North West Classic Club
After the last race, I was asked how we get the result out in such a club by noon the day after the race and the report on line a few days later. I am one for not letting the grass grow under my feet, if a job needs doing the sooner it is done and out of the way the sooner I can move on to the next job. There is also the more important point and that is the members competing want to know asap who has won the race and where they are on that result. The happier the members the more likely they are to send to the races, in most cases anyway. The early result in such a club would not work without the help of certain people and Ray Bullen is one such person who calls on the morning after each race with the details from the Cheadle marking station. As secretary, I am up early checking the forms that come in on the race night for the Middlewich station. By checking the sheets early, they are ready for when Kim comes in around 7am to do all the input into the PC to get the result finished. All the entry figures are keyed into the PC at Middlewich on marking night and the Cheadle forms the following morning. Then we print off the entries and the income then sort out the prize money and enter that into the PC. This means that as soon as Kim has finished her job we can press the button and all is done. I then email the winners asking for their winning details and as they come in they are added to the report. This report is started well before the race in fact the Messac race is 9 days away as I am starting this report. I am also working on another marking station for the club so hopefully that will be in place for next year. I was talking to Chris Knowles about the club and he was saying that there is already another more than possible sponsor for 2018, which shows that people are looking at the club and what is going on. I am a firm believer in sponsors getting their share of publicity because we need these people and the support that they give to the sport. The sponsors in this race are RopaB Mr & Mrs Geoff Kirkland British Homing World. The sponsorship is worth around £3500 to the club this year and we hope to increase that for the 2018 season, I am already working on a letter to go out towards the end of this year. In the build up to this race the weather is really good and there is no reason why the birds should not be in top form. We have had a mini heatwave which will affect the pigeons but the use of electrolytes will mostly help them though this spell of weather. At the moment, which is Wednesday we are having another warm day but here in Cheshire it is not as hot as the weathermen said it was going to be but it is only 9am and there is a lot of cloud cover. What sort of numbers am I expecting for this race, I must say I am not sure because I am still hearing that the National birds from a few weeks ago are still not returning and where they are they are finished for the season and there are few of them. On the Thursday night for marking things started slow but in the end, there was a good send just about topping the 400 mark which was what we needed and was up on the previous race. This might not sound many birds to some but this is a Classic club and fanciers are mainly sending their best with a few extra’s to try. Plus, all members are flying over 300mls from across the channel so it is not just a race from down the road. Saturday morning came and after being up for part of the night slept in until just after 7.30am so it was a rush down to the phone to find out if the birds had been liberated. No, I was safe they were not yet out but race controller Roger Sutton was telling me that he was not sure at that time if they would have a lib. We agreed that we would speak nearer 9am and when Roger did call it was to say that due to bad weather they were being held over and that Sunday looked a good day with a northerly wind keeping them steady. Roger went on to say that one fed had liberated but I found later that the birds were a bit spread out, some had good races and some were struggling. They were down country so it looks like a good decision to hold. These birds were liberated at 9am on the Sunday morning in a light west wind, the Combine into the North West were up at 8.30am so should be well ahead. Roger was saying that it was now clear in France and so was the channel with light drops of rain expected on line in parts of the UK.
The top spot goes to Chris Knowles who is always one to supply good information. When we scribe’s compile reports we struggle to get enough details, this is a winner who does a good job on the report that we request. Fanciers reading articles want a bit more information but far too often they are rather reserved with what they supply. “The cock that has won the NWCC Messac race is a pigeon with a story, like many winners over the years; his life has not been all plain sailing. His victory at Messac has come with his third channel crossing; his first which was last year as a 2yo, is where his story began. Carentan was the race point and the day turned out to be tricky NE wind with overcast skies. Not a disastrous race but a race when quite a few pigeons were missing on the day of lib. The race to my loft went O.K. and I won the local club but for “Lancaster” as I call the chequer white flight cock, it was probably a race that he will never forget. When he didn’t show on the day, my thoughts were like those of many fanciers when a decent pigeon is missing, he’s probably injured or dead. He didn’t roll up Sunday either, so by this time I was even surer that I had seen the last of him. However, Monday morning and the phone rang! A very nice gentleman working for a commercial vehicle parts outlet rang to say that he was not a pigeon fancier but that he had a pigeon in box and he had found my phone number on its wing. The obvious questions followed; do you have the number from the ring on its leg? Followed by where are you situated? The facts were the ring number of the Classic winner and he was in Lancaster, about an hour and quarters run north up the M6. I explained that I couldn’t make it that day but went the following morning to collect the pigeon. When I met the gentleman who had reported him, he explained how the pigeon had walked into reception and almost asked for help and I can verify that he couldn’t have chosen a better place to seek it! I thanked and rewarded the gentleman for his kindness and assistance and we returned home. “Lancaster” didn’t race again last year but has flown 4 inland races in 2017 and then went to the NWCC Fourgeres race where he finished 34th Section A 77th Open when having the second channel crossing of his eventful career. He has not been in a basket again until the Messac race when he produced the best performance to date. “Lancaster” has been a very consistent pigeon up to his channel racing, always at the fore in head winds and winning club and fed prizes as a YB, yearling and 2yo. He is bred from a pair of racers who are both club and Fed. prize winners up to Fourgeres which to me is 354 miles. His sire being 7th Open Staffs. Moorlands Fed. Fourgeres in a NE wind when over 9 hours on the wing, winning 2nd North Section to a loft mate. His dam is another very consistent racer who is now at stock, being sister to “Eccles” 1st Open Eccles 2 Bird Fourgeres (YB) when only 2 birds were timed on the day of lib. Eccles and his sister are both bred from my No.1 stock cock of Jan Loots origin. The sire of “Lancaster” is a Willy Thas cock, via stock form my good friend Alistair Ewart and he is full brother to the pigeon that won “Bird of The Year” in Lancashire Social Circle for me in 2012. As you can see “Lancaster” is a racer bred from racers but the he has the right blood running through his veins for a task like the NWCC. The most important point is to note that like all good pigeons who make a mistake, he learned from it and went on to make amends! He is raced on a traditional widowhood system where no training takes place after the first race, only exercise around home and an appropriate diet”
Chris Knowles Winner and Eye shot.
Rick & Simon Geary had a good race with 2nd 4th 9th section and open after the first 11 positions went to section A. This father and son partnership are very good pigeon fanciers and are keen to race whenever possible, they are keen and do win well. Their first pigeon in the clock is the “26 Hen” she has won a few cards at club level as young bird she won £1200 pound in the North Staffs 4B race. Her sire is Koopman that we bought off Albert Tarelton while her dam is the Smokey hen who herself topped the Fed twice and is a Sootjen cross Koopman. This hen also has the lines of their well-known pigeon “Shy Boy”. Their second pigeon in the clock is the “76 Hen” who herself has had club cards and she was their Pool pigeon at Coutances, in this race she was their fancy pigeon. Her breeding has John Allbutt’s Staff van Reet lines and their own Sootjen x Huybrecht which come through John Keywood of Surrey. They race the hens on the widowhood system and to make things easier they use the stock cocks for the hens to race back too. They are Fed on varimax corn and they have garlic in the water twice a week and also Aviform products in the water. “Hi, Les. I would just like to say what a good race it was and the birds came back in fantastic condition. We would also like to congratulate Chris on winning the race and Paul Beck who had a great race and Brian Lee who also had a had a good race. Rick Geary”.
Rick and Simon Geary
One of the inform lofts when it comes to channel racing is Brian Lee who is having another good season. Brian wins 3rd section 3rd Open in this race. Brian was telling me that he has a few very good reliable pigeons for the channel races, pigeons like that are hard to find and as we know when one doesn’t return as expected we do not rest thinking about it. This week’s pigeon for Brian is the reliable “Ruby 2” a blue roundabout hen that won as a youngster and as a yearling took second place in the NWCC 4 bird Carentan. This season has seen her at or near the front in club races in the Wrekin fed, 8th Frome, 1st club,8th fed Yeovil, 3rd Frome, 4th Bath all races circa 300 birds. Her dam being “Ruby” was one of Brian’s best ever racing hens. She won this race herself in 2014 and went on to do the double by winning Messac. Her two sisters also featured prominently in these races, as well as winning Cheshire two bird and top 10 NFC section L prizes. A full brother to “Ruby” is "Wiggins" who last season was 6th section L Saintes and a couple of weeks later 5th NW section 20th Open MNFC Bordeaux. “Ruby” is bred down from Roger Sutton stock and “Ruby 2’s” sire is from one of Stoke on Trent’s best fanciers Tommy Shaw and is "My Fair Lady" lines, Tommy’s best ever racing hen.
Brian Lee and Granddaughter Ruby, holding "Ruby 2".
Paul Beck had a great race with 5th 6th 7th 8th & 10th section and Open when many struggled to get them. These were all hens raced on the roundabout system that were paired the week before the Blackpool Show with them being allowed to rear one young bird each. They were well road trained before the first race. They were then sent to all the club inland races up to the first North West Classic race and they have been sent to Countances, Fougeres and now Messac. In between these NWCC races they were road trained on a daily basis. They have not let Paul down winning a lot of club and fed cards. The breeding of the first three in the clock are, 1st Sootjen, 2nd Van der Merwe and 3rd Heremans-Ceusters. It is worth noting that all three are sprint based. Paul has paired these hens to some of the stock cocks and there are 3 sections for them to race to. Two of these sections have reared a young bird each while the third section has not. We talk about the birds coming into peak fitness, well the best of the hen’s performances has come from the hens that have reared a young bird. This causes them to drop a flight at the right time and then they achieve that peak fitness that we are all looking for in the pigeons. Paul has obviously put a lot of time into these hens and they have rewarded him well.
1st section B 12th Open is Eric Taylor whose winner is one from an egg presented to him by Congleton’s Keith Morris & Son. The sire was 1st Eccles 2B and 8th section L Saintes with the breeding going back to the old “Blakey Cock” of the late Brian Beardmore. I revived an article on Brian a few months back, he really was a good fancier and did a lot of winning. Back to Eric and his latest winner that is one of a team of 32 widowhood cocks, he doesn’t race the hens at all because he said they are too much work. In this race, he had good returns with 17 sent and 17 home so his returns on the day were the best I heard. Eric went on to say that he still has the old Phil McDonald pigeons that come from Frank Howard and I am told that they are the Lefebre Dhaenens that did so well racing into the Northwich area. They were also crossed with the Verheys, he was saying that they are now getting a bit slow but still too fast for most others.
2nd section B 13th Open are Jones Bros & K Jones with a 2yo widowhood chequer hen she had 3rd section in the North West Classic last year from Messac. This is proving to be a good hen having also won in the Aton Bridge club from Cheltenham this year. Their pigeons are based on the Andre Clemens line that have won for them for the past 15 years.
Karen Jones of the Jones Bros & K. Jones partnership.
Peter & Dawn Latham are 3rd section B 14th Open with a yearling blue hen sent sitting 12 days, her mother is a Van der Pashe and her farther is off Geoff and Barbara Kirkland. Her mother won various prizes before being retired three years ago due to injury. Her grandmother won a few prizes from Gloucester to Niort and is Dawn's favourite hen “02222”. The family have all won either for this loft or others but all hens and they have never bred a cock off this family of pigeons.
P & D. Latham's 3rd Section D Winner.
Joe Livesey clocked three to collect the first 3 prizes in section C, Joe being the longest flyer in this race up at Preston. First in the clock for Joe is a 2yo chequer cock and then yearling chequer cock, he was saying that when he sent them his thoughts were on one of the longer National races. These are previous prize winners and as with all pigeons here they are well tested and even the yearlings must go to 500mls in preparation for the distance races later in life. Joe also said that they looked well when they returned and the race did not take a lot out of them which is a good sign for later longer races. Joe has about 40 to race on the roundabout but he does pair them up for the last couple of distance races. The pigeons do get 2 x 60ml tosses each week with the local trainer, he uses this facility because he is self-employed and does not have the time to go down the road with pigeons during the week. The makeup of the pigeons housed is all based on distance racing and to achieve that Joe has the Dave Impett stock and we all know how well they have raced over the years at the distance. He has also added the Jelle Jellama distance family that are going very well, first in the clock is this line on both sides while the next is 50/50 and the third is all Dave Impett lines. If you have a family of distance pigeons they do tend to slow down after a few generations breeding. To try and speed them up a little Joe has brought in a direct son of the famous “Champion Snake” of Mr & Mrs Geoff Kirkland, only time will tell. But if you look at the way Geoff has bred and flown he has done this
Thanks to Mark Smith for the Middlewich workers photo, there are more but not to be seen when this shot was taken, must have decided it was time for a pint after their hard work.
NWCC Messac Result - flown on 25th June 2017
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.
01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.
web site www.elimarpigeons.com