North West Classic Club
The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
The first race for the club was a great success and in between there have been mixed races for other organisations. We don’t appear to have settled weather at all in the modern day of racing pigeons. The weekend before saw races around the mile a minute mark so there was not much taken out of them.
Marking for the latest race for the club from Fougeres took place amid a lot of laughter which is always good for the sport. I was listening to a few things said on the other marking table and thought to myself, “Where did that come from” Then shortly after I said something to Stuart G and it all came out wrong, but we saw the funny side of it, Mel Bratt certainly did. There was a really good relaxed atmosphere and even when they had nearly all gone the few left were still looking at things on the bright side.
I had just spent two and a half days at the Royal Cheshire County Show and was feeling a bit worse for ware and not had our tea, so I left a bit earlier than normal. As always after the marking or racing for the club I had a word with our club President Mark Smith. At first, I thought he was phoning to ask me not to put the photo in this article of him on the marking night standing in the doorway have a pint, cannot leave that one out. But he was enquiring about the entries and saying how well the night had gone at Middlewich. Ray Bullen has a well-established team at Cheadle and Alan Wicker is getting them together at Bolton, so all going well. As anyone running a club will tell you, a good marking team is worth a lot when you are putting pigeons through.
As always on these nights the weather is a topical conversation with mixed views, come to think about it everyone talks about the weather if they don’t have pigeons. The weather had definitely changed after the two days of rain while the Show was on. We are in the office on the Friday and the weather outside is looking good but as we know weather can change overnight.
The sun shining through the window woke me at just after 5 and by 5.50am I was taking the dog for a walk. I then went into the office awaiting the call to say the birds were out. The call from race Controller Roger Sutton came just 7.15am to say the birds were in the clear blue sky at 7am with no wind. Roger went on to say in places along the route the wind was slightly in the east, but a good day and a good race expected. A good race expected.
However, as we all know with racing pigeons they don’t always turn out as expected. It appears that some started to have a good race and then the returns dried up a bit. We were not getting times reported as we usually do so it was a case of waiting to see how the pigeons had arrived at clock opening time. As at first expected there were a lot of pigeons clocked and another big job for Kim inputting the information for the result.
1st Open 1st Section B goes to Mr & Mrs Carl Rowledge from Crewe who are having a real good season, winning £300. On the marking night there was a conversation about these birds, how well they looked, and they were the ones to beat. This is what Carl & Emma had to say.
Georgi & Emma Rowledge with their Fougeres winner.
“We would like to firstly say how proud we are of our racers this year. Their performance has been outstanding and far exceeded all our expectations. This season we have had numerous 1st clubs in Greenbank Flying Club and Premier Invitation Flying Club. We have topped the Wrekin and South West Cheshire Feds several times and had high placings in nearly every race we’ve sent in. Our team has been working excellently together with different birds coming every week and the team rolling in from races. As mentioned in the previous article we came 10th and 13th in the NWCC Carentan race and came 1st and 3rd in Middlewich 2 bird club in the same race.
Then to top it all this last weekend has been one to remember for us. We took the first 7 positions in Greenbank Flying Club, won the Middlewich 2 Bird Flying Club from Fougeres and succeeded in the dream of winning the NWCC from Fougeres. Especially with the level of competition in the classic being so high.
Our classic winning bird from Fougeres, I am delighted to say, is off our foundation “Slatey Cock” bred by S & P Kulpa in Caversham. He sadly died of old age earlier this year after breeding us some good birds. The dam is a 2012 Huybrect “the trapper hen” who we have had from a yearling and also bred us some consistent pigeons.
Our second bird in the Classic placed 13th as he did also from Carentan. His Sire was a cock bred for us by A&L Painter of Willenhall out of the Dazzler. The dam is a Granddaughter of the Geesen hen. The winner of the Middlewich 2 bird Fougeres is a 2-year-old half-brother to the grizzle cock who got us 10th from Carentan in the classic and won the 2 bird Carentan race.
Previous to this year we have prioritised weekly sprint club racing while trying to expand our team to incorporate some middle-distance sprint racing bloodlines. We have been looking to get into classic racing more as the prize money is so much better than club racing and the standard of competition is much higher and more widespread.
We feel there is a decline in club racing particularly in Crewe and with 3 clubs in the town surely the time has come for there to be just one with better prize money and greater competition. This is partly why the classic is such a good club for us to race in.
As old bird racing is now coming to an end for this season, we are now looking to our young birds to hopefully continue our success. We have bought our gold rings for the NWCC YB race from Carentan and all being well they will go on to race with the attitude of our older team.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank A&L Painter for their support, advice and excellent birds. They are just starting to come through for us now with some outstanding performances in the club and now over the channel too. Our birds have been our superstars this year and we hope their success will continue” Thanks Emma, who I am told is more than keen with the pigeons. See Emma and Georgi with “Burt” their Fougeres NWCC winner. Thanks for the information, scribes would love their winners to be so forthcoming with information.
2nd & 3rd Open 1st & 2nd Section A are won by Roger Sutton over at Congleton collecting £450, another fancier who is having a cracking season, mind you he doesn’t very often have a bad one.
4th Open 3rd Section A is won by Slawomir Tomczak a fancier from Macclesfield doing well this year, wins £150. He had a good race and the pigeons he is clocking are mainly the Curtis-Wall-Lunt, Leo Hereman family, they also have a touch of Soontjen in them. Slawek is having a good season, also doing well in the SMDF Midlands Combine with the same pigeons, winning both on land and channel. Slawek started flying 2 seasons ago after keeping pigeons as a young lad in his native homeland in Poland. He was gifted birds from the maestros Curtis-Wall-Lunt and has quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the local club’s Fed’s etc. In this race his first bird is a 2-year-old Leo Heremans chequer widowhood cock who has flown all races in the fed programme and also Carentan in the North West Classic. This cock has also flown Carentan in the fed gaining 24th fed and was 1st club 7th sec 13th open Carentan in the Midlands Combine last season. Slawek has his own mechanics business and the birds have to fit in with this but they are still cleaned out twice a day and the floor has wooden grills.
Slawomir Tomczak with his trophies and below his 3rd section 4th Open with his hen.
5th Open 2nd Section B is win by Tom Duffy of Worsley who comes up with good results in the specialist races, plus £210.
6th & 9th Open 3rd & 5th Section B is another success story for Goostry’s Eric Taylor. Eric is as keen as they come and no matter where he races, he is rarely far behind winning £270. Eric races his pigeons on the widowhood but this year he has added a few hens. They are fed on a basic widowhood depurative Sunday & Monday with a heavy mix for the channel, Eric does like to try like to try all racing. But he does enjoy competing in the National and Classic races. He had a big team of yearlings this year because he did not lose many young birds and was looking to be even more competitive. Unfortunately, he lost five of his best cocks in the first National race which set his racing back, but as he said that's pigeon racing. He does not train the cocks once racing starts but the hens get two 35mls tosses a week. There are 5 stock pairs and there are 4 lofts, a total of 80 foot with a total of 8 sections. This week’s winner is one of his own long-standing lines of, Gerald Dellaney, Orooryhill Stud.
7th Open 4th Section A is a good result for Crehan & O’Connor from Ordsall a team who have a habit of sending 1 or 2 and getting them around the top of the result, including winning the National, picking up £294.
8th Open 4th Section B is Alan Wicker who works hard for the sport over at Bolton and is now getting the results, with £80.
10th Open 6th Section B are the Burtonwood Aces R & B Smith who are never far away wherever they send and, in this race, had plenty well up in the result collecting £155. The partnership clocked a yearling Blue Cock. This bird is already a winner of 3rd section 37th open MNFC Chale 204 miles 3901 birds, 4th St Helens 3 bird Portland 199 miles, 1st club 2nd fed Bath 2nd club 2nd fed Bath 140 miles. This year he won, 1st club 1st fed Mangotsfield. 2nd club 11th fed Cheltenham.7th Warrington 2 bird Carentan. What a pigeon and he has the same sire making him a half-brother to the National winning “Holmestar Beauty” 1st section 1st open MNFC, Coutances against 8900 birds. His dam is an import from their good friend Joe Xuereb of Malta, these being bred from direct Jannsen Brothers birds from his friend Ernesto Agostani in Italy.
The old birds are raced on widowhood, both cocks and hens are raced, with the cocks being exercised twice a day and the hens once. The cocks have access to their boxes at all times with the hens having their own separate section with access to an aviary, they are exercised to this section, never going into the racing loft unless training or racing. The hens are let into the cocks before all races and left with them after the race for about half an hour, a little longer for the channel races.
They are fed on a standard widowhood mix with fat mixtures added as the distance increases. With the channel season now starting in mid-May they are fed fats with widowhood mix from then. Feeding is done throughout the day and they never have food in hoppers or pots, they can be fed 4 or 5 times with small amounts given each time.
View from inside R & B Smith's loft.
Their preference is all channel races up to 540 miles, they are members of the NFC and the MNFC and try to send to all the races except Tarbes and the old hens races. They are also members of the North West Classic and North West Grand National and several 2 bird and 3 bird clubs. They have a busy season as they also race in 2 Saturday clubs in 2 different feds and try to support both of these clubs.
The racing loft has 48 widowhood boxes, so they normally have between 40 to 48 cocks with the same hens. The stock loft fluctuates, with new introductions plus they do leave some young birds in there every year off the best racers and breeders from that year. They race the young birds on darkness and have about 70 in that loft with about 20 second round on natural these are trained and if possible, they try to get them into 2 races as extras.
They start the racing season with 2 tosses a week at 50 miles but when the channel starts, they are sent to the comeback races so they only get 1 a week and if they went to the comeback race they don’t have any that week.
The racing loft is 48 x 8 feet with a 2-foot passage and plenty of ventilation this is split into 4 sections at about 10 x 6 feet with 12 large boxes in each section. The other section is for the hens and just has vee perches in.
The McGenity girls viewing Dad's section winner.
1st Section C was won by John McGenity from Widnes with a gift pigeon from Tony Kirwan also from Widnes and was kindly given off his good grizzle hen. On race day’s the girls enjoy sitting out in the garden waiting for the birds to arrive with their dad. They take care of the tin of corn ready to call them down after a long fly home with the clock ready to hand to clock in the ring. John went on to say. “The North West classic is a great club everyone’s very friendly and helpful, it’s a very well-run club with great prize money to be won in each section. More people should join”
The next race for the club is from Messac followed the following week with the Saintes open that so far looks to be going well. This race is open to fanciers flying 365mls from Messac and west of line 2.00.00. For all races with the club there is £1000 prize money guaranteed by sponsor plus any excess from the entry fees.