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When it comes to the sport of racing pigeons I would expect all fanciers to answer “Yes, of course I do”.
After all we compete every week during the season and do our very best to knock those fellow competitors who win out of turn, off their perches.
Most of us use legitimate methods to try and achieve our goals but for some the challenge is too demanding and occasionally dubious practices come in to play.
We have just experienced a somewhat frightening example of rising to the challenge with the cyber-attack on the British National Health Service computers that rendered them useless by locking in all the information they contained and preventing those files from being opened.
Hacking computers and their programmes seems, in some instances, rather like a game or if you like a challenge, just to see if you can do it.
What worries me as far as our sport is concerned is whether or not there are hackers out there, hell bent on trying to get into our computers and their programmes, in order to influence the outcome of races.

It would seem to be to be an obvious target, to my simple mind, to be an opportunity for those who want to indulge themselves in what they perceive as their hobby and at the same time maybe grab the chance of coining in a few bob, by taking up the challenge of having a go at hacking, particularly, if you take into consideration the huge amount of money that can be won in some races and the ever growing use of technology in our sport. Computer programmes seem to be being developed at an alarming pace, with modifications or updates appearing on the market at a frightening speed.

We just seem to get our heads around how to use one programme and the next one, with even more whistles and bells, becomes a “Must Have” add on to our existing

equipment. I know my brain is now becoming addled with all the information I am supposed to absorb – to say nothing of the costs involved.
I am told the average age of the current generation of pigeon fanciers is now in their sixties bordering on seventy and strangely enough their brains come within the same bracket. Can we really be expected to keep up to date with modern technology or even is the latest update really necessary? Or perhaps even more relevant, do we want it?
Are our computers and their programmes just as vulnerable to hackers as the recent NHS example I quoted earlier? If the challenge is there I am sure the answer is “YES”
Perhaps if more time and energy was utilised to improve the security of our existing machines and their programmes and making this available to current users, we would find it more acceptable to move into the age of greater use of technology in what is, after all, always described as a very simple sport/hobby.
Now to more current matters

Saturday’s racing as far as the Staffordshire Moorlands & District Federation is concerned can only be described as a huge success after a considerable amount of hard work by the race team.
Decisions had to be taken by the race team concerning whether we raced on Saturday or waited until Sunday because the weather prospects looked less than perfect for the Saturday, if the advance forecasts were to be believed and then the enormous problem of how to avoid clashing with the “seemingly hundreds” of liberations scheduled for release along the South Coast, (what are the RPRA thinking when they allow this?) had to be reckoned with!
Consultations continued for most of the week and I am very proud to say that once again our team got it right and provided SMDF members with just about perfect racing. Particular credit should go to the Race Controller and Convoyer team of the two Geoffs, Jnr and Snr, Silvester for their truly professional way in which they carried out the duties under very trying conditions. “Thank You” gentlemen for a job very well done.
The result of all their hard work enabled the Federation members to cover themselves in glory once again with incredible performances and although the same names seem to appear on a regular basis, the old adage of “the cream always rises to the top” allows some new names to come to the fore.

One of the things I like about the membership of our Fed is that the winners, at all levels, get their hand shaken when the results are announced and everyone looks forward to the next race with just as much
enthusiasm as they did before the season started. You are all true ladies and gentlemen – take a bow.This week’s Fed Toppers, whose names will soon be engraved on the Shield of Honour that appears on our Website (www.moorlandsfedpigeons.co.uk), is the husband a wife partnership from Blythe Bridge, Mr & Mrs Andrew Hargreaves (they also pinched 2nd place as well) with a magnificent velocity of 1857.334ypm. That’s quite a performance and deserves the admiration of all of us. WELL DONE. I suppose I ought to also mention, quietly though, that the partnership also took the first five places in the Blythe Bridge club – a loft in really good form, I think you might say!
Other lofts who are also reaching their peak of form are Hand Bros from Berryhill who claimed a 3rd Fed position on 1853.530ypm and four of the first six places by coming 1st, 4th,5th and 6th. Prince Bros took 1,2,3 and 4 at Ipstones and the Fowler Family made it a clean sweep by winning the first 6 positions at Leek.
The saga goes on, George & Mark Greenwood did the old one, two at Macclesfield and Paul Beck swept the board at Longdendale with all six. The comprehensive early bird times from all the clubs can be seen on the Federation website and I am sure all members featured there deserve our congratulations for performing to such a high standard in this highly competitive Federation.
I must close by commenting once again on the way our members are maintaining the birdage this season. I, for one thought we would see a drop in racing birds this week, particularly when over 19,000 birds were already committed to racing with the two National Clubs but once again I was proven wrong with yet another incredible send of well over 2,000 birds being sent to our race – and don’t I love to be proved wrong!
Your confidence in and support of the Management Team is extremely rewarding, to say the least and makes it a pleasure to be in office. Thank you all very much.
Well, that’s just about it for this week, so as they say, onwards and upwards.
Cheers for now.

Brian T Smith

Press Officer SMDF


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