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“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.

 

Ron Ball of Northchurch.

 

The base of Ron Ball’s very successful loft is Staff Van Reet, Jan Huijbregt, De Klak / Janssen and he brings in outstanding pigeons of any family to cross with them. He says he is not interested in strains of pigeons, just good winning bloodlines! The loft is raced on the widowhood, with 24 cocks and 12 hens on the system, and these birds are raced through to Pau (561 miles) without being paired up. Ron’s racing performances over the years in the National Flying Club have been outstanding, including 2nd open NFC Nantes, 3rd open NFC Pau, 4th open NFC Nantes, 4th open NFC.  Saintes, 5th open NFC Guernsey, 3rd open NFC Vire (old hens) and 4th open NFC Herstal. Ron says he is only interested in National and Classic races and his whole system is geared to these events. His lofts measure 80ft, including stock flights, and he has six sections set aside for the widowhood racers. The loft is paired up in stages starting at Christmas and finishing in March. The birds are fed two sorts of widowhood mixture, only being broken down on the day of the race. Ron has 12 pairs of stock birds and when a new one is introduced, it must be from top winning pigeons.

 

Some of Ron’s best pigeons over the years have been: ‘Silver Ring’ - This handsome pencil blue cock was a racing machine in Classic and National racing and won a lot of premier positions and prize money. These are a few of ‘Silver Ring’s’ racing highlights: 2nd section, 2nd open NFC Nates (8,664 birds) £1,982, 3rd Combine Fougeres (3,002 birds), 26th section, 453rd open NFC Nantes (8,112 birds) £191, 45th Combine Fougeres (2,445 birds), 27th Combine Tours (2,041 birds), 81st section, 268th open NFC Messac (3,792 birds), 3rd section, 349th open NFC St Nazaire (4,483 birds) £510, 5th section, 315th open NFC St Malo (4,073 birds) £1,146, 47th section, 202nd open NFC Fougeres (6,726 birds), 25th section, 51st open NCF Alencon (6,079 birds) £528. What a brilliant pigeon!: ‘Astra’ – This blue chequer hen was a champion racer in the truest sense of the word, winning: 8th section, 19th open NFC old hens Guernsey (1.641 birds) £789, 16th Combine Nantes (2,642 birds), 11th section, 18th open NFC Saintes (2,770 birds) £696, 9th section, 129th open BBC Bordeaux (1,316 birds) £83, 24th section, 69th open NFC Fougeres (1,388 birds) £777, 1st section, 4th open BBC Bordeaux (1,223 birds) £285, 2nd section, 50th open NFC Fougeres (1,183 birds) £1,345, 8th section, 407th open NFC St Nazaire (4,483 birds) £538, 11th section, 15th open NFC Bordeaux (2,810 birds) 1st open Single Bird Club £571. ‘Unterseen’ – Another fantastic blue chequer hen and winner of: 1999: 3rd open L&SECC Nantes (1,547 birds) £470, 2000: 8th Combine Vire (2,977 birds) £209, 116 open NFC Pau (3,941 birds) £247, 2002: 49th open NFC Pau (4,085 birds) £1,649. Ron had a wonderful young bird racing season in 2002 and the ‘star’ pigeons were: ‘Ring of Gold’ winner of 1st section, 1st open, 1st ‘Gold Ring’ L&SECC Guernsey (2,145 birds) £2,390 and ‘The Kop’ the winner of 5th section, 5th open, 1st ‘Gold Ring’ NFC young bird Guernsey (7,190 birds) £3,702. Ron tells me his best stock hen was the blue chequer pied hen, ‘Dutch Gold’ and she was bred by Jan Huijbregt & son. This fantastic stock hen bred many big winners for the Ron Ball loft including, ‘Astra’, Bombardier’, Hussar’ and was grand dam of ‘Grand Union’.

 

I can remember that weekend when Ron won the London & South East Classic Club from Guernsey with ‘Ring of Gold’! Members of the L&SECC sent a nice tidy convoy of 2,145 birds to the last young bird race of the 2002 season from Guernsey and enjoyed one of the largest pay outs of the Classic’s young bird races. It seemed like we had just started the 2002 season and I found myself going to Guernsey for my eleventh time and convoying classic young birds for the last race of the season. From the outset, this event was always going to be a hard push for the youngsters, with the strong north east wind forecast for the whole weekend. However, I’m happy to say that our members enjoyed a good hard race. I think National and Classic racing should be about testing pigeons and this event was classic racing at its best. A good finish to a great season for the London & South East Classic Club!

 

Ron Ball of Northchurch won the race, flying 180 miles, and recorded four of his seven entries on the day, lifting a nice £2,390. He told me at that time that his young birds had been coming well all season, but not trapping well and the weekend prior to the classic he won 5th open NFC Guernsey (7,190 birds), winning another £3,702. Brilliant pigeon flying! Ron has a team of 60 youngsters every season, putting half on the darkness system and the other half are kept natural. The natural birds are wanted for future years and are trained well, but only given two races. The darkness youngsters are weaned into a basket for seven days, being fed on maple peas in the same pots they had in their nest boxes and are put on the darkness system straight away. The youngsters get as much training as Ron can give them and are fed twice a day on a good mixture, with plenty of maize. Ron’s Guernsey Classic winner was a handsome blue Staf Van Reet darkness cock, now named, ‘Ring of Gold’, because he won the first prize in the Gold Ring of £1,000. He was sent to Guernsey driving to nest and feeding an eighteen day old baby. His parents were obtained from Ian Stafford in the North East of England and Dean Pallatt. ‘Ring of Gold’ had three races on his build up to his classic win, which was interrupted at the beginning of the season when the loft contracted young bird sickness.

 

On the same day that Ron won the L&SECC, he also had five birds away racing from Lambelle (240 miles) with the British Barcelona Club. Ron recently told me, ‘I was watching for race birds that day and saw two birds coming from the West and flew over my loft, but didn’t stop, just kept going. I was sure one of those birds was mine and two minutes later they swung around and landed on the back of my loft. One of the birds was my Lambelle pigeon and no calling or whistling by me would make them move. They just sat there! I was now getting desperate and so I climbed on top of the loft to persuade my pigeon on to the landing board, was worried she would fly off again with the stray. She went into the ‘Super Trap’ and I clocked her to win 3rd section, 28th open (2,080 birds), 2nd ‘Gold Ring’ £525. This blue white flight hen was a full sister to the L&SECC winner, ‘Ring of Gold’ and had previously flown Guernsey with the NFC. The second bird on the clock from Lamballe was my pencil blue cock, ‘Silver Ring’ and he recorded 5th section, 41st open (2,080 birds) £110. This wonderful cock became my best racer and won over £4,500 in his brilliant racing career’. ‘Silver Ring’ was another Stafford / Pallatt Staf Van Reet and in his six years racing won many premier positions in club, Federation, Combine and National. A true champion!

 

Premier Middlesex fanciers visit Claygate.

 

The month of January saw two Middlesex fanciers, in the form of Mick Moore and Suk Bagha, visit my loft in Claygate to have a look at the birds and have a chat. Mick Moore lives in Hayes and has been very successful racing his pigeons on the South Road for well over 50 years and only races nine cocks with great success on the widowhood system. He enjoys all racing, long and short distance and tells me he has won 1st Combine and 2nd Combine twice. His best pigeon at the moment is his champion three year old blue chequer cock, ‘Treble One’ and he has won eleven times 1st club in two seasons, racing on the widowhood system. Federation positions won in the 2016 and 2017 racing seasons are: 2nd, 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 21st and 22nd. Mick tells ‘Treble One’ is of the Gaston Van De Wouwer bloodlines obtained from Norman Sibley of Swinshead and the late Stan Ward of Wolverhampton and his parents are responsible for 35 first prize winners and a 1st Combine winner. Suk Bagha lives in Southall and on his visit to my home in Claygate, I asked him if he knew the ‘Northcote Arms’ PH in Southall and said he did. The pub was on a circuit of clubs my band, The Impalas, played at on a regular basis in the late 1960’s and we had some great fun at the ‘Northcote’! Suk has been racing his pigeons for 40 years and is also very successful racing a small team of widowhood cocks. His best pigeon is the handsome five year old Busschaerts cock, ‘Del Boy’ and he was bred by the late Derek Bowles, who was an outstanding fancier for many years racing the Busschaert pigeons. ‘Del Boy’ is very much a Poitiers specialist, winning many premier positions including: 2017: 1st club, 2nd UBI Combine Poitiers (960 birds), 6th section, 26th open BICC Poitiers, 3rd club Yeovil (233 birds): 2016: 13th section, 36th open BICC Alencon: 2015: 1st club, 2nd Berks Federation Poitiers. ‘Del Boy’ is proving to be an outstanding breeder, with his son ‘47046’, winning as a yearling in 2017: 1st club Le Mans (118 birds), 1st club (161 birds), 17th Federation Yeovil (815 birds), 4th club Yeovil (233 birds), 5th club Fougeres (104 birds), 10th club Kingsdown (148 birds). Great pigeons and two outstanding fanciers!

 

Three Borders Federation.

 

The Three Borders Federation race programme for the 2018 season is: (OB) 7th April Blandford: 14th April - Yeovil: 21st April - Honiton: 28th April - Exeter: 5th May - Falaise: 12th May - Kingsdown: 19th May – Falaise: 26th May – Newton Abbot: 2nd June – Fougeres: 9th June – Honiton: 16th June – Messac: 23rd June – Honiton: 30th June – Yeovil: 7th July – Tours: (YB) 28th July – Blandford: 4th August – Yeovil: 11th August – Blandford: 18th August – Yeovil: 25th August – Kingsdown: 1st September – Yeovil: 8th September – New ton Abbot: 14 September – Yelverton. Basketing for all inland Federation races will be on Friday and the races from France will be marked on Thursday. Good luck to every one for the forthcoming 2018 racing season!

 

Well that it for this week! The 2018 racing season is creeping up on us! Brilliant! I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email me on: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)        

 

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