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by George Wheatman


NRCC 2017


The North Road Championship Club, the Grand Old Gentleman of north road racing, is poised to start its 117th season on May 13th with a race from Dunbar.

This is a comparatively recent addition to the race programme, being first staged in 2002 when Mr and Mrs Bob Boulton, of Skegness, were winners of the inaugural race.

The club was established, primarily, to compete from Lerwick and, apart from the diversion of Arundel in Norway (1937), and the Faroe Isles (1912, 1929, 1930 and 1931) it remained thus until a second regular race was introduced. This was from Perth in 1962 when the first winners were Ince Son and Pollard, of Ilkeston.

The favoured race point has alternated between Perth and Arbroath and this year, on May 27th, members will be competing from Perth in the 57th race of this series.

Banff was added in 1940 and continued through the war time years, but was dropped after the 1944 race and was not re-introduced until 1999. Today the race is from Fraserburgh and in 2017 will be on June 10th.

The Blue Riband Lerwick race will be July 1st this year, and will be the NRCC’s 101st race from the Shetland Islands, acknowledged as the unpredictable supreme test for fancier and bird.

The race from Thurso is another 500-miler for many members, and will complete the old bird programme on July 21st. It will be the club’s 40th race from there. Racing from Thurso was first tasted in 1945, but there was then a ten-year break until 1955, followed by another break between 1977 and 1990, since when it has regularly appeared on the programme.

The young bird and old hens’ nationals are scheduled for September 9th.

This year birds will travel in the comfort of the club’s own new Geraldy transporter.

This was a huge expense at a time when the north road family is dwindling in the face of promises of riches coming from the other direction, but secretary and NRCC talisman, Ray Knight, believes that it was the right decision, and the committee was able to take this adventurous step thanks to the generous support of members like Peter Crawford, Dave Brackenbury and Mr and Mrs Jack Shelley.

This year the club will take delivery of a trailer from Geraldy, built to the same specification as the lorry body, complete with corridor, automatic ventilation and watering system. This will give the NRCC a carrying capacity of just over 3,000 birds at 25 to a crate.

But, of course, there is still money to be found to finance this initiative, and members are urged to play their part by supporting fund-raising plans.

The first of these will come after the Lerwick race when a Friends of the NRCC auction will be held, with at least 20 very special pigeons being offered by some of the UK’s top lofts. Look out for details of this on the website and in the Fancy Press.

Members are also being invited to make a £20 donation each to the transporter fund and, as a reward for their generosity, they will receive a new DVD featuring a number of the club’s outstanding Lerwick performers. This is being filmed this summer by Ray Knight, and you all know the quality of his products. Surely this will be well supported. Members will be receiving a form requesting their support alongside the 2017 handbook.

The club will be trialling a new marking station this summer for the London area. This will be at Cheshunt Football Ground, Theobalds Lane, Cheshunt. The club already has tremendous support from the London area and it is hoped that this new move will encourage others who enjoy north road racing to join the elite of the sport.

There is still time for fanciers, from any area, to join the NRCC. The secretary can be contacted at Lynwood, Nut Lane, Old Leake, Boston, Lincs, PE22 9JF, or by ‘phone on 01205 871901, or e-mail secretary@nrcc.co.uk.

There have been one or two changes approved by the committee during the winter months, and these include:

*The marking station at Spalding will be closed, and replaced by one at the Sports and Social Club at Wyberton, just outside of Boston, and easily accessible off the A16, and with plenty of parking. One of the reasons for the move was the concern over the safety of steep steps which had to be encountered at Spalding, plus the fact that there will be easier access for the transporter at Wyberton.

*Marking for the Perth race will be brought forward by 24 hours, so will now take place on Thursday. This will enable birds to be fed late on Thursday, and on the Friday prior to Saturday liberation, which will give all birds a full rest and feed prior to the race.

*Thurso birds will also be marked a day earlier than usual, in the hope of Friday liberation. Time will tell is this is a positive move.




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