1ST THREE BORDERS FED YEOVIL
by Keith Mott
The Three Borders Federation held its young bird Yeovil race in mid-August 2012 and the 1,100 birds were liberated at 11.45hrs in a south west wind. The pace was so ‘hot’ the first few in the Federation result were split up on decimal points of a yard and the membership enjoyed good returns on the day. Vic Johnson of Kingston had a brilliant race winning the very strong Richmond club and recording 1st, 7th, 8th Federation. Vic recently told me, his 50 youngsters are put on the darkness system and likes them to have plenty of training down the A3 to Winchester. Although raced to the perch, the young birds are allowed to pair up if they want to. Vic is enjoying a good 2012 young bird season also winning 2nd, 3rd Federation Blandford.
The first ten in the Three Borders Federation result from Yeovil were: 1) Vic Johnson 1606: 2) Slight & Taylor 1606: 3) Honey & Grandson 1601: 4) Honey & Grandson 1601: 5) Honey & Grandson 1601: 6) Honey & Grandson 1600: 7) Vic Johnson 1597: 8) Vic Johnson 1594: 9) M/M Danny Allison 1591: 10) P. Johnson & son 1591.
Vic Johnson has been in the sport for over 60 years having become interested as a six year old in his home town of Putney in South London. As a lad he used to see flying round the houses a local flock of pigeons which belonged to Ted Townsend. He says that the man to beat then was the late, great Freddie Meale of Hounslow, who won the SMT Combine several times. Vic was very keen on fishing and, on starting up in pigeons, had a lot of help from Ted.
His first stock were obtained from here, there and everywhere, and he didn't do very well racing in his first club, the old Barnes & Mortlake FC. His first loft was built from old doors and floorboards salvaged from demolition sites and his first successful birds were obtained from Freddie Meale. His present families are Barry Goodhand of Wakefield, Janssens and Van Loons via Plant Brothers, Terry Hudson De Klak and the old Micky Walker lines for Channel racing.
Vic's main racing loft is 24ft long with trapping through windows off landing boards; his small widowhood loft is very old and ramshackle, but he says he will not change it because the pigeons love it and race well to it. He's retired from work and says he is really enjoying himself, giving most of his time to the pigeons now. He is a 365 days a year pigeon man and derives his greatest pleasure when he clocks from Pau. He maintains that to keep a successful trend in the pigeon loft, you have to give the birds the best care and feeding. And don't sit on the fence; always be prepared to try something different.
He feeds a varied diet, according to the work being done, and makes up his own mixtures, using all the high fat seeds, groats and pearl barley, which have been soaked in peanut oil. Vic likes plenty of natural garlic and uses multivitamins twice a week. He races mainly widowhood with 24 cocks, with a few pairs on natural for racing from France, all the racers being paired up in mid-January. The widowhood pigeons rear a pair of youngsters and the hens are taken away when the' squeakers are about 16 days old and the cocks are on the system. They get 12 training tosses up to 25 miles before the first federation race and are not trained during the season, just exercised around the loft twice a day. The widowhood racers only race inland and the natural team go through to Pau.
Vic is one of the sport's gentlemen and he has won the SMT Combine and Three Borders Federation many times in recent seasons, lifting the Inland O.B. Average, O.B. Average, Combined O.B. / Y.B. Inland Average and Combined Average in the Federation. He won 31 positions in the Three Borders Federation back in the 2002 season including four times 1st Federation, twice 2nd, twice 3rd, twice 4th, twice 5th and once 6th and was also runner up for the Federation Individual Points Trophy. Brilliant pigeon racing! Vic tells me that he raced in the very strong Kingston & District HS and won ten times 1st Club in 2001, mirroring the same performance in the 2002 season when he won ten times first again.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)