From The Chair By Chris Williams
Sat in the garden early this morning with blue sky it is hard to believe the negative impact the strange weather we have seen lately has had upon our sport, resulting in numerous well-respected fanciers reporting multiple prize-winning pigeons absent without leave. To say such events are just one of those things is fool hardy. As pigeons though marvellous navigators, still need certain conditions in their favour to give them optimal opportunity of reaching home. If not then you are on a sticky wicket from the off, the past few weeks racing results from organisations across the UK reflect this perfectly. Like all sensible fanciers I sincerely hope that the situation stabilises in time for young bird racing because they are after all the old birds of tomorrow and without them you have nothing, logic dictates that if this should happen it will have huge repercussions for all fanciers and in turn every club and federation in the country! We must also ask now that the UK is experiencing unusually high temperatures , do we expect our young birds to train and compete . Each to their own but I prefer to wait and keep a cool head
Anyway time now for the results from St Leonards and St Ives RPC, we have a double header in terms of results this week starting with Berwick on 28th of June flown with the central southern Classic and duplicated back to the Dorset federation. The only polite and printable adjective I can think of to describe this race is like watching paint dry with only two members clocking birds in race time. Taking 1st club 17th Dorset federation with a 3yr blue hen on a velocity of 424.03 is Dorset’s leading lady Mrs Jenny Mills. 2nd club 21st fed with a YRL blue pied hen doing 404.72 is awarded to Mike Blake, unfortunately at the time of writing this is all the information I have on these birds and race, well done to them both after a very testing few days for pigeons and fanciers alike!
For every negative situation we fanciers inevitably find ourselves in from time, there is always something to learn and one lesson that is a must for all in the sport is the importance of Character and the role it plays in winning and perhaps more importantly loosing because in my eyes we must except both our fortune and failure with equal grace for in this world no path is smooth and we all encounter stumbling blocks and how we over overcome them defines who and what type of person and indeed fancier we are. This came to me after seeing a post on social media on the subject character.
Now speaking of character, if there was an award for local pigeon personality and sportsman of the year then I for one could not think of a more worthy recipient than Alan Johnson the winner of St Leonards race from rugby on the 3rd of July, with his excellent yearling checker cock that has valiantly proved itself to be a real warrior of the sky. This pigeon has within a short time secured a plethora of prominent race positions for his master such as: 1st club 3rd Dorset Federation 4th club 17th fed (see past notes for further details) yes dear reader the incomparable “ Disco Dancer” Alan Johnson has once again taken to the floor showing us how real racing is done this time taking 1st club on the velocity of 906.70 which also secured Alan 4th Dorset Federation (212 birds competing ) into the bargain.” Congratulations Alan it could not happen to a nicer bloke! In one of the greatest battles since David Vs Goliath, it was only the gentle giant Mr Stuart Laws who was left considerably “nipping at Alan’s heels “, as S Laws takes the next 4 positions on the clubs result sheet while also scoring 16th 24th and 25th federation with a 2 yr red cock attaining the vel of 729.28, a 2yr check hen dong 680.24 and on the same velocity a yearling blue pied cock. Stuarts last bird on the result is a 5yr blue hen doing 675.33. Taking the back seat for this week is “Dorset’s leading lady" Mrs Jenny Mills in 6th place with a yrl dark pied hen on the going 648.49. Congratulations to all the prize winners this week
Although the UK was unable to Compete from the Barcelona international this year the event still draws huge Global attention from devotes of this marvellous marathon of the sky which ensures the victors name is forever enshrined in the folklore of the fancy for all eternity.
Unlike many of his continental contemporise this year’s winner, who is known in French racing circles as “Le Phénomène" shuns the spotlight, instead devoting his time to his family and feathered friends you can rest assured my dear readers that the French fancier extraordinaire Robert Ben, who perhaps should be called “the quiet man of Calais” is no stranger to success on the international stage when it comes racing from the Catalonian capital, for who can forget his iconic pigeon. “Super Ben “ this fine athlete who found a new home in the far East was arguably one of the greatest pigeons to grace the heavens in the history of European long distance racing.
From my research into this real marathon maestro our subject was born into a pigeon racing household the second eldest of 10 children shortly after the end of world war two. He became captivated by pigeons in his own right at the age of 14 firstly Keeping them as a pets but then the racing bug began to stir in his blood and like many of the great Barcelona flyers that has gone before him, the first time the name Robert Ben appeared on a result sheet it was in the Sprint races.
In 1989 the search was on to obtain crack distance blood, this was procured at the loft of Peter van den Eijnden of Deurne a great fancier who at that time was the leading light of International pigeon sport. and as they say the rest, well its history, and as has been said many a time before it has a habit of repeating itself. In 2021 both the name of Robert and super ben are on everyone’s lips once more, deservedly so for if we take the time to study the lineage of the lofts latest long distance legend then it soon becomes clear that the 2021 Barcelona winner is himself a direct descendant of super ben on both sire and dams sides the father of the pigeon now aptly named Barcelona Ben, is a great-great-grandson of “Super Ben”, and was also a top prize winner himself with a fine list of racing results to his credit including: 118th Nat. St Vincent 2,836 birds and 802nd Nat. Perpignan 3,832 birds 2014, 196th Nat. Narbonne 2,770 birds . 2015, 594th Nat. Barcelona 3,046 birds. and 671st Nat. Perpignan 2016, 336th Nat. Barcelona 3,099 birds and 355th Nat. Narbonne 2,610 birds. 2017, 212th Nat. Perpignan 3,477 birds 2018 and 654th Nat. Barcelona 2,996 birds and 602nd Nat. Perpignan 3,542 birds. 2019. The dam is a daughter of 01-064 “Son Super Ben” (5 out of 5 at Barcelona and 5 out of 5 at Perpignan) x 02-633, a sister of 02-669 (13-32-119-128-261-283-523e Nat. Barcelona and 55-213-230-350th Nat. Perpignan) and daughter of 97-171 “Half-sister Super Ben” (from father x grandmother “Super Ben” so we can definitively say that in the case “Monsieur Robert Ben marathon racing boils down to breeding from the best Barcelona blood possible and as we have seen they don’t come much better than “Super Ben “
I am sure this is only the beginning of the next chapter in the glittering career of a great and humble fancier ladies and gentleman I give you, Le Phénomène, the quiet man of Calais Robert Ben!
Every situation is a chance to learn photo courtesy of Pioneer Racing Pigeon Club of Ontario. Canada.
Robert Ben of Calais, winner of the 2021 Barcelona International with Barcelona Ben – 1st International Barcelona against 16.595 pigeons!