North West Classic Club
Les J Parkinson reports on the Saintes race.
When the committee first discussed this 500ml plus race some were not sure if it would be a success or not but then we heard that the Combine was coming back to a shorter distance the space became available for such a race and it was achievable. To try to make this race an even bigger success the committee made it an open race to encourage more to send to a race/distance that was flown by many in years gone by. There have been some good 500ml plus races into the North West over the years and they have been successful. The most prestige’s of these races was always the Gt Northern Saintes but like so many more good races that one appears to have gone into the same category of races from the past. They did try to get this race back into a prominent position on the racing calendar but it did not last. I was surprised that they did not get the support for what was once such a prestige’s race and deserves to be amongst the top races in the North West. Let’s hope that this race becomes a race in the North West that the fancier’s feel is so good they need to be seen on the result’s in the future. Organising such a race is never easy because you never know how many crates to order, we can of course go over the top but then we are handling far more than we need to do in the first place. Having said that a couple of weeks before the race I did speak to other officials of the club about numbers and no one was sure what kind of response we would get. This was expected but someone somewhere has to make a decision on what we need to order so it was decided 7 crates at each marking station should be enough, the guess was not bad because we used 8 crates but not at each marking station. I have to say I was a little disappointed with the send at Cheadle but that’s the way it goes, we cannot win them all. In total, there were 144 birds entered by 32 members and for a North West 510ml plus race at this time of year we are reasonably happy with it especially being the first attempt in the changing modern times for the club. We also have to remember that the 2017 season will go down as one of the worst ever in National racing where they have all taken a battering on one weekend or another. On the marking night at Middelwich the race was discussed and the general consensus of opinion was that this could be a race of the future and that we should persevere with it for the next couple of years. There have been some really good 500ml plus races in the North West over the years and then for whatever reason they slumped. However, the feeling appears to be that we should try them again and see what happens and perhaps next year everyone will have better channel racing, we do live in hope. The girls taking the money on marking night were saying that it was like going back to how it was years ago with some friendly fancier’s having a laugh. There were fanciers who admitted they had not looked at the marking times in the advert and turned up only to see they were too late but Jack did admit that it was his own fault for not reading the advert. As far as none members sending to this open race there were 7 with some saying that they would be joining the club next year so something else has come out of this open race. On the Friday before the race I checked the weather forecast and it looked goon through Franks and into the UK although there was a lot of cloud and spots of rain about. With that in mind I was up at 5.30am taking the dog for a walk and then when I was back I sent a text to our race controller Roger Sutton to let him know I was available to update the lib line. As expected Roger called just after 6.10am to say the birds were up at 6am in a very, very light North-East wind. To help the pigeons along the wind changed to South West in the UK and there would be further cloud and a few spots of rain along the line of flight. Roger added that he expected a hard race but did expect a few back in their lofts on the day from this 520mls plus race. The benefit for the NWCC fanciers was that they were up with pigeons from Bristol to the Midlands so would have some company for most of their journey home. As I was taking the news on the lib I was looking at the weather outside and we were well overcast but that appeared to be what the forecast was the night before. It also crossed my mind what a hard and long job the race controller has when we get to the longer races. There is one thing for sure and that is when we get to such distances there are never always that many home in the day. During Saturday, I was talking to a few fanciers and most were thinking of 40mph and early indications from other races gave the early droppers in the North West 13hrs. Would they do it, I didn’t know but what I did know other libs from across the water were on or around the 40mph mark. Roger was telling me that he had spoken to someone who had come through France and the wind in most parts was a bit stronger of a North East than at the liberation point. Anyway, it is just on 12hrs as I sit here typing and it is a very warm day. When we arrived down at the club I have to say I was pleased with the number of fanciers who turned up with their clocks. 520 to 550mls into the North West is not an easy race and to see so many clocked on the day has to be a good sign for the future. Also, none members featured well in the open result so a further incentive for them to join the club next year. As they say onwards and upwards.
Well we better get down to the winners starting with another good race for Brian Lee from Congleton who is 1st section A 1st open with “992” who is a 2yo chequer hen flown on the roundabout system and although she is a consistent performer, this is the first time she has been first to the loft. A closer look at her pedigree reveals all, her sire is a De Ruaw Sablon/Marcel Aelbrecht X Willy Thas/Casaert from Frank Taskers clearance sale, purchased by Saintes NFC winner from the Isle of White, Eric Wiltshire. The sire was gifted to me by my age-old pal Jeff Worthington from Bramhall Cheshire, who has known Eric for years. The dam is again De Rauw Sablon from my good friend John Brocklehurst’s Premiere stud stock and is inbred to champion “Gilbert”. Brian’s birds fly the channel every two weeks and sometimes more if the conditions allow. This may seem harsh but the only time they go in the basket is to race, Brian does not train old birds! They are fed on Vanrobaeys diet and Bordeaux mix for old and young and supplement this with fats as we increase the distance and dependant on the weather. Brian use’s most of the Vanrobaeys products that are on sale at Astbury Pigeon Supplies just outside Congleton, the proprietor being Brian’s very good friend Roger Sutton. Brian is one of those fanciers who believe’s in a robust regime of maintenance is observed weekly whereby the birds have a rehydration mix in the water when returning from a race. This can be Diarolite or own brand off the supermarket shelf, half a sachet to two litres of water and in the evening, this is replaced with clean water and Vircon S at a rate of 2.5ml to 2ltrs water, a broad spectrum viricidal disinfectant. The double whammy here is that your bird and drinkers are thoroughly cleaned out, the drinkers most important as the risk of infection/cross infection from this source is massive. Monday Cider vinegar is added to the water to balance the gut flora, now you have your bird fit for purpose once again.
Brian Lee Eric Taylor
1st section B 2nd open goes to the smiling Eric Taylor with a pigeon bred by 3rd open winners Keith Morris & Son Steve. Eric’s first pigeon was also first section B from Messac on the 25th June 2017. This was a gift egg from Keith and Stevie Morris from their second section 8th Open Saintes out of Brian Beardmore's “Blakey” and on the other side was the Denis Burton Delbars. The second pigeon is a Sangers cross Verheye from a pigeon Eric calls the "Fifty Pounder". This is a Marcel Sangers "Top Gun" which is off his good friend Nigel Shaw in 2002. Eric still has him and he has bred Club, Fed and Combine winners. When Eric returned home from the club there were two more birds home. Eric, “I would just like to say how professional and well run The NWCC is run now”.
2nd section A 3rd open goes to none members Keith & Steve Morris. Their winner is a Delbar dark Pied cock (see photo), bred at the lofts and he is bred for the 500ml plus races. His sire flew Saintes on the day several times and always in the first 10 of section L on day. As a 2yo he went to Niort and this is his first trip to Saintes. Keith was saying that they always go out to breed pigeons for the 500 miles plus races and nothing else really interests him. The Debars come from the late Denis Burton, he was a top winner at such distances and these Delbars were originally direct from Delbar himself. Keith & Steve have still got the original 2003 cock who was breeding up to 2016 but not bred this year and still looks fit. Keith was saying that he was pleased with the result having won 5 x 2nd & 6 x 3rd in Saintes NFC, best being 2nd Sec, 9th Open 2013 Saintes with the NFC. In this race, Eric Taylor was 2nd in the race with a swap of yb’s so 2nd & 3rd bred by Keith & Steve who are pleased with the days racing. Steve clocked and handed to dad Keith who said the cock handled really well when he came. He came on a brilliant line and slapped around the loft twice before he dropped through the door. All the yearlings have been to Ancensis 403 miles, this is part of the preparation for later in life and the 500mile races. Keith went on to say that he likes to race the young birds in the Wrekin Fed because they are not too many birds dragging them in corridor flying and they have to do a bit of thinking.
Keith Morris Delbar Dark Pied Cock
2nd section B 4th Open Chaisty & Gethins had another good race and this time clocked a Janssen cross Dordin 2yo dark chequer hen. I am told that these are men of few words unless they have had a few pints. The grand-sire of this hen was bred by J & R Tweats of Congleton while the hen is a Dordin bred by Derek Lawton from Crewe. As a young bird she was flown to the coast then as a yearling had two channel races and this year she has been raced on the roundabout system with two short channel races before this Saintes race.
Mike Gethins Rick & Simon Geary
3rd & 4th section A 5th & 6th Open Rick & Simon Geary whose first pigeon through the trap was a 3yo blue hen which was having her 6th channel race this year. She is bred out of the “Throat Cock” being the lines of John Albutt and John Keywood which are Staf Van Reet one side and Huybrecht on the dam’s side. The dam's side of the hen does originate from are old Soontjen line's which have been the base of their pigeons for a long time. Their second 3yo blue hen home was bought at the breeder buyer sale in the Moorland Fed coming off Adams Brothers from Stoke on Trent. She has flown consistently all year having flown in eight channel races this year. The lads went on to say that what they have found with the hens is you have to work them hard to get the best out of them. They also said they would like to congratulate Brian on winning the race and all other prizes winners on a fair racing day and to les who has done a great job for the club. They certainly race their pigeons hard but if they are in good condition which they obviously are it will do them no harm at all.
3rd section B is Kenny Burke who clocked two on consecutive minutes both being 2yo chequer hen’s. The first is out of a blue Willy Van Houte cock who was paired to a granddaughter of “Pennine Heights” and was sent sitting 13 days. His next in the clock is bred from a Dutch cock when paired to a hen from the late Derek Woodward and was sitting a 10-day old youngster. Ken’s system of racing is straight forward and one that was once the way nearly everyone raced their pigeons and that is paired raced on the natural system and trained from the first race to the last. Even the corn is nothing special and comes from the local corn shop in the town. I have known Ken for many years and he has been running local clubs all this time and will no doubt be doing it until the end, one of those local workers that all clubs need.
Pigeon fanciers very often criticise the way our pigeons return from races, well for this race I had a call from Doug Niblett to say how well his pigeon came back from this Saintes race and he along with the rest of the pigeons on the transporter must have been well looked after. He went on to say that when he picked the pigeon up on his return he had lost very little body weight after 520mls on the wing and that does not happen very often. Later, the same day I was talking to Mel Bratt and he said the same, he was very pleased, in fact so pleased he felt that they could have gone back again. Mel sent 5, the first 3 were ones that he was confident in and the other two were lines that he was trying at the distance. He got the 3 that he was confident on the day with two being in the loft when he returned from opening the clocks, the other two had not returned a few days later. So, I spoke to others and they had similar to report, the pigeons came back so well to the convoyers and we look forward to another Saintes race with the North Staffs Fed in 2018. Next to phone his details through was Keith Morris who also said what good condition they came back in so I decided to find out who the convoyer was. The person to ask was Roger Sutton who told me that the convoyer is Martin Brammer who has always been a pigeon fancier with his father and is spot on with his job. So, thanks to Martin for doing such a good job for the NWCC. Once again, we thank the excellent sponsors for this race, Mid Cheshire Building Services, Gerry Clements, Mr & Mrs Bill Lewis and the BHW. These are the people who help to make the club run so well. Also to George Mainwaring who has come up with a new slogan for the club; “The quality of the club is reflected in the result” quite right.
NWCC - Saintes Marking
Les J Parkinson.
11 Rushton Drive,