ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB
by George Wheatman
DUNBAR - SEPTEMBER 2012
Young bird race
It was a bittersweet moment for Albert Sayers when the Louth partnership of Dales and Sayers were confirmed as winners of the North Road Championship Club’s young bird national for the second successive year.
Last year he had shared the glory with his partner Tim Dales. This year he was photographed alone with the winning bird from Dunbar which now carries the name Orchard Tim.
Only a few weeks earlier, game dealer Tim had lost his battle against that ruthless enemy, cancer.
The two men, top-class fanciers as individuals, had joined forces to become a partnership feared among NRCC members.
Together they had won, in addition to last year’s young bird national, the open race from Fraserburgh (2010), plus numerous section wins, often with timings piling on top of each other.
Before cancer struck, the partners had shared the workload, argued and compromised, but had the one common aim of winning at the highest level which, in their case, was in the NRCC. To that end they supported each other completely.
“I want to dedicate this win to Tim,” said Albert. “It was a partnership that seemed to work, and had been very successful. I had hoped it would have lasted a lot longer, but the cancer struck quickly and Tim was not able to live long enough to enjoy this latest win.
“I wish now that we had competed from Thurso. Tim had some hens that he hoped would go there but, during his illness, he could not make up his mind about sending them. I wish I had sent them because, as it turned out, the conditions were favourable for Louth fanciers. It would have been nice to have given him a win from there.”
In the event, Tim’s untimely death left Albert alone to prepare the 14 young birds that carried the partnership’s name into the young bird national.
Albert admitted “the bed pulled a little bit” as he rose early to take the birds on a 20-mile training toss three days a week in addition to their weekly racing with the Hull North Road Federation.
Of those 14 sent to Dunbar, 12 were home on the day and Orchard Tim, a dark chequer Cooreman, born late February and flown on the darkness system, was a clear winner of the national. He had previously been a club winner this year, and had also taken third club when arriving home with two loftmates who trapped more quickly to take first and second places.
Albert Sayers, of the Dales and Sayers partnership, who won the North Road Championship Club young bird national on Saturday for the second successive year.
Albert did not see it arrive, but Mark Burton, of another successful Louth partnership, Burtons and Collins, reported that it came out of a batch of nine that passed over his nearby loft. Albert surmises that this group also included well-placed pigeons destined for the Alford lofts of Perry and Hunt, and Mr and Mrs Dave Evans, because they had five birds squeezed in the short gap before the arrival of Dales and Sayers’ second bird.
Subsequent birds came at regular intervals.
Albert concedes that the south-west wind made conditions ideal for Louth fanciers, and first drop was always going to be an advantage as subsequent velocities in other sections confirms.
In addition to facing the wind, the birds also had to contend with the increasing heat of the day but, again, and as is usual with NRCC racing, there were excellent performances in all sections, including good timings into London.
The birds were a little slower than Albert anticipated, but a friend in Morpeth told him that the wind there was quite strong, hence a harder battle than first thought.
Some fanciers, however, reported sporadic returns, with a lengthy wait between arrivals.
The entry of 1,517 birds from 152 members reflects the number of young bird losses across the country this season, and the Dales and Sayers loft did not escape this disappointment.
“We got cleaned out in the first two races,” said Albert. “It always seems to happen. The youngsters just will not face crossing the Humber. I have got some back from various sources, and have about 30 young birds in the loft now, but there will only be a dozen or so that I keep.”
Pride of place among those will, of course, go to Orchard Tim, who will join last year’s young bird national winner in the Orchard Lofts.
The prefix “Orchard” comes from the fact that the lofts are placed on land that was previously an orchard at Tim’s bungalow home.
Albert has, or course, also enjoyed NRCC success in a previous partnership with Martin Wilkinson (2007 young birds and old hens races) but, as a consequence of Tim’s death, his future in the sport is uncertain and undecided. Sadness among family and friends is still keenly felt, and it is too early for decisions to be made.
One thing is certain, however, Tim would have been a proud man following this success, just as he had been after previous wins.
Section winners in the provisional young bird results are : Section One – Wooff Bros and Son; Section Two – Dales and Sayers; Section Three – Mr and Mrs R Rout; Section Four – John Lensen; Section Five – Peter Longland; Section Six – Moore and Ransome; Section Seven – F Dawkins and Son; Section Eight – R Tate.
Old Hens' Race
There was an entry of 191 birds from 49 members in the old hens race held in conjunction with the young bird national, and the winners were members of Alford North Road RPC, Mr and Mrs Dave and Pat Evans who capped another successful season with this win, after near misses at other times in the NRCC.
Their winning bird brings with it a lasting heritage from that NRCC legend, the late Frank Tasker, for the bird to take the honours was bred down from Wily Thas pigeons gifted by Frank.
It was a dark chequer yearling hen which, being one of five spare hens, had been placed with the young birds and sent to their races as trainers.
Dave and Pat Evans, winners of the NRCC old hens' race.
The Evans obviously know how to pick their pigeons as they sent only two to the old hens race and came up with the winner, beating clubmate David Page into second place.
The winner was paired to a young cock, but had not laid, and had completed the young bird programme as a trainer, maintaining a good wing and plumage after being on darkness alongside the youngsters.
Dave is now retired and enjoying the extra time with the birds, but says he could still not manage without the valuable help of Pat. “It is a true partnership,” he said.
They have been increasingly successful over recent years, and Dave is keen to emphasise the help and advice they were given by Frank Tasker.
They have continued to put that advice to good use by winning the strong Peterborough and District Federation three times this season.
1st Old Hens
Section winners in the old hens race were: Section One – Rick and Spiers; Section Two – Mr and Mrs D Evans; Section Three – WA Pell; Section Four – S and A Newnham and Son; Section Five – no timings; Section Six – Mr and Mrs D Adams; Section Seven – D Smith; Section Eight – F White.