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Keith Mott writes about winning fanciers past and present

Derek Human of Petersfield – 15th, 32nd, 38th open N.F.C. Tarbes 2008

After winning the 2007 NFC Tarbes race in such good style, Derek Human certainly had some thing to do in 2008 to equal that wonderful National win achieved by his great Champion ‘Any Distance’. Well if he didn’t equal that 2007 performance last season he certainly came close! Derek entered five birds in the 2008 NFC Tarbes race, with over 4,000 birds competing, and got four home on the day of liberation, clocking three of the birds within 18 minutes of his first arrival. Brilliant pigeon racing by any one’s standards! The first bird on the clock at 16.40hrs to record 15th open was Derek’s good blue cock, ‘Jack’, who is a very consistent racer in National events and was sent to Tarbes sitting 14 day old eggs. ‘Jack’ was mated to his mother, ‘Rose 2’, and she was third birds home, clocked at 16.58hrs to record 38th open in the National. This wonderful hen is sheer class, being a brilliant racer and breeder! Second pigeon on the clock at 16.50 hrs was the good blue chequer cock, ‘Kenny’, and he is a son of the Tarbes National winner, ‘Any Distance’. ‘Kenny’ recorded 32nd open and was also sent sitting two week old eggs. Derek got a phone call from his wife while at the clock station getting his National clock checked and she said a fourth pigeon had arrived from Tarbes at 21.00hrs, and turned out to be Champion ‘Any Distance’. The Human’s fifth bird arrived home early next morning and had been ripped up by a Sparrowhawk. That was some billiant performance. Well done Derek!  

Derek Human and I go back many years, starting in the early 1980s when he had his wins in the Central Southern Classic Flying Club and he came to my home in Claygate to have his young bird champions photographed, and I covered his successes in the fancy press. Derek is a very likable guy, who has always got a smile on his face and along with his pigeon racing son, Adrian, is always up for a laugh. I for one was over the moon to hear the great news that he had won the greatest prize in long distance pigeon racing in the 2007 season, 1st open N.F.C. Tarbes Grand National and did it in fantastic style. His wonderful champion, ‘Any Distance’, won 1st open Tarbes (540 miles) with 3,477 birds competing and won the strong Section B. by 133 y.p.m. clear. A brilliant performance at the highest level! This game five year old Cattrysse blue chequer hen was sent to Tarbes feeding a nine day old youngster and has won a N.F.C. Certificate of Merit Award, previously winning: 8th section, 70th open N.F.C. Bordeaux and 11th section, 71st open N.F.C. Pau. Champion ‘Any Distance’ has had a brilliant racing career, winning other premier positions including: 1st. section, 16th. open N.F.C. Chale, 15th section, 251st open N.F.C. Fougeres and 19th setion, 369th open N.F.C. Sennon Cove. A champion racer in the truest sence of the word, winning at at the very highest level and as her name surgesses, at any distance! Derek says she was sent to Tarbes in her favourite nest condition, feeding a baby, and the squeaker she was feeding when she won the National was donated to the N.F.C. Young Bird Auction and raised £470 for the club. In the early part of the season she was seperated from her mate to hold her moult and then was sent to the very hard C.S.C.F.C. Cholet race, where she scored in the first few in the open result, and then was repaired so she had a youngster for the Tarbes National.

 

Derek has lived at his present address in Petersfield about eight years and on moving in he scaled down his pigeon set up to a wooden 18ft x 6ft ‘Barnsley’ loft, which has three sections. The loft has an aviary running a long the front and the birds are trapped through the old fashion ‘bob’ wires. Derek says his loft is very old fashioned, but it has the push button belt to clean out the nest boxes every Sunday morning. The loft houses all his racers, as the stock birds are kept at his son, Adrian’s house and he only keeps eight pairs old bird racers, which are mated up on 14th February. He races the natural system with the long distance Nationals in mind and when they have reared their young, they are seperated to hold their moult, and then repaired to get them ready for the race they are required for. The birds are fed on Willsbridge ‘Irish’ mixture and get very little training, only getting a few chucks from Fareham Sports Centre, 15 miles from the loft. The birds are not given an open loft because of the really bad local Hawk problem, but get good exercise around the loft in the evenings. The basic family are Davenport / Cattryse, with some Newman / Cattrysse being bought in some years ago and all Norman Bishop’s Cattrysse pigeons were purchased just before he passed away. Other premier racers at Derek’s Petersfield loft are: ‘Rose 2’ a wonderful blue Cattrysse hen and daughter of the Human’s 1996 B.B.C. Nantes National winner ‘Rose’. Derek is not much good at keeping records of his pigeons performances, but told me ‘Rose 2’ was a champion racer winning a list of premier prizes in the Nationals, including 10th open B.B.C. San Sebastian, 10th open B.B.C. St. Nazaire and 1st section B. Fougeres N.F.C., plus a special ward presented by the B.B.C. This great hen races well in any nest condition and has also score being un-paired. ‘Jack’ a Cattrysse blue cock and son of ‘Rose 2’. This game cock is only three years old and has recorded several premier positions in British Barcelona Club races.

 

Derek and Adrian share the 20 pairs of stock birds, which are kept at Adrian’s home and these are nornally paired up at Christmas. The stock loft is 16ft x 8ft, with a massive aviary and the main feeding is Brian Wall’s ‘Breeding’ mixture. Derek sells the first round of youngsters off the stock birds each season and then breeds about 28 babies to race. Derek loves young bird racing and has been very successful through the years, the best performances being twice 1st open C.S.C.F.C. with babies. He is trying out the ‘darkness’ system this season and maintains, these days you must be on the system to do well in young bird racing. The young birds are given lots of short training tosses and then five chucks from the New Forest before going in to the first races. Derek is not in a Saturday Federation club and the youngsters go straight over the channel with the N.F.C. or B.B.C., with them some times getting five channel crossings, including Guernsey and Lambelle.

Derek started up with pigeons at the age of 13 and his first loft was an old chicken shed. His first club was the old Alton club and won his first race from Guernsey, which he thought was a good performance because he beat the great Frank Jarvis of Selbourne. Derek has been in the sport of pigeon racing over 50 years and tells me his ambishion has always been to win the N.F.C. Grand National. Many years ago he was a great friend of the N.F.C. Pau winner, Les Davenport, and he got Derek going in pigeons with advice and six gift young birds. Those six birds are the base of the Human loft today! In those days Derek ran the N.F.C. clock station at the ‘King’s Head’ public house in Alton and he tells me the clock station had five National winners there when it was running. Derek’s son, Adrian, is an outstanding pigeon racer in his own right and has won many premier positions in the British Barcelona Club in recent seasons.        

 

I visited Derek Human’s loft in 1996 and at that time he lived in Alton. The Human family lived in a converted barn set in the wonderful Hampshire countryside and Derek had a great record in Classic and National racing, winning many premier positions, including 1st Open C.S.C.F.C. twice in the early 1980's. The 1996 season saw the Human loft win 1st & 2nd Open Nantes B.B.C. National and several other good wins channel racing. His National winner was his Davenport x Cattrysse blue hen ‘Rose’, raced on the Natural System. Derek had a bad hawk problem living in the Hampshire countryside and losed many pigeons each year to predators. His champion hen 'Rose' was picked up in the lane outside the Humans' home, being badly injured by a hawk attack. It took her two years rest to get over it, then, she came out to win 1st Open Nantes (BBC) in 1996. Previously to winning Nantes 'Rose' won 6th Open C.S.C.F.C. Bergerac and was named after his little grand ­daughter who was pigeon mad, and was constantly in the loft with him. Derek lived in Cornwall for a while, and said that with the number of birds of prey he saw there, he would never race his birds out of the West Country.

The Human pigeons were raced on both Natural and Widowhood Systems, and he trained the naturals the most. His Widowhood method was very unconventional and both sets of old bird racers were hopper fed, on a first class mixture, with channel racing in mind. Derek is a builder by trade and made his fantastic brick L-shaped loft, which had a pantile roof, with Vent­axia windows for maximunn ventilation. The 40 foot loft had a full glass front and bob wire trapping, which Derek admitted is old fashioned but suits his type of racing. He had no stock birds and the 15 pairs of old birds were paired up the second week in February if the weather is fine, and 30 young birds were reared each season. The main families housed were Davenport / Cattrysse and Vissers, and they raced with outstanding success through to 700 miles,

 

Derek said his biggest thrill in pigeons at that time was in 1980, when he was 1st & 2nd Open Avranches C.S.C.F.C. and he saw his winning 'Olympic 80' on the front page of the pigeon paper the following week and then won 1st Open Lambelle S.C.C.F.C. the following season. The Central Southern Classic Flying Club sent 1,170 birds to Avranches in 1980 and liberated on the proposed day at 09.00hrs in a south west wind. Derek’s good dark chequer hen, ‘Olympic 80’, recorded 1217 ypm to win first open. Her sire and dam were perchased at Alex Reed’s clearance sale in 1979 for £6 each and produced many other top racers for the Human loft including, 2nd club Nantes, 1st club Saintes and 1st club, 6th Solent Federation Avranches. The second pigeon on the clock to win 2nd open was the Danenport / Cattrysse blue white flight hen, ‘Hampshire Girl’ and she had previously won 1st club Seaton. These two great young hens won the Avranches classic really well and were both raced to the perch. The following season the classic sent 1,256 birds to Lamballe and Derek recorded a real ‘banger’, winning the race well clear with his Davenport / Cattrysse blue pied hen, ‘Double Up’. He fancied this hen, as she had been coming well in training and slipped a pair of eggs under her eight days prior to thr classic. Her nestmate was the blue pied hen, ‘Jack’s Girl’, and she recorded 3rd section, 18th open N.F.C. Lamballe as a young bird and she was raced to the perch. What a pair of youngsters! Their dam was bred by Louella Pigeon World and was purchased on a day trip to the Stud in Leicester. 

Derek's wife is a great help with the birds and his son, Adrian, who at that time lived in Bride in Cornwall, had started up in pigeon racing several years previous. Derek's birds were fed on a no bean mixture, because years ago his good friend, Les Davenport, told him beans are for horses, and peanuts were added to the diet for the longer races. The birds were kept very natural and picked up their own nesting twigs from the Humans' massive garden, and nest bowls were not used in the nest boxes.

Derek has a lot of admiration for his good friend Les Davenport, who gave a lot of good help and has given him some first class stock, which are now winning Classic and National races. Well, I would like to add my congratulations to the many that the Human family have received since winning the 2007 N.F.C. Tarbes Grand National. Well done mate, it was a fantastic performance and nearly matched in 2008! My telephone number is: 01372 463480. See yer!

 

 

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