UBI Combine Exeter as a young bird in 2016, in 2017 5th UBI Combine Carantan, 16th UBI Combine Exeter, 50th UBI Combine Poitiers and 97th Open NFC Messac. In 2018 he had a few club positions plus 1st Section 2nd Open BICC Alencon 4900 pigeons. This was his third consecutive channel race this year, and he was early next morning from the difficult NFC Fourges race returning with a couple of secondries missing, consequently he was given a week’s rest then into NFC Messac, and last week had a 12 hour fly from Cholet with the BBC. His sire was bred by Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts being a son of “Mario” who in turn is a direct son “Di Caprio” (Leo Heremans/Dirk van Dyck) when paired to “Ivy”, a direct daughter of the “Saffier Couple” of Leo Heremans. Dam of their section winner is again Syndicate lofts stock, being a gift from top Swansea fancier Andrew McFenton, containing all the old bloodlines of Drum, Gerrie, Dutch Master and Agent Starling. “I would like to extend my congratulations to the overall winners S&D Wiggins and all the other section winners” said Gary on behalf of Stanley and himself.

In second place was Roger Lowe who raced nine widowhood cocks and eleven widowhood hens with three hens arriving before the cocks. Firstly, “the 903” being inbred to “My Little Diamond” sire “Diamond Che” bred by Nigel Langstaff from a son of Eijerkamps “Che” when paired with a daughter of “My Little Diamond”. Dam “Gold Diamond” again a daughter of “My Little Diamond” when paired with her son “Main Man” sire of last season’s NFC winner from Sigogne. 903 already a winner of 2nd section, 20th BBC Fougeres 8th section 19th Open CSCFC Coutances and 3rd section 4th open NFC Coutances and only a two year old.  His second bird, also a two year old, the 835 is inbred to “My Little Diamond” again sire “Diamond 005” direct son when paired to “Million Dollar Man”. This pair have bred a host of winners 1st fed and 1st section winners in the NFC. The dam the one is a daughter of the “Main Man” and is winner 1st fed and 1st CSCFC Guernsey. 835 winner of 16th section  57th open BBX Bordeaux 4th section 8th NFC Coutances. Well done to the winners and all the section winners lets hope for a good race next time also. 

Fourth section were Brian and Dick Chitty who started racing with their father in 1954. Brian is now 77 years old and Dick is 73 years old and they had a few years racing North separately before joining together in 1986 and have been racing on the South road ever since with quite a bit of success in Club, Fed, Nationals. The hen GB16A00124 first to their loft, has had some previous good results in the NFC. Their second bird was clocked 8 minutes later with 6 out of 6 birds home on in race time.' 24' is a Hardy Kruger bred from pure parents obtained from Premier Stud chosen by Kerry Melonby. Fifth section was Ron Lacey with a red chequer Jan Theelan called “Red Mist” which was bred from stock purchased from Geoff Clare before his recent emigration to Australia. “Red Mist” has flown all three NFC races this season.  Ron keeps a modest team of 22 pigeons at seasons start, sending to National races for his entertainment and enjoyment. After 75 years of flying, this is the best performance in the National Flying Club that Ron has ever achieved. Ron joined the NFC in 2003, after 60 years of flying North Road. Ron sends his congratulations to Steve & Dee Wiggins for winning the race.

Section F

First section F were the overall winners Steven & Dee Wiggins, who have no doubt received many congratulations on their win. I personally would like to thank them for their warm welcome and I hope to see you at the presentation in November. Second section was J & P Parker who tend to shy away from publicity. They race a very consistent pigeon and one day I hope to encourage James to enlighten us with a little more detail. Third was B Sherman & S Wells with a pigeon from their own family which they call “Sherwells”. He is third generation of birds that originate from Jimmy Shepard “Southwells” one side and a grandaughter “Southfield Darkie” when paired to a grandson of “Euro Diamond”. They would like to congratulate all the winners and the runner ups for getting  their birds in good time as it has been a very testing time flying the channel this year. Mr & Mrs Paul Kenny & Family clocked a red cock bred by Roger Lowe which has been raced on widowhood to take fourth section and in fifth place, F J Quin sent me the following details; “Congratulations to S & D Wiggins. It is nice to see our section leading th efield and encourages others to try harder and have a go. My own birds came well from this race and had 12 from 16 home. The first bird is from the lines I have had from my good friends Sanderson & Ramshead of Padiham Lancs. Top class and roll on the big on from Tarbes”.

Section G

First section G 6th Open are Dave & John Staddon from Ditcheat. This performance comes hot on the heels of my visit to see the lads last weekend after they won 1st, 2nd & 3rd West Section 1st, 2nd & 3rd Open from the BICC national race also from Cholet. They are clearly the loft in form. After another very happy call with Dave, he sent me through the following text. "Hi Chris, well what a week for us. Firstly, our clean sweep of the BICC Cholet National last weekend and now 1st Section G Provisional 6th Open NFC Cholet. We also timed a second pigeon within a minute who will take provisional 3rd Section and 8th Open. An extremely pleasing result. We sent 10 birds and had 9 on the day. Our section winner is a beautiful yearling cock who has already scored 1st Club 2nd WOESRC Bedhampton 3293b earlier in 2019. He is raced as are all of our birds on Chaos widowhood. His breeding is from the best of our Mark Gilbert pigeons, the sire is a grandson of Southfield Supreme and the dam is from our amazing Miracle Pair who were both bred by Mark. She herself was a big winner on the road before injuring a wing and being put to stock. Our 2nd bird also a yearling cock taking provisional 3rd Section 8th Open, is an incomer. He was bred by our clubmate Miraslaw Chwedoruk, better known as Merek and Merek himself won provisional 4th Section 9th Open in this same race, so we send our congratulations to him. I bought the cock at our Glastonbury Flying Club Breeder Buyer 2018. He went on to win 8th WOESRC Littlehampton 1580b, 17th WOESRC Bedhampton 2579b and 26th WOESRC Eastbourne 840b. He also won 1st Breeder Buyer Winning £1200. He now collects a top national position. We would like to conclude by congratulating Mr & Mrs Wiggins on their fine win and all the section winners many of which were in the top 10 in the open. We would also like to thank the Chairman for his personal letter, a very nice touch on behalf of the NFC. In second place are S Luff & Walker Bros who timed a yearling cock now named “Cholet Lad” which was flown on widowhood System. Having seen the times appearing on the leader board they calculated what time they needed to be up there with the leaders. Due to the heavy rain in the area they were thinking that they would be lucky to get a pigeon, when they noticed about 40 birds heading their way, which appeared to be looking for somewhere to land, they couldn’t believe their luck when one pealed of and landed on the loft, the others carried on in the direction of Wales. The breading of “Cholet Lad” is just right for the job, his sire being bred from a good old racer they call “Fred” because they could always really on him turning up when the going was a bit tough. He is a previous prize winner from Messac, Niort and Bergerac and his breeding is through “Lucky 848” De Rauw- Sablon x “George” sire of Brockamp Euro Diamond. Dam of “Cholet Lad” winner of the club breeder buyer race being Bred by Ivan Hoftan Gloucester, from his Janssen based family. Also winner of many prizes including 14th Sect, 15th Open CSCFC Old Hens Race Guernsey and 2nd Sect C, 3rd Open BBC Old Hens Fougeres both in 2015. They would like to congratulate Steve & Dee Wiggins on winning 1st Open, and Dave & John Staddon on winning section G. Also, thanks to the NFC race team for giving us a good race with 32 of our 36 entries home before nightfall despite the rain in our area. Third was Miroslaw Chwedoruk from Whitcombe, fourth Mr & Mrs G & M Wile & S Lias in  Bristol and Nigel Templar in fifth place.

Section H

Having a great season up to now is Hubert Walker and Les Rodgers who are both delighted with their latest section win.  She is a yearling widowhood hen and was on her second trip over the channel. Previously she flew the difficult’ Fougeres race arriving back the next morning. Her sire is a grandson of ‘Big Smithy’ and ‘Mucking Fagic’, the dam was bred by their good friend Ian Stafford from Stanley.  Hubert and Les both agree that these lines are really starting to show their worth over the channel for them. Second are C Crick & Son who’s first bird is a yearling chequer pied widowhood cock known as 'Roger'. Which was bought in a charity auction at the Epsom Spring Show in 2018 and bred by Roger Lowe. He only had two races as a youngster last season, and his performances have gradually improved as the distances have increased, this was his third channel race and first time in a National. Third section was John Black who timed in a two year old Red Chequer widowhood cock. The sire was bred by Gosling & Jarvis in Essex and the dam was bred by Terry Robinson of Cuffley from his Brian Denny cross Motivator lines. He was 5th section Coutances and 12th section Ancenis in the NFC last year, one for the future I think John. Fourth was A Smith from  Harrowden and fifth is Slawomir Chabrowski with a two year old widowhood hen of his best stock hen via Kris Czaplinski from Kendal.

Section I

First section I was Micky Lennon with a Hardy Kreuger which was 6th Section and 90th Open Messac. This is only the second time from Cholet winning 1st Section and his brothers have also scored in the Midland National. Previous section winner John Passey came in second and said “Our bird is a blue yearling hen, raced on widowhood and has now been named “Archie’s Girl” after our grandson. She has always been consistent without really threatening the prizes. Her Sire is one of my brother Alan’s good racers, who I had back off him when he stopped racing. He is a winner both inland and in the section of the MNFC. He is from Geoff Kirkland’s Flor Engels crossed with a long distance hen, that we had of Geoff’s Kipp Lines. Her dam is from Pat Frisby of Burbage, a really top racer that scored well out of the poor MNFC Ancencis race in 2017. Many thanks once again to these top racers, as well as being really genuine people. I would like to congratulate the conveyers and race advisory team on a good call for this race. Although some were caught up in rain, returns were brilliant, we ourselves had 24 of our 25 birds.  Also, I would like to congratulate Mickey Lennon, whom I rate as one of the best and most knowledgeable fanciers in the country. It’s certainly no disgrace finishing behind Mick”. Eddy Froggatt was third with a three year old blue hen. Her winning sire was out of “The Thas Pair” and her dam from the “Broken Wing Hen” who also took prizes in the NFC. She is down from the “Young Couple” of Peter Fox and “Wonderbar” with “Golden Girl”. Clive Yates, who still races as M Yates & Son was fourth with a two year old dark chequer cock which was soaked through when he dropped, but must have been ok as he was treading his hen with in second of trapping. He is bred off a Mark Gilbert Deweert cock that has bred 2 fed winners paired to his Dutch hen, bred by Batenburg. She has bred winners with eight different cocks from 1st Fed at 51 miles to an RPRA Rose Bowl winner from 450mls. Clive had 12 out of his 14 entries on the day. Fifth was Peter John Bicknell and can be seen in the photograph holding his pigeon.

Section J

Graham Clift was first section J and wrote; “My first bird a yearling cock has put up some good performances to date only having three races as a young bird being 19th West of England South Road Combine 1,788 birds. This year, flying in two separate organisations, 8th Severn Valley Fed 1,045 birds, 10th Fed 1,000 birds, 13th Combine 1,836 birds and now provisionally topping the Section from Cholet. My good friend Steve Bennett from Bristol gifted me two top class hens one of which is the dam of the bird I timed from Cholet the sister has bred me two section winners in the CSCFC & BBC. They are Gerrit Lahuis x a daughter of The Nearly Cock 2 x 2nd National, the sire is a grandson of Brian Milkin's famous blue pair purchased at his bereavement sale. When the cock arrived he was soaked with pink wattles having come through heavy showers particularly on the western side of the country. Of the 18 birds entered I had 16 on the day which turned out to be a good race considering the conditions. Second section was Mr Brian Lawrence and third section were R Stokes & Son with a blue widowhood two year old cock who’s nest brother was 3rd SW section 8th Open MNFC the previous week. Their sire is a winner for them being 3rd open MNFC Coutances 8900b, 12th Open MNFC Portsmouth 7100b and 1st Shropshire fed 1900b, the dam is “Farlow Sadie” twice a winner of the Shropshire Fed from Carentan and Messac. She also won the RPRA western region Queens Diamond Jubilee race Carentan against 5000 plus birds  Fourth were Mr & Mrs G W Kirkland who timed a two year old blue cock sent sitting after being on total widowhood all season. He came right on line but in pouring rain and of the 12 entered they got all 12 home on the day. Fifth section were Price Bros & Son  

Section K

First section were C & E Lee who had a wonderful race and will have three pigeons in the top 10 of section K. All their pigeons are flown on the roundabout system with the first pigeon being a two-year old cock which is a great-great grandson of “The Drum”. This came about when local flyers, Mr & Mrs Wright retired from the sport, they gifted two great grandchildren of The Drum to this partnership and their first pigeon was bred off this pair. They would like to thank Mr & Mrs Wright for their gift. Second were Mr & Mrs Foulstone and Bill had a good race with his first pigeon being a widowhood hen full of top breeding. This pigeon has two National winners and two international winners in her bloodline and it was her first time over the Channel this season. “Her sire is from the Gordon Cock whose sire won 1st National Tarbes. The dam is our Melinda Hen from Sjaak Buwalda whose dam won 1st Holland National. This pair have bred Fed winners, winners’ section and grandparents to section winners. The Dam of our hen is from a son of farmer George who won 1st International for Mr and Mrs Cooper. The Dam to the hen is our Bobby Hen who was bred by Bob Bessant out of noble 1st International. Our Hen came wet as did others but returns were very good”. Bill would like to congratulate C & E Lee on their wonderful performance. Third section is Richard Holden with a single widowhood cock as his entry which was having its third National race of the year. This is a gifted pigeon from Mick and Robert McGrevy and he would like to say "thank you" to that partnership. It just goes to show that you do not need a lot of pigeons, you just need quality! Fourth section was Fred Ellis and in fifth were L & S Gash. Luke's first pigeon has already topped the Fed from Marlborough this season and is bred out of two gifted pigeons, the sire being a B & P Winter pigeon and the dam gifted from Pete Lee.  Luke would like to say thank you for the good condition the birds arrived home in and on speaking to him on Sunday morning, he had 16 birds back out of 20.

Section L

G Bowyer won first Section L with "Lavender", so named by granddaughters Lucy and Daisy while still in the nest last year. Second and fifth was Roger Sutton who said; “Although the northern birds encountered some showers most fanciers had excellent returns but with considerable gaps between arrivals. My two year old widowhood cock has flown all three National races and he returned early evening on the day in the first National race. He was then first back to the loft at Messac taking eighth section and once again first back to the loft from Cholet, being probable 2nd section. I would like to congratulate George Bowyer on winning the section but interestingly my cock is 25% George's Tarbes cock bloodlines. Another point of interest is the fact that George and I have been friends for over 50 years both joining Congleton West End SFC in the same year 1966. Crehan & O'Connor was third section with the wonderful pigeon “Cease Fire”. John is so confident in this pigeon’s ability he said that if he is right, it is the only one he needs to send. Time after time he has proved John correct and is quickly becoming a super star amongst the Jan Hooyman pigeons which John races as Team Hooymans UK. Well done John for seeing this birds’ talents and gaining the best out of him. Fourth were the partnership of Mills, Rice, Abbott & Duffy with a hen that has won 1st Wincanton, 4th North West Grand National, 14th section Vire and 4th section Ancenis. Her sire was bred by R & B Smith and the dam from J Foster via his “Paramyxo Cock” lines. This pair have produced a number of winners for them and since the formation of this partnership they have topped the North West Combine 12 times and once each prior to the partnership.

Section N

In Section N only three birds got home on the day. Bob McKie of Blackhall Mill near Newcastle timed his very consistent five year old Chequer Cock “Timba” to top the Section and add more to his tally of  Section N positions. He has now scored 2nd & 4th section Ancenis, 5th Section Messac, 8th Section Fougeres and 1st Section Cholet. Trained only to 250 miles in 2015 he has only ever had five National races with the Sportsman FC. His sire is bred from the very best of Brian Denney blood via Alan Astin of Carnforth. His Dam is a Jan Arden from the stock loft of Peter Virtue of Cockburnspath. “Timba” was sent feeding a 16 day baby. Bob's second bird, a two year old hen will win 3rd Section & was bred by Allan Astin (Ken Hines bloodlines) and this was her first ever race. Trained 200 miles she was sent sitting over the top at 23 days and was timed at 20.10pm. for the 544 miles. Birds are fed on Vanrobaey No39 & No35. Second section N was Jeff & Matthew Walton of Coxhoe with their chequer hen 320 flying 530 miles. This hen topped the section in 2018 from Ancenis and was sent feeding a 6 day old youngster. Her sire is from Peter Virtue of Cockburnspath & her dam is a Jos Thone' via the late Brian Long. Birds are fed on Vanrobaey No39 & No35. Third was the very consistent loft of  M Anderson & Sons with B Blackett & Son fourth and fifth section.

Section O

In 1st Section and provisionally 316th Open we have the Cleator Moor loft of Allan Graham and Co. This team consists of Allan, his son Gavin and good friend Paul Byers and the lads concentrate on channel racing but have had a difficult time getting their birds in form this season and have missed the first two national races, so not a bad result considering they jumpped their birds into 530 miles. Their bird is a four year old hen having only her second channel race, which has previously won 2nd Fed, 2nd Amal and 14th Cumbria Combine from Messac.  She had been flown on the roundabout system in the early part of the season, having five races with the Copeland North West Club before being repaired on the 25th may and sent sitting 10 day eggs. Breeding wise she’s out of a home bred cock paired to a grand daughter of “Syndale Express”. Once again Dave Travis from Kendal is just pipped for the section win. Dave sent three birds to this 508 mile race and managed to clock one on the day, with the other two both arriving before seven the next morning. Dave’s birds are flown on the natural system and this game dark hen scored at Messac and also scored at Messac and Ancenis last year. All three of Daves birds are Cowood Southwells. Taking 3rd Section O we have another Kendal fancier in Kris Czaplinski. Kris has had a tough year this year with a very heavy work schedule taking its toll on his hobby. He sent two birds to this NFC race and clocked one on the night with the second early next day. His section prizewinner took a week to return from Fougeres earlier this year but is obviously back to peak fitness. He was flown on total widowhood and is Roy Davies and Henry Mair bloodlines. This bird has a win in the Lakeland 2 bird from Carentan and a 3rd Federation Messac to his credit. The winner of the previous two NFC races in section O, Bruce Blamire, entered three birds in this race and takes 4th Section on this occasion, clocking his two year old pigeon after eleven hours and forty four minutes of flying. Bruce is also from the South Lakes town of Kendal.

Section P

Once again conditions didn’t favour the east side, but that’s national racing, and the diehard exponents from this section acquitted themselves admirably. Leading the way was Bruce McAllister who’s consistency will surely be rewarded at open level soon. Bruce said “My first bird is a two year old blue cock racing widowhood. His breeding is Van Dorp from Holland through pigeons purchased from Davis Parsons. Although the winners were doing a mile a minute on the coast our area had a difficult race.  I sent 20 and had 11 when I went to the club, had two more when I returned and one more next morning”. Pat Newell is there again at 2nd section. Pat timed a yearling hen bred from pigeons direct from John Searle. This latebred hen was sent sitting around 10 days had 2 races as sub including Guernsey. This year she has once again been consistent flying 3 or 4 channel races. No firm plans for the rest of the year according to Pat but possibly another of the shorter BICC races. Mick Sontag and son from Harlow are there again this time for 3rd section, here’s what Mick had to say; “I found the race slightly frustrating at because at 11.45 thought I was going to win the National but half an hour later I realised it was out of the question although I thought I could win the section. When I eventually timed in at 14.52, I didn't know whether to phone the NFC verification number or the Samaritans! The pigeon was a two year old which had three channel races as a yearling and three this year, though only round the 300 mile distance. The races have been quite tough with the wind and weather conditions, but this game blue cock never seems to be phased by anything. After speaking to Mark Bulled he has informed me that this bird is bred from the very best long distance lines of Cecil and Mark Bulled and will now be set up for a 500 mile race”.

Fourth section are Trevor and Adrian Wilson who said; “Not a bad race for us getting two out of three on the day and all yearlings too. Our first bird is our little blue yearling hen, called “Nice Surprise”. As a baby she won 3rd Blandford, 2nd Yeovil,1st Yeovil, 6th section with the NFC from Coutances and 226th open B.I.C.C Gurnsey 2. Her sire is our Grizzle Jean Willems stock cock, “First Blood” so called as he was lot one in Jeans first ever sale. Jean only raced 12 cocks and this family of birds have been closely inbred for around 100 years as the family was also his fathers inbred birds. Her dam is a Koopman, daughter of top stock cock “Verious” bred and raced by C&G Koopman. A winner of 9th section 10,171 birds, 31st 12,389 birds, 28th 10,811 birds, 94th 18,543 birds, 79th 13,008 birds. He is half brother to “Magic Man” the bird to beat over 10,000 birds. He is sire and grandsire of birds to win for us right up to 9th open B.I.C.C Falaise etc, we only breed one or two rounds from him each year. He filled his eggs this year at fifteen years old”. Coming in fifth place is the partnership of Mr and Mrs Hawkins from Bishops Stortford. They timed a two year old latebred cock which was trained but not raced as a young bird. As a yearling he was raced inland, before having the two Le Mans races at the end of the old bird season. This year he had been to Messac with the NFC before this latest effort. Bred from their good cock “Domino” 28th and 34th NFC Tarbes and as previously reported, he is bred down from mark Bulled’s “Die Hard”. On the dam side he is from an House of Arden hen, which is a daughter of “Blue Badge” from the Padfield Family. Certainly, bred for the job and if not sent to Tarbes this year, he is definitely one for the future.

Section Q

Perry Liddle put together his usual comprehensive report for the Cornish members. He writes; I would like to thank the fanciers who timed from Cholet for making this one of the easiest reports that I have compiled so far, due to the number of birds that have scored previously. Leading the way with 1st Section Q, Provisional 460th Open, was Mervin Elliott of Hayle, who timed his three year old blue chequer cock, at 15:04 to record 1,087ypm. This cock, now having his third trip across the water, was flying to10 day eggs. He is a Honeysuckle Janssen X Hereman-Ceusters and he has been a wonderfully consistent bird for Merv, having flown NFC Messac last year, as well as winning 1st Section 302nd Open from Fougeres four weeks ago. Merv was delighted with the performance when we spoke on Sunday morning and he was rightfully very proud of his bird’s achievement and of course having a Double Section winner puts Merv in a wonderful position; as he builds his channel team. Well Done Merv, another great performance into Cornwall. Second Section Q, Provisional 461th Open was the Angwin Family of Penzance, who timed their 2yo blue chequer white flighted hen, flying to 18 day eggs at 15:10 to record 1,085ypm. She is bred from their old distance blood being bred from the good cock that flew Tarbes last year; a blend of their old Hofkins when crossed with a son of Chris Gordon’s “Snydale Express”, which won 1st Open Tarbes at 725miles in 2005, with the dam being pure Hofkins. John described how the hen was sitting so tight that that she would hardly let her cock bird near the nest. I must say hard luck to the Angwins, because after an 8 hour fly they were beaten by only 2 ypm for the coveted 1st prize. Third Section Q, Provisional 466th Open was Jake Waldock of St Austell, who timed his yearling dark chequer cock, sitting on 9 day eggs, at 15:03 to record 1,053ypm. His timer, has been timed in each of this year’s NFC Races, winning 319th Open Fougeres, 303rd Open Messac and now 466th Open Cholet, so as he has made my life easy, I shall call him “Cut N Paste” in future! Jake describes his family as good all-rounders being based around the blood of good multi performance channel birds and “Cut N Paste” contains an eclectic blend of blood including the lines from David Vowles, “Untouchable” from John Halstead, “Silvia” a Spanish Diploma of Merit Award winner from Bill Stribling as well as the Southwell lines of “Lady Jane” a Double Spanish Diploma of Merit Award winner and Jimmy Shepherd. Obviously delighted, Jake certainly has a real good one for the future. Fourth Section Q, Provisional 480th Open was Mervin Elliott again, this time with a 3yo dark chequer cock sitting 10 day eggs. Vandenabeele X Hereman-Ceusters cock at 15:42 to record 1,008ypm. This cock was having his third trip across the water having flown Ancenis last year as well as being Merv’s second timer from Fougeres on that occasion winning 3rd Section 336th Open. Another great team performance from Merv, who is certainly proving to be the man to beat from across the water this year. Fifth Section Q, Provisional 499th Open was Keith Frost of St Austell who timed his good 2yo blue bar cock, driving to nest, at 16:29 to record 892ypm. Keith is having his usual top season in our local St Austell Club. Normally his team of Frans Zwols pigeons hold all before them, but on this occasion, his timer is from Ian Camron of Lincolnshire bloodlines. Continuing with this weeks’ theme, as well as being the winner previously of 2 x 3rd Club as well as 1st Club and Federation, he was also 3rd Section 296th Open from Messac.

Section W

Firstly, all the NFC members sending from the Cwmtillery marking station would like to  congratulate Howells & Johnson for winning 1st section with the same bird that was previously 2nd section in the Messac race . A two year old blue hen that had previously been 80th Messac in 2018 and 100% Geoff kirkland from a grandson of “The Snake” when paired with a pigeon down through the "The Streeter", bred and raced by Frank Bristow in Horbling, which had won twenty first prizes in the club and topped the Federation five times. The dam was first section J 9th Open NFC against 8,635 birds which was also from Geoff Kirkland “Snake” lines. G.Treharne & son were second with a two year old blue hen which is an Eijerkamp Van Loon bred from a son of “Lady Elanora” and a granddaughter of “Kain” a sister of our 1st National Saintes winner. The hen has previously won 12th open BICC Le Mans as a yearling and is raced on the roundabout system. Mark Sparry is third section with a four year old chequer cock which is bred from “Southfield Supreme x Deweerdt bloodlines originating from Mark Gilbert. This cock has previously won 3rd section Tarbes in the hard 2018 Tarbes NFC race. Fourth was D Jones with a yearling cock and from fifteen sent he had thirteen home, so he enjoyed an excellent race. Fifth section was K Lloyd & S Bagnall with a seven year old chequer Busscheart cock raced on the roundabout system and has won 3rd Failaise, 6th Messac, 4th Fougeres, 13th West Sect Bordeaux, 229th Open MNFC, 8th West Sect Messac, 11th West sec plus many more prizes for this very consistant racer. They entered three and got all three home.

1st Sec A-D & D McFadden, Cranleigh
1st Sec A-D & D McFadden, Cranleigh
3rd Sec A-D Bridger, Littlehampton
3rd Sec A-D Bridger, Littlehampton
3rd Sec J-R Stokes & Son, Cleobury ...
3rd Sec J-R Stokes & Son, Cleobury Mortimer
1st Sec N-Robert McKie,Newcastle up...
1st Sec N-Robert McKie,Newcastle upon Tyne
1st Sec P-B McAllister, Nr Buntingf...
1st Sec P-B McAllister, Nr Buntingford
1st Sec K-C & E Lee, Mansfield
1st Sec K-C & E Lee, Mansfield
2nd Sec H-C Crick & Son, Stotfold
2nd Sec H-C Crick & Son, Stotfold
5th Sec A-C T Ayling, Havant
5th Sec A-C T Ayling, Havant
1st Sec E-G Inkley, Uxbridge
1st Sec E-G Inkley, Uxbridge
1st Sec L-G Bowyer, Congleton
1st Sec L-G Bowyer, Congleton
3rd Sec B-George Willett & Son, Por...
3rd Sec B-George Willett & Son, Portsmouth
1st Sec J-G Clift, Tirley
1st Sec J-G Clift, Tirley
1st Sec H-H Walker, Newark
1st Sec H-H Walker, Newark
2nd Sec N-J Walton & Son, Coxhoe
2nd Sec N-J Walton & Son, Coxhoe
1st Sec G-D & J Staddon, Ditcheat
1st Sec G-D & J Staddon, Ditcheat
3rd Sec H-John Black, Stotfold
3rd Sec H-John Black, Stotfold
3rd Sec C-Mr J P Halstead, Nr Gilli...
3rd Sec C-Mr J P Halstead, Nr Gillingham
2nd Sec A-J May & Son, Hambrook
2nd Sec A-J May & Son,	Hambrook
2nd Sec I-Mr & Mrs.J.Passey & Famil...
2nd Sec I-Mr & Mrs.J.Passey & Family, Norton Juxta Twycross
1st Sec Q-Mr.M.C.Elliott, Hayle
1st Sec Q-Mr.M.C.Elliott, Hayle
1st Sec I-M Lennon, Nuneaton
1st Sec I-M Lennon, Nuneaton
4th Sec A-Mr M J Skidmore, Havant
4th Sec A-Mr M J Skidmore, Havant
6th Sec P-M.Sontag & Son, Harlow
6th Sec P-M.Sontag & Son, Harlow
1st Sec B-Mr Michael Moody, Southam...
1st Sec B-Mr Michael Moody, Southampton
1st Sec C-M R Staddon, Crewkerne
1st Sec C-M R Staddon, Crewkerne
3rd Sec C-Neville & Diana Spracklen...
3rd Sec C-Neville & Diana Spracklen, Dorchester
1st Sec O-Allan Graham & Co., Cleat...
1st Sec O-Allan Graham & Co., Cleator Moor
5th Sec I-Peter John Bicknell, Sout...
5th Sec I-Peter John Bicknell, Southam
5th Sec C-Mr & Mrs.Hodges, Templeco...
5th Sec C-Mr & Mrs.Hodges, Templecombe
2nd Sec E-R J Lowe, Reading
2nd Sec E-R J Lowe, Reading
2nd Sec L-J R Sutton, Congleton
2nd Sec L-J R Sutton, Congleton
6th Sec E-R F Lacey, High Wycombe
6th Sec E-R F Lacey, High Wycombe
5th Sec D-Simon Cordery, Sidmouth
5th Sec D-Simon Cordery, Sidmouth
5th Sec H-S.Charbrowski, Wellingbor...
5th Sec H-S.Charbrowski, Wellingborough
2nd Sec G-S Luff & Walker Bros., Du...
2nd Sec G-S Luff & Walker Bros., Dursley
1st Sec D-Mr C Stevens & Sue White,...
1st Sec D-Mr C Stevens & Sue White, Sidmouth
7th Sec P-Trevor & Adrian Wilson, M...
7th Sec P-Trevor & Adrian Wilson, Manuden