The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
The preparation for this Saintes race fell at a time when far too much was happening, we had several things on the go including decorating, the Royal Cheshire County Show, the Messac race with the club plus sorting the advert out for this race and I was in the middle of the sale list for the Crammond & Langstaff sale. All in all, it was a very busy spell, and this led to unusual mistakes but one thing we learnt and that is we restrict the work and get it right first time in future. There were members who would have preferred a shorter race from Ancencis after the hard season that the old birds have experienced. However, there were a few who were determined to have a Saintes race and with it being on the programme that is where the club were going. As we now know the week prior to the Saintes race the Tarbes National birds had a real tough race with numbers clocked being well down and there were none on the day. The following day they were coming home like drops of rain in the desert. I was talking to Geoff Bebbington the day before basketing for the Tarbes race and he said he had looked at the weather forecast and decided not to send. Then when I spoke to him on the second day of the race he was happy that he had not sent. Going back to that point, Roger Sutton was telling me that he had been talking to Ray Bullen who does a good job with other members at the marking station at Cheadle. Ray was saying that he had been talking to members of the club who normally send but they had experienced such a hard season they were asking about a shorter race, which was where the idea was first muted. I fully understood their concerns but there were fanciers whose aim is to compete in the Saintes race with the club and were preparing their pigeons for this race. After all that has gone on I am wondering whether we will have the birds come marking night, we have several days before that day arrives so let’s hope fanciers can carry on preparing their birds and we have a good entry. This is a 500ml plus race so not an easy race at the best of times never mind after the long hot dry spell we have had. Back with the Tarbes race the second day of the race saw pigeons racing into this area from 90mls and they were mostly down to 900ypm which is not good for the pigeon fanciers were giving a trip out before the Saintes race. However, come marking night we ended up with 38 less than last year and due to work a couple of members missed the early marking times. Then on the Thursday morning we had a few fanciers who were asking about marking on the Thursday for Saintes. I have already held my hand up over the mistake on the advert which said Thursday 4th July, so the date was right, but the day was wrong. I shall also add that there is no way a transporter is going to mark Thursday, make all collections and then drive down to Saintes and be there in time to give the birds a rest and have them fed, watered and ready for a lib. On the face of it, had we all checked properly we would have seen the mistake and adjusted accordingly, as Mark said its one of those things that happens from time to time, I said it’s my age, but I didn’t get away with that one. Taking into account the weather and what I have just said it is a fact that there are still fanciers in the North West who want to race from 500mls plus no matter what. They are preparing their pigeons well in advance on the race date so want to send their birds. It is now Thursday mid-day, so everyone is hoping the weather will at some time during the journey suit the pigeons. The build up to the weekend was a bit of a mixed affair because the Combine still marked on the Wednesday but raced on the Friday from Messac as opposed to Saturday when the race was due to be held. They were out a bit late for a channel race into the North West but that has happened on other occasions this year and they have not made home in the numbers, so it was well done to those well-bred pigeons who made it home.
1st section A 1st Open goes to Bruce Dardyshire who clocked a 2yo blue cock from the Florizoon/Van Der Wegan lines. This particular bird was bred from stock originating from Tony Merrick back in 2014. Bruce was saying that he had been waiting a long time for the right opportunity to use this stock following a slow last few years after a full hip replacement and poor health. This year though Bruce was determined to put his all into his birds with a lot of care and training. Bruce has now been an avid fancier for over 50yrs with his passion for the sport superseding everything else in his life as is the case with many other fanciers. After reach retirement and looking forward to putting all his focus and attention into the birds he was disappointed to have fallen ill. However, this did not hinder him it only made him more determined to make a full recovery and put his racing plans into action. Being such a committed flyer and after some disappointing racing last season due to the weather. Bruce his family and friends within the community are thrilled for him and this win showing the real hard work and dedication he has given to his birds and club have paid off.
Bruce Darbyshire and friends Bruce Darbyshire wing when the winner raced home.
1st section B 2nd Open are Mr & Mrs Dudley Niblett with their sole entry into this hard race which was a Marcellis/Soontjen chequer cock that also flew this race last year and finished 6th section 12th open on the day. I have to say when I called I handled this cock and he was a dream of a pigeon, the only problem was holding him his feathering was like silk and he slipped through your hands. I also looked at his wing and as Doug said he was in perfect condition for the race, next morning you would not have thought he had been to a race never mind such a hard 520ml race. This is a good cock having won on both land and channel into the North West, the difference between this and last year was that he was raced natural for the first trip to Saintes and widowhood for the second visit. Doug had pigeons as a lad but then stopped for a few years while the family grew up and then restarted. The birds are fed on a light mix of two widowhood mixes these being Versela Laga and Bamfords. After the morning exercise they are fed a light diet mix and then a full feed of the widowhood mixes in the evening. For training they had two tosses before the races started and then nothing at all, but Doug was saying that it has been a pleasure to watch them exercise around home and this last few weeks they have won 4 x 1sts plus 2nd 3rds Etc. This is only a small team loft and they have only raced 5 cocks, they did try the roundabout, but the hens would not take to it, so they were put to one side. The pigeons are based on the Marcellis stock from John Roberts from North Wales with the Soontjens being from Nigel Laycock and a fancier from Derbyshire who was leaving the sport unfortunately they cannot recall his name. The young birds are trained but Irene said they are thick, but I don’t think so because they are training them, and they are taking mostly about 90mins to get home even from a few miles. I think they are keeping them too well and they are content in flying the sky out before they decided its time to go home, nothing wrong with that. The other way of looking at it is they are all coming home whereas some fanciers are losing them every time they go into the basket. One thing is for sure the young bird season is about to start, and we will see how they go on, not just in the early part of the season.
Mr & Mrs Dudley Niblett widowhood racing section Mr & Mrs Dudley Niblett with their 2nd Saintes
1st & 2nd section C 3rd 9th Open go to Joe Livsey up in Preston so are a couple of good pigeons in such a hard race, mind you they are all good in these races once they get on the result. I have spoken to a few fanciers about Joe and they all say the same thing, he is the one to beat in the longer races.
2nd section B 4th Open goes to Ron Woodward had a late start and helped by Mike O’Hare got them into a decent condition for the later races. Ron is never one for the paperwork of the pigeons and he tells me he they have no details on the breeding of this pigeon which is unfortunate when you look at his record for this year. In four races to date he was 6th bird to loft from 28 sent to Bath. Then in his second race he was 1st bird to loft 3rd Middlewich F.C. followed by 7th Open NWCC Messac and now 4th Open Saintes, both the latter two classics being very tough races so credit must go to the pigeon. Mike did say that he suspects that he must have shown up in previous seasons but without access to Middlewich FC and 5 Bird club records he has no way of telling. For the first race of the season he was flown sitting eggs, for the second and third races he was on widowhood and for the final race he was given his hen 2 days before basketing.
2nd & 3rd section 5th & 7th Open see another couple of prizes go the way of Roger Sutton from Congleton.
3rd section B 6th Open is Dave Pritchard sent the following. “Before start with my information I would just like to congratulate all the members on their Saints winners on this difficult race and the warm welcome from all the hard-working team on NWCC. My first is "819" a blue Dordin hen who is proving to be a good pigeon having won 2 x 1st 2xnds 3rds etc including fed position’s. "819" was raced lightly last season in preparation for this year’s NWCC channel program and was raced double widowhood. She was sent to Carentan 1 and timed in early next morning after the late liberation and was then prepared for Fougeres. When basketing the pigeons and checking them over for the final time I noticed "819" vents were slightly open Mmmm I decided not to send her and left "819" in her box for the returning cock from the race. Out of my 25 entries to this race only 20 returned and "819"s cock was missing, so on Monday night I moved all the hens over to their section and noticed she had laid so I left "819" to sit them for a few days. After those few days she was keen as mustard and I could not lift her from the next bowl, a few days later I would exercise her with the w/hens in their normal daily exercise and move the eggs to the stock loft to keep them warm. I then moved "819" daily to her next box at night and after 2weeks of sitting I thought she would have left them, but no! so she was sent to Frome in prep for Saintes and timed well in the winning group to my loft. These eggs then hatched and was sent with a 5day old youngster to Saintes to record 3rd section 6th open. She is a Dordin hen and yes, it is one from Chris the club secretary of Moulton which were gifted in 2016 from the ten when I started racing. I would also like to thank Chris for his kindness when I started in 2016 and the quality of pigeons that he gave up to me to get me started. Thanks Chris” Dave has really flown well since staring 2yrs ago and has put up many creditable performances.
Dave Pritchard's first in the clock at Saintes Dave Pritchard outside his lofts
4th section B 8th Open is won by DJ&CJ Wilkinson where David clocked a yearling dark cock flown on widowhood, a cock has previously prized from across the channel. His sire is a Jan Aarden bred buy Louella Pigeon World and was selected by Jim Emerton for the breeding loft where he was paired to a Sticklebaut hen from Gerhard Schlepporst, another pigeon carefully selected by Jim Emerton. Distance has always been the way forward for Jim because they are the pigeons he based his own racing team on and he has carried that selection process on for this loft. This cock was paired beginning of January when he sat eggs for 15 days before being placed on the widowhood. He then raced the Mid Cheshire fed programme and flew 2 channel races before Saintes. Thinking ahead the plan for this cock next year is the BICC Agen race in 2019.
Dave Wilkinson with his Saintes pigeon
4th section A 10th Open is collected by Brian Lee who has had another good season in the specialist clubs. This is a blue pied yearling cock bred for Brian by his good friend of many years Steve Harrison of Millmeece, Staffordshire. Steve had to stop racing pigeons a few years ago due ill health and advancing years, his wife Ingrid performs the daily chores of cleaning out Etc. that allows Steve to continuing the pleasure of his birds. Steve loved the distance events as Brian does and kept a few old favourites. Brian offered to provide him with a few of his distance types to put to his and see what would happen. Steve would have a couple of Brian’s rings, NFC/MNFC/NWCC, rear the young, then pass to Brian to prepare and race and he would pool the birds when their events cropped up. 016 is such a bird, a Haagen/ Busscheart raced celibate until the Saintes race when he was paired 24 hours prior to basketing.
Brian Lee & g-d Ruby
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.
Tel: 01606836036 Mobile: 07871701585.
web site www.elimarpigeons.com