THE ELIMAR INTERVIEW
JIM EMERTON CHATS TO
2nd section 28th open BBC Barcelona 2012 with The Time Lord
Vinnie, how did your love of the noble racing pigeon develop?
As a young man of 19, I kept finches and canaries. One morning I noticed a blue chequer pigeon on the aviary so I put some seed and water in pots on the roof. It stayed there all day. In the evening I shooed it off, worried the cats might get it during the night, and it slept on the house roof. Next morning it came down to be fed. This went on for some four weeks, and then it was gone. I did miss it. Some four weeks passed, then as I went to the bird house one morning, there she was back. As I opened the door, she flew in. I was amazed as she had never been in the shed before. She never went away again. Anyway, she mated up to a diamond dove cock bird and it was funny as the dove was half her size. She often laid eggs but they never hatched. I let her out every week and she never went away. I called her Jenny and she lived to twelve. After that I got some tipplers and I would get the odd stray racer come in; mostly they would rest and go after a couple of days. I was getting a yearning for racing pigeons; it fascinated me how they got home from long distances. That was it, the tipplers went and I built a racing loft.
Did you graduate in experience from club to Barcelona International racing?
I joined The Wellington F.C. and from the start I was at the bottom of the result sheet. It was such a joke that one week the secretary actually printed the result in reverse order. I was 17th club but at the top of the sheet, whilst the first prize winner was last on the sheet. It caused a laugh, and that’s how it should be.
My first ever first prize was from Nevers 461 miles. No one could believe it, but it felt good. This was with a blue cheq cock and I called him The Duke of Wellington. Being the longest fed race, I realised long races last longer, not being over in seconds or minutes, so I first joined the N.F.C., which I consider the greatest club in the country, then the B.B.C and B.I.C.C. It’s so exciting clocking from the nationals. I switch the phone off and simply wait for my birds to come. Barcelona has always been the greatest race in the world, and to get one home seemed like a dream, so I had to have a go.
What are some of your outstanding highlights?
1st east section, 2nd open national Alencon with the B.I.C.C.; 1st east section 140th open national Falaise B.I.C.C.; 1st yearling, 3rd north section, 71st national Perpignan 760 miles B.I.C.C.; 1st section K, 112th open Chale N.F.C.; 7th east section, 14th open national Bergerac 600 miles on the day B.I.C.C.; 1st section E, 60th open B.B.C. Barcelona 843 miles with a son of The Time Lord and many other positions.
How did you feel on clocking the old lad this year 2012 in the British Barcelona Club’s Barcelona International race?
Immense pride to clock him from the greatest race in the world. My hands shook and my eyes filled with tears. I stroked and kissed him before I clocked him. It was a great feeling. He was bred by my good friend Mick Thompson, an August hatched 2003 late-bred carrying a 2001 ring. In 2004 I entered birds for the B.I.C.C. Pau international but on the basketing morning I found one hen in egg. As I entered the loft a second time the red cock flew at my face, scratching me quite badly. At that moment I caught him and put him in the basket. He was nine months old with an old ring on carrying three nest flights and the furthest he had
flown was Eastbourne, 191 miles. Yes it was cruel. But to my surprise he homed on the fourth day. At that moment I knew I had a special bird as Pau is 708 miles. He suddenly became my number one cock. In 2007, I sent him alone to Bergerac 600 miles with the B.I.C.C. and he won 7th section, 14th open on the day flying 100 miles further than birds in front of him. To quote Brian Long: ‘that day The Time Lord (as he was now known) was the best bird in the result.’ He added, ‘Vinnie took the glory, but I took the pool money.’ He was 17th, bless him. We lost a great fancier the day Brian left us.
The Time Lord’s results with The British Barcelona Club are:
2008 - Palamos 819 miles verified 14th July 6th section E, 82nd National.
2009 - Messac 401 miles 22nd section E 302nd National.
2009 - Barcelona 843 miles verified 14th July 6th section E 75th National
2010 - Barcelona 843 miles verified 18th July 11th section E 77th National.
2011 - Palamos 819 miles vel 198 5th section E 46th National.
2012 - Barcelona 843 miles vel 375 2nd section E 28th National.
Five times Palamos/Barcelona over 800 miles, two times Perpignan 760 miles and two times Pau 708 miles. He has flown the channel 30 times - a truly great pigeon.
The Time Lord pictured in August 2012
The Time Lord was bred by Mick Thompson. Do you know anything more about his breeding than that?
He is bred from a Van Wanroy x Kirkpatrick hen bred from birds obtained from Johnny Hand of Cleethorpes paired to red cock that came to Mick’s loft as a stray from Mr Neil Bush of Amcotts, a great distance flyer in his own right. He told Mick the cock was a grandson of Riley’s Duchess, which I believe won from Pau or Barcelona three or four times. I stand to be corrected but this is what Mick has tried to recall. So The Time Lord is 1/3 Van Wanroy, 1/3 Kirkpatrick, 1/3 Bush x Riley’s Duchess.
My very good friend Mick Thompson who bred The Time Lord (that makes him a very good friend).
Have you now retired The Time Lord?
No, if all goes well he will go back to Barcelona next year. You may think I am cruel, but if I can get him home in race time he will win the Spanish Diploma for three times in the open result at 843 miles and that will make him immortal. If he does not get home in race time then I will not send him any more, but he will get home, that’s how he got his name, it’s just a question of time. He did not rear any young birds himself this year; I floated five pairs of eggs. The only youngster he reared was the egg that hatched whilst he was away at Barcelona. The driving of his hen got him fit and I gave him two 40 mile single ups, one 164 mile club race, one at 189 miles, one channel race at 306 miles and the rest is history. You cannot show a bird like him how to get home, just get him fit.
How was The Time Lord paired to produce your 2009 1st section Barcelona winner General George Armstrong Custer?
He was mated to a Delbar hen when he bred Custer. Mick Thompson thought the Delbar blood might not get him there, but it did. I lost the hen the same year I bred Custer from the channel. I have tried to mate young off her and birds bred the same way, but to no avail. Custer flew Palamos with the B.B.C. verified 22nd July 7th section E, 95th national 2008.
Custer won 21st North section, 162nd national B.I.C.C. Poitiers 481 miles 2009.
Custer won 1st section E, 60th national B.B.C Barcelona 843 miles 2009.
Custer won 77th North section, 379th national B.I.C.C. Alencon 352 miles 2010.
Custer won 24th section E, 370th national B.B.C Poitiers 481 miles 2010.
General George Armstrong Custer, son of The Time Lord, which won 1st section 60th national B.B.C. Barcelona 843 miles. Vinnie says: 'George Custer, like his namesake, found
glory but the next year from Barcelona he did not return. I was gutted not to get him home, but at that distance you have to accept you will lose even great pigeons. But I will never forget what he did for me.'
Have you developed your own strain?
I have tried to breed a strain around The Time Lord, whilst blending birds from Jim Biss, a grand daughter of Vend, and a dark cock from my friend Don Bird from Maidenhead, a grandson of Turban. Plus Jos Thone and Thomas Peters from old mate Les Appleby of Grimsby, with a touch of Riley’s Duchess chucked in.
The Time Lord after Barcelona
Please yield some insights into the Wilkinson racing/breeding methodology.
Young birds go to the coast 191 miles and yearlings to 500 miles or more if fit for the job. Older birds go to the end of the world. I have won 71st national Perpignan 760 miles with a yearling. This year one yearling hen, a great grand daughter of Vend and Turban won 1st Grimsby & Dist, 3rd section 5th open Bourges 461 miles and three weeks later she was 1st Grimsby & Dist, 1st Section, 2nd Open Canappeville 306 miles with the Lincolnshire S.R. Fed 60 miles deep, 30 miles wide.
Who do you admire in the sport?
I always admired Fear Bros, Mr & Mrs Cannon and Eric Fox of Bakewell, all the fanciers in section G SNFC, and the Irish fanciers flying from France over two lots of water - amazing.
Are you a user of conditioning supplementation?
No. Old birds get garlic in the water and brewer’s yeast on the food. Young birds get cider vinegar in the water and natural yoghurt on the food.
The Time Lord home from Barcelona with his hen and squeaker
What is your take on doping of pigeons to race?
I think it’s wrong, but we never seem to catch anyone doing it.
How do you perceive pigeon politics?
There have always been fanciers who like to hear their own voices, must win at all costs, must have an audience, who say it’s always some one else’s fault. I let it go in one ear
and out the other. I’ve not got time for big heads who talk big races.
Are the Brits as good as any in the pigeon racing world?
I have always been patriotic. Of course Brits are as good, if not better than most. We race the channel – that’s something a bit extra.
What impact does human jealousy have on the psyche of the sport?
The introduction of E.T.S. has not helped here now as members want many more bird times reading. When we used the old clocks, we timed 3 or 4 and that was it. Now they want as many places as possible. I use a T3 and time my first and maybe second birds then only my nom or pool birds. The more successful a member becomes means people start calling them or spreading rumours, saying he must be using something. When I first started I was
told everyone likes you if you don’t win.
What is your ultimate pigeon racing target?
To win a national and win the British Barcelona Club’s Spanish DIploma with The Time Lord. Though I think he already deserves one!
How does Vinnie wish to be remembered in the pantheon of pigeon racing?
As a fair and friendly fellow, always happy, always willing to give credit to people that deserve it. Good looking, sexy, slim. OK, maybe not slim. With pigeons, a hard task master. Any bird in his loft at the end of the season hard earned its perch.
My 13 year old daughter Emily holding The Time Lord. Emily is a whizz on the computers, so much so the Grimsby & District H.S. have appointed her assistant secretary.