National Flying Club

Chale Young Birds

Report by Les J. Parkinson & Cameron Stansfield of www.elimarpigeons.com

This was always going to be a tough race for some after the holdover with the strong winds and showers around the country. The section vels were considerably different from the 2000 plus ypm to the winning loft down to the 800ypm plus vels of the section winners in sections C, D&G. Congratulations go to all winners in the final race in what has been a very trying National season.

1st section E 1st Open goes to the partnership of Alan & Gary Young and their star of the moment “Louisa”, their provisional winning pigeon in the Chale YB National. The sire was bred the well known multi-National winner Geoff Kirkland while the dam was bred by their good friend Davy Hunt of Dagenham. This was “Louisa’s” sixth race of the year and she was a quarter up on her fifth flight. Unlike many of the paired, darkness or any other modern day system this is a natural winner racing to the perch that has been a very consistent pigeon in her first season on the road. Unfortunately due to time and the e-mail system we have no more information but we would like the partnership to forward more on their system, birds etc and a couple of photos for a future article.

1st Open NFC Chale YB for Alan & Gary Young

Winning 1st Section A is the very successful partnership of Ian Crammond & Nigel Langstaff of Fontwell in Sussex who clocked within 32mins of liberation at 2.57pm, recording a vel of 1886ypm. The partnership were less than pleased with the decision to race from Chale so just entered their “A” rung pigeons and topped them up with a few N rung birds to make a team of 12 for the race. The section winner is a darkness hen flown celibate and was bred from a pair of pigeons gifted to Ian & Nigel by the well known Barber & Hilson partnership. George Hilson is a good friend and they regularly exchange pigeons from their best lines. George joins them from time to time when they go on their annual visits to Holland and Belgium. The bloodlines of this winner originate from Bill Bailey via George and are essentially Maurice Mathheeuws. This section win follows a run of Classic wins this season including 1st & 2nd open BICC Exeter1966 birds. 15th & 16th open BICC Yelverton 2509 birds. 1st 2nd 3rd LSECC Wadebridge 2698 birds. 5th open BICC Wadebridge 1320 birds. 2nd sec NFC Sennen Cove 5350 birds.1st 2nd 4th 6th Solent fed Yelverton 2407 birds. 5th sec 574th open St Nazaire NFC 4483 birds. 8th sec 269th open BBC Messac 1781 birds. 1st sec A 409th open St Malo 4073 birds. 3rd & 4th sec 140th 159th open NFC saintes 3144 birds. 4th 6th sec G 8th 21st open BBC Bordeaux 1654 birds. 16th sec 106th open NFC Bordeaux 2810 birds.

1st Section B is won by Lee Willett who was away in Wales at a loft waiting for a friend’s pigeons while giving me this information so enjoyed two big races on consecutive days. I very often say that pigeons don’t need a lot of races before going into the big ones, well in the case of this pigeon he had none, that is apart from a few training tosses. The reason was that this one as one of Lee’s special rings on so he didn’t want to lose it before the big one, in fact he kept all his nom rings back because they were not sure what route they were going to be racing. When I say didn’t want to lose it the reason is that Lee finds that these pigeons can soon go down as young birds but after that they are fine. Every year Lee brings in pigeons from Mr & Mrs Hoad of Woking because they have always won for him. In the case of this pigeon the breeding is out of the SMT Messac combine winner. The young birds are raced on the darkness but this loft is strictly a channel loft as over the water is where he likes to race his birds.

Lee Willett

1st Section C goes to F & J Halstead where the birds had to fly into a strong head wind and this is the first young bird section winner to these lofts since John moved from the Midlands to Dorset 4yrs ago. This adds to the impressive record of 5 NFC young bird section winners in the last 11yrs for John. This section winner, in line with 4 of the previous winners, contains some Busschaert bloodlines but this time crossed with a good Vandenabeele hen being direct from M & D. Evans stock. The sire to this “A Rung” chequer cock is the “Dorset Dart”, winner of 6 x 1sts and twice 1st Staffs & Moorlands Federation and now sire to a 2nd NFC section winner, the other being the Old Hens National winner of 2004. All John’s young bird section winners have been raced on the darkness system, which has been fine tuned over the years to enable the youngsters to perform to the best of their ability. John says many fanciers have good pigeons but fail to get the best out of them through sticking with the same old ways. Starting the season with 35 young birds on the darkness, only 3 have so far been lost racing and 5 training. This season cocks and hens are all in together, several having nests and eggs but at the time of basketing, this cock was driving a young blue hen to nest. He also had a young chequer hen showing to him whenever the blue was away.

Section D once again sees A & D. Hodge in pole position. This win follows their 1st Section Saintes and 2nd Section, 2nd Open St Malo this season. The events leading up to thiswin were amusing. On arriving at the Exeter marking station his basket opened and all his birds got out. Andy at first decided not to send but Nobby Henley and Andy Cridland persuaded him to go home and get them back. Another twist of fate is that this pigeon was given to Andy by Andy Cridland after enteringAndy’s loft on a couple of occasions from joint training tosses. Andy’s birds have had 2 build up races with Devon & Cornwall Continental FC, from Chale, again proving that this club is amust for tuning up for the NFC. He would like to thank Nobby and Mike Henley on the dedication they both show in supportingSection Dmembers and alsoPaul Naum for his sponsorship of Section D this year.The pigeon is aClive Lister Gaby Vandenabeele, with its nestmate being 2nd Section D for Andy Cridland. This race was extremely difficult for all Section D fanciers, a howling southwest wind proving extremely testing. The two Andys both had 9 out of 10, proving the new transporter is a major factor in keeping the young birds in excellent condition, the birds looking great on their return. Well done Andy and Denise, a great season, thoroughly deserved by dedicated fanciers. Thanks to Andy Cridland for these details.

Andy Hodge

1st Section F is won by Peter J Campbell who used to race his birds up north in Carlisle and decided to move down to Basingstoke in December 2001 to fly in the nationals and classics on a much more level playing field. When Peter moved down he decided to purchase birds from Louella and obtained his Silvere Toye pigeons in kits of 10 and 12.  These birds have served him well winning many club firsts and some decent classic and national positions. Last year Peter decided to buy some of their performance Janssens, again from kits of 6 for £99. Two of these birds were paired together this year and bred a Red Chequer hen, which is the bird which was clocked on Sunday in the YB National. She has been a consistent little hen, always arriving just after the first couple of birds and on one occasion actually pulled out of a large batch of birds directly above the loft, which had just been released from Basingstoke with the wind pushing them over his location without following them a single yard. Peter was pleased to see her do this because it showed him that she had the brains and ability to pull out of a large batch. Peter named her Little Red Niamh after his 9-month-old daughter. Peter was also 3rd section Old hens with a 2yo Dark hen who was stitched up as a yb by club member Dave Hawthorne’s wife Gill. This hen is his tame hen who thinks Peter is her mate and always shows to him when he goes into the loft.  She is a Toye x Janssen At the end of June Peter had to move the birds out of the garden to their present location because they moved house due to all the problems they had from their neighbours over the previous 12 months.

Peter campbell

1st section G were T J Cocks & Son with son Simon sending the following information. ‘The winning pigeon is a blue white flight Barker cock, bred off of stock purchased from Mike Owen of Wales. He was sent driving a hen and has previously won 1st Minstead in the Bath South Road Club. Young birds are fed 50% Versele Laga Gerry Plus, 50% maples. They get electrolytes in the water on return from racing and garlic and vitamins during the week. We tried the darkness system this year for the first time and after this result will probably try it again next year. The winner’s dam is pure Barker from Mike Owen and last season took 14th section, 52nd Open from San Sebastian in the British Barcelona Club. The sire took 2nd Club Saintes last season. Both birds have previously bred winners. The photo is of Simon, son and partner of Trevor Cocks & Son, holding the successful bird. Trevor, who does all the work with the birds, unfortunately went on holiday before the photo was taken. The champagne will be in the fridge for his return! Winning the section has been the highlight of what has been one of our most successful seasons in our 20 years of racing pigeons. May we also take this opportunity to congratulate all the other section winners of this race.’

Simon Cocks

It was a great day at the Polstead lofts of G. & T. Harris, with them winning Section H with both Young Birds and Old Hens. This is what Trevor had to say: ‘I have taken a lot of flack for saying what I am going to achieve but I have self-belief and belief in my pigeons, without which you will never achieve anything. The birds went up at 2.25pm and, flying 136 miles,I expected the race to be very fast. Just in case, my father and I sat in the garden from 4pm waiting for the birds to come home and at 16.34 we saw 2 birds coming. They went straight into the widowhood cocks’ loft. One was an old hen and the other a young bird. I lost no time and clocked the old hen at 16.36.05 and the young bird at 16.36.11. The old henis a 2002Louella Jan Aarden and was my first pigeon home from Bergerac in the BICC race of 500 miles in July. I kept her flying with the babies and sent her to a race the week before the National. She is always trouble to get in and had paired up with 3 different cocks in the last 2 days before marking as I had to let her in the cocks’ section all the time or she would stay out all day. When she came home she had a choice of 3 mates so no wonder she was quick. The young bird is also a Louella JanAarden hen and has been to every young bird race but she was not one of my fancied pigeons. As I sent 40 to the race I could not pool them all so had to choose a few to back.’ Trevor says he keeps his birds healthy by using Travipharma products and that you will never win if the pigeons are not right. This has been a great season for the Polstead lofts with 3 Section wins in the no 1 club in the UK and also he has had some very good results in the BICC. Not surprisingly, he says ‘roll on next season’.

Trevor Harris

1st section I were Gary Daykin & Son & Evans, a very well known top National winning loft from Carlton, Nottingham. This year the pigeons have not been worked as hard as Gary would like, the main reason being that Gary does not race in the weekly clubs and feds, consequently they have only had a limited number of inland races, mainly with the MNFC. For this season the pigeons are being raced on the roundabout with a team of between 60/70 being available. The system is working quite well even though there is more work involved. Knowing how many good performances Gary has achieved I asked about the best of them all. It didn’t take too long before he told me that it would be a toss up between Picauville and Chale, which were both fantastic results. The next question was what does it take to be a winner? “Good fanciers and good pigeons will always win whether racing on the north or south routes. You need the right tools for the job and the right pigeons for the management system that you have in place.” Gary finished by telling me about the Soontjen family and in his opinion they are something special, particularly if you have the right lines form the originals that came over.

1st section J sees Mr & Mrs Nigel Shaw add to their good performances to date at National level having won 2x2nds and 1x3rd section and this first section win tops off another good season. This is a red hen flown on the darkness system and feeding a four day old youngster. She has previously won the Audlem HS from Exeter and been 7th in the Market Drayton 2B. This hen was lucky to have a 1st section to her name because she was the second to the loft with the first not trapping until 43 seconds later. The section winner is a Jan Theelan hen bred by Nigel’s good friend Richard Windsor from R.Windsor & Sons. These last few years Nigel has had a real good spell at National level with many top performances and is a real dedicated fancier who never knows when to give up. Nigel works hard in his building business and expects the pigeons to work hard to earn their perch.

Mr & Mrs Nigel Shaw

1st section K is Peter Hagland who said that he is having the kind of season you dream of having but doesn’t come around as often as you would like. He is really on a high and wonders when the bubble will burst. Peter’s section winner is a Janssen/Herman chequer hen raced on the roundabout and he did have a good race with 9 in the clock. The sire is out of Peter’s 2nd Open Saintes cock when paired to a daughter of the Herman cock, winner of 18 x 1sts so there are plenty of winning genes in the breeding. The young birds have been racing well as a team all season and nothing is stopping them. It is never a fluke when pigeons are flying well and Peter puts it down to them being happy and content around the lofts. They have been in such good form that Peter has not even trained them for over a month prior to this National race as they have been exercising so well around home. Peter is like a growing band of National flyers because he sends only in the Provincial as a means of experience for the National races. There are more and more fanciers going onto this system because of the time required to get pigeons right for the weekly racing. Peter did say that a lot of credit must go to his wife who is a real treasure and does a lot of work and he would have a problem without her.

1st section L goes to Eric Taylor who is one of the most consistent young bird flyers I know and a hard worker with them. Eric was telling me that they go in the basket that much they settle down for a sleep straight away. This winner is a pencil-pied cock from the Verheye/McDonald lines that have been winning for Eric for many years. For this race this big strong cock was driving a hen to nest, Eric has been playing around with them to keep them interested. He is in fine form having been 1st club, 2nd fed the week before so is on a roll and no doubt Eric will be sending him on for another race or two, that’s if he can find them. The sire has won a few prizes including 1st with the dam also doing well and finishing around the top 50 in the National as a young bird. The winnings go even further back to the grandparents, so a good line kept going.

 

 

 

 

NFC FOUGERES

sponsored by Stretton Builders Ltd

Report by Cameron Stansfield & Les Parkinson of www.elimarpigeons.com

The first race of the 2007 season for the National Flying Club was flown last Saturday when the super entry of 6,722 birds was liberated from Fougeres at 7.15am in a light west wind. Given the strength of the wind this was always going to be a race which favoured fanciers east of centre but to counter balance this there was an excellent send from fanciers to the western side of the country with, for example, over 800 birds heading up into Section J and over a thousand into Section L.

Lee Jackson with his National winner.

The success of the race can be gauged by the comment of NFC secretary Sid Barkel who told us that this was the highest percentage of verifications he had ever seen. A contributory factor in this must be the fantastic transporters, which have been improved upon by replacing the metal crate floors with wire mesh. The temperature was modest on Saturday but the full benefit of the air conditioning and 8ft of drinking trough per crate will surely be felt when the convoy head deeper into France this summer. Also worth recording was the excellent entry off 477 birds into Section D, historically the least favoured of all the Sections. This entry will be of great encouragement to Section D committee representatives Nobby Henley and Paul Naum who have worked tirelessly to see this Section grow. Indeed Paul provided cash sponsorship for Section D in this race. No doubt another contributory factor to the excellent birdage was the fact that fanciers could withhold their entry forms until the Monday prior to race-marking, allowing them to monitor the likely wind conditions. Judging by the number of Section winners in this report which are going to be sent back to the next race from Cholet, it could be a bumper send. If you are planning to use the Lion Brewery at Ash their marking times will now be from 12 noon to 4pm, and also the Bell Inn at Chichester are to change from 3.15pm to 6.15pm for all races. Please note, if you are not already aware, that you can track the path of the leading pigeons as they work their way up country by monitoring www.nationalflyingclub.co.uk, which provides a brilliant insight, and also a full report plus photos will appear on www.elimarpigeons.com by the Monday or Tuesday following each National race.

Section Summary: A 393 birds/61 members; B 447/57; C 191/25; D 477/90; E 1,139/128; F 101/18; G 509/78; H 290/49; I 518/54; J 838/114; K 757/87; L 1,062/156; Totals 6,722 917.

Marking Station Summary: Alveley 614 birds/85 members; Ash 797/90; Ashby-de-La Zouche 311/35; Bell Inn, 716/99; Crewe 1,450/196; Exeter 545/97; Frome 825/125; G Shelford 701/103; Sheffield 763/87; Totals 6,722/917.

Convoyer’s  Report

Thursday: All birds were fed and watered at marking stations, except Sheffield due to early marking. Their birds were given a light feed in mid-afternoon during driver’s break. We did not arrive at the docks until late evening.

Friday: Arrived Cherbourg at 0615hours. Vehicles parked up for two and a half hours and water put on for the duration. We arrived at the liberation site at 1140hours and water was put on immediately; birds were given a full feed and re-watered at 1415hours. This task was completed by 1545hours. The weather at the time was rain. Spoke to race advisor at 1555hours; he said we should have a good chance of a liberation on Saturday morning. After a discussion he said he would call on Saturday morning. Birds were checked at 1815hours and water topped-up. Birds were checked again at 2030hours and all was well, with birds very comfortable and some lying down and resting. They were then left to settle for the night. With the new floors in the crates the birds are kept very clean and not messed-up.

Saturday: Out and about at 0500hours. Topped-up water and checked birds and all was well. Race advisor called at 0615hours with a good line of flight and left it with me to decide when I thought conditions were right at the liberation sight. Weather on site was getting better by the minute with blue sky and sunshine. I made the decision to liberate. The strings were cut and the birds were away at 0715hours, clearing the site within two minutes. Travelling back to Cherbourg the visibility was very good with blue sky and broken cloud. On arrival at Cherbourg the visibility was good on the Channel; 15 miles+.

Many thanks to Paul, Ian and Mark for all their help and hard work. Well done, lads. And thanks also for the help we received at some marking stations. - Geoff Allen, Chief Convoyer N.F.C.

Now onto the race, and the honour of winning 1st Section E, 1st Open goes to Peter Jackson & son Lee of Bromley in Kent, and Lee had this to say: ‘We fly as P. Jackson & Son, Peter being my father, although my son Joe and I are the main active members of our success, that’s not forgetting my wife Claire and my 13 year old daughter Kitty who also rallies to the cries of help when the work load is hectic. I guess you could say it’s a family affair. I have raced pigeons since a child alongside my father, grandfather and uncle flying both north and south routes. I've named the pigeon 'The Outlaw Cock’. He is v. d. Fleas x Jos Thone ‘Sumo’ line. Sire is Mr Purdy and the dam is Miss Inquisitive, who was bred for stock by me. She is a direct daughter of 'Sumo's Prince' purchased by me from Jos Thone who escaped and returned approx 260 miles back to Jos' loft in bad weather. He is a 2y cock on full widowhood, exercised morning and night and fed a good quality widowhood mix and not broken down. Prior to this he had 5 races to 167 miles inland taking 1st Club, 2nd Surrey Federation beaten by 3ypm in an east wind, the winner being 32 miles to the south-west of us. This was his second race on the widowhood. On arrival he was roaring and he never left his bowl for at least an hour and his hen was standing on him. Contentment is the word. As to where he will go next, I find this a big stumbling block as the channel can be a ‘graveyard’, then I ask myself how do you create a true champion? His parents are still breeding in the stock loft. I bred the mother myself and have a nucleus of pigeons around these lines. Retiring him to stock for financial gain? Anyone who knows me will agree I'm not in it for the money – it’s a religion - and a champion is my and every fancier’s dream! Can history repeat itself or lightning strike twice? The old saying, If you're not innit you can’t win it comes to mind so watch this space. The pigeon is only part of the process of success - effort and commitment are just as important. From this race I am one short out of 15 and my ambition is to build a team of consistent channel pigeons and compete at all distances including on the International scene. Some of our major positions won prior to this are: 6th Old Hens NFC; 17th and 21st twice young bird national NFC; 1st SMT combine Plymouth YB with 12 in the first 20 positions. The following year, 2nd and 4th SMT combine Yelverton YB; 3rdOpen LSECC Bergerac OB & 4th Open LSECC Cholet. This week I won the inland race. I was beaten last week with one of my own pigeons from Fougeres into 2nd Club, 5th Surrey Federation. We believe that well-bred pigeons which are super fit, healthy and most important happy, grow in confidence and go on to perform at all levels of competition. Regular checks with a competent veterinary surgeon are so important as small underlying problems, which are not obvious to us, can have a detrimental effect on form, for one example, ‘thrush’. Our advice is don’t treat blind, it spells disaster. As I say, it’s a family affair. Trying to compete in all races you need help, and in this day and age the paperwork alone can be a full-time job, without taking into consideration the management of the pigeons. I’m a lucky man that my son, who is my rock re the everyday management, my wife, who keeps the paperwork in order, and my daughter, who now puts the personal touches into my young birds, give me the time to be more observant with the pigeons. I dedicate this win to my family and thanks for the help during the highs and lows, the lows being soul destroying.’

‘The Outlaw Cock’, 1st Open NFC Fougeres.

1st Section A, 3rd Open is Tracy Andrew of Brighton. Tracy has raced pigeons since his schooldays in the 1950s and gets a great deal of help from his wife. He timed a 2y gay chequer pied hen on roundabout who is bred from a family of pigeons from Terry Tregonning of South Wales. This was only her second race of the year. She flew Guernsey two weeks prior and then had a week’s rest. As a yearling she was 109th Open Bordeaux National. Tracy said he nearly missed her as she went straight up to her cock and that she was in excellent condition. She will now probably have a Guernsey race with his local club and then be re-paired for Tarbes, which it has always been his ambition to win. Indeed, when he was a national schoolboy champion in 1956 he was presented with his trophy by the Duke of Edinburgh and when the Duke asked what his ambition was, he replied, ‘To win the Pau national’, so he then had to explain what it was. Tracy, who had 3 out of his 4 entries in good time, says he races pigeons for pure enjoyment and does not pool.

1st Section A for Tracy Andrew of Brighton.

Tracy Andrew, 1st Section A.

1st Section B are Moody & Mitchell Loft 1 of Paulsgrove. They have been racing since 1994 and have two lofts, one which sends to the Federation while the other sends to the Classics and Nationals on alternative weeks. They clocked a 3y cheq pied Maurice Mattheeuws natural hen. Her sire won the Solent Fed from Exeter 5,200 birds and is now in the stock loft, and her dam has always been stock. She is the old unrung hen and has bred top winners. The majority of these pigeons go back to two pairs that were purchased in 1995. Their winner flew Kingsdown 1, missed a week and then flew Picauville two weeks before this race. She has won a few minor cards but never a first before. She was in A1 condition and was not interested in food or water. Her next race will be Cholet with the NFC. The partners sent 15 and had 13 on the day and another on Sunday. After no end of success locally they are now going after the Classic and National races, no doubt having been spurred on by being 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Sennen Cove with the CSCFC in 2001, and just last year they won the section from St Nazaire with the NFC. Gary was saying that the National is going forward with the new book and the transporters. He would like to thank his partner Dave and also wife Emily who did the training for this race.

Moody & Mitchell, 1st Section B.

Gary Riley of Dorchester, who has only been in the sport for three years, wins 1st Section C with a 2y Busschaert widowhood cock that flew Picauville and Yelverton as a prep for this. It has a few club prizes to its name and plans for where he goes next are fluid. This was an excellent performance bearing in mind the wind on the day and Gary, who had all 10 of his entries home, said that his winner was in fair condition on arrival. His ambition is to win a National.

Gary Riley, 1st Section C.

Gary Riley’s Section winner.

Andy Cridland went out of his way to cover Section D and had this to say: ‘The report for the provisional winner of Section D takes us to the leafy village of Payhembury, near Cullompton, Devon. I was met at the gates by Bob & Christine Kirby, proud winners of Section D. Their pigeon, a red chequer Pouw Broscock raced on widowhood, looked and handled superbly being apple bodied with silky smooth feathering and a lovely yellow racing eye. The parents of this pigeon were purchased at Wesley Selway’s entire clearance sale. Sire is the 800 cock, and dam Skinny 149. Wes, himself a national winner, was on hand to see the winner arrive. Bob has acquired some excellent birds from Wesley. Add to this, children from National Fideel, TC and Shadow in the purpose self-built stock and race loftsand the future looks rosy. Bob& Christine race with the Honiton club and the competitive Devon & Cornwall Continental FC. The bird has had 4 races to date, including the Devon & Cornwall Chale race, wherethe partnership will be prominent in the final result. Bob feels this organisation is a must for tuning birds for the nationals. This is their first year back racing old birds since 1990, and they timed3 pigeons, getting 10 out of 13 home by Sunday. It was a tough race in these parts witha south-west wind, but the good pigeons made short work of it, a 1300ypm velocity proving this. Bob& Christine would like to thank the NFC and its convoyers for an excellent race, and I would like to thank the partnership for the opportunity to see a marvellous set up with beautiful views across the Culm Valley.’

Bob & Christine Kirby, 1st Section D.

1st Section F went to Gordon Seeney of Didcot, a fancier for over 40 years, who clocked a yearling roundabout hen of Berlangee Delbar x Jannsen lines. A previous winner of 3rd club Picauville, she was in good condition on arrival and will now be aimed at NFC Cholet a week Saturday. Gordon, whose returns were 50 per cent, has previously won 1st North East Section Southern Classic and 3rd Section Young Bird National. Asked for his ambition, he replied: ‘Must do better!’

Gordon Seeney, 1st Section F.

1st Section G goes to Trevor & Simon Cocks of Bath, a father and son partnership with 66 years’ combined experience between them. They timed a yearling hen sent sitting eggs 10 days and she is from a Janssen sire and a Barker hen. She took 4th Club Littlehampton as a young bird and flew Minstead and Chale with the Bath South Road prior to this. Although she was in excellent condition they said she knew she had had a race so they are undecided where she will go next. Their returns were 4 from 4. They have two ambitions: to time a pigeon from Palamos and to win an open be it National or Classic. They have now recorded back-to back section wins having won 1st Section G in the 2006 Young Bird Chale race.

Trevor Cocks holding the Section G winner and Simon Cocks holding last year’s Young Bird National section winner.

Lo and behold NFC committee member Trevor Harris does it again by winning Section H for the sixth time. Trevor, who races with his father and mother to their loft in Colchester, is a relative newcomer to the sport having only raced since 1999. He used to fly both north and south but in 2006 turned his attentions solely to the south and how it has paid off. His timer is a son of ‘96’, one of his best pigeons, winner of the Essex & Suffolk Border Fed in 2000. Trevor says he was always his first pigeon home but would sit on the wires and wait for others and, but for that, would have won may more races. The Section winner is a Louella Willy van Houtte and has been consistent without scoring before. Trevor had high hopes for him last year but he came back injured from a race from Exeter. He always gives his pigeons a second chance and he set him up for this on chipping eggs. He went to Tilbury 43 miles on April 10th, Eastbourne 90 miles on April 21st, BICC Falaise on the 28th April and Eastbourne on the 12th May. In A1 condition on arrival, he will now be going to NFC Cholet. Trevor won Section H twice in 2004, and three times in 2006, and it is his ambition to win the open in the NFC, which he regards as the number 1 club in the UK. He finished by saying: ‘I believe in keeping the birds fit and healthy and use Travipharma products; many fanciers spend thousands on pigeons but little on supplements. And always give a bird a second chance. Surley now I must be rated one of the best, if not the best flyer in Norfolk & Suffolk.’

Trevor Harris, 1st Section.

Trevor Harris’ Section H after he was injured as a youngster.

Another fancier who is no stranger to winning his Section is Jeremy Wright of Lutterworth in Section I. Indeed he was 1st Old Hens National 2002 from Guernsey, a race in which he has won the section for 5 consecutive years, and he has had 7 x 1st sections in all. Showing he can race cocks, too, he clocked a 4y widowhood grizzle cock called ‘The Ghost’, so named because he was found in the loft from a previous NFC race. His sire is the old original Halterman cross Willy Thas, and his dam is a FVW that came from Brian Leabeater of Rugeley; this hen also bred the 2005 section winner which, coincidentally, was also from Fougeres. ‘The Ghost’, who was 4th Section, 39th Open Saintes in 2006 and has won minor club prizes, had a couple of inland races before this and, all being well, will go to Cholet with the NFC. Jeremy had 10 out of 12 on the day and said that although ‘The Ghost’ had put everything in he came home in very good condition. He would like to acknowledge Frank Tasker’s advice and help in establishing his Halterman family for without this help he would not be in the strong position that he is today with his excellent team of National performance pigeons.

Jeremy Wright, 1st Section I – again!

Mr & Mrs Geoff Kirland come out on top in Section J timing a 3y widowhood cock who is half Flor Engels and half their old breed. A previous winner of minor prizes plus 3rd Section Midland National, he had three Mangotsfields and two Hullavington prior to this, Geoff being a believer in frequent racing so that a bird develops basket craft. They had 9 out of 10 in no time and asked about their condition, Geoff said: ‘Perfect - all of them’. They will now be targeted at NFC Cholet. I asked Geoff at the NFC Annual Dinner in Southport 18 months ago if he was still as keen as ever and he replied, ‘Keener’. I would not bet against him adding to his tally of 10 x 1st Nationals, 6 x 2nds and 5 x 3rds. Has there ever been a better fancier? A full profile on his methods can be found on www.elimarpigeons.com under the articles section.

The loft of Mr & Mrs Geoff Kirkland.

We now come to another top loft, that of Peter Hagland of Doncaster. Peter clocked two in a minute and four inside 11 minutes to carry on the sort of golden form he enjoyed in 2006. In fact he has now won Section K in the last three NFC races, his other wins being from Chale Young Birds where he was 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th & 13th Section, and 1st & 2nd Saintes, 2nd & 3rd Open timing two hens 7 seconds apart after 530 miles! As with Geoff Kirkland, a comprehensive loft report on Peter can be found on www.elimarpigeons.com under the articles section. He races both widowhood cocks and hens and on this occasion timed a yearling chequer cock who is half Herman and half Janssen and he is nestmate to the one that won the section in the young bird Chale race with the NFC. He had 5 races down to the coast but these were training tosses really as Peter only has a clock set for the Nationals. He says the cock was in brilliant condition on arrival and he will be going to NFC Alencon next, which is some way off; he likes to plan everything out and does not give his birds too much work. Peter’s second pigeon was 3rd Open in the MNFC at Alencon in 2006. Peter had 22 out of 25 on the day and, after 5 x 1st Sections, his ambition is now to win a National outright. He says pigeon racing is all about keeping the pigeons healthy and preparing them for set races.

Peter & Cynthia Hagland, 1st Section K for the third race running.

1st Section L goes to Henry Gray of Rochdale flying 366 miles. He has been flying since 2000 so is a comparative newcomer to the sport. His timer is a blue w/f yearling M & D Evans Vandenabeele hen, her dam being out of Jester & Carrie and her sire being out of Gaby 600. The system used here is to race the sexes separately but they were left together after they returned from the previous week’s race. This hen was unraced as a youngster as Henry doesn’t usually race hens but he’s glad he did for the 2007 season! He said his hen was in such good condition he couldn’t believe it. This was his first race with the NFC and the aim now is to win the National.

Henry Gray, 1st Section L.

All in all this was a brilliant race for the National, which augurs well for the rest of the season.

21/5/07