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Homers Odyssey - 16-02-21

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Homers Odyssey

Sefton Thompson – Record Breaker

Before racing last season, I featured a number of local lofts that had performed well during the previous year, and one of those was Sefton Thompson of Crumlin & District, he had won the NIPA Section B Young Bird Fancier of the Year award and won the same again in the 2020 season and setting the record in Section B. He has had the Champion Young Bird in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 and took runner-up in 2019.  

ThompsonDiploma 16 02 21
Sefton Thompson holding his most recent Sect B Diploma presented by the NIPA.  

I think my first contact with Thompson Bros in the Muckamore HPS, was through their good friend the late Officer Gorman the long-time Chairman in Muckamore HPS and who later served a term as NIPA President. The late Davy Campbell who was highly involved with the NIPA at the time would have been a regular visitor to the Muckamore Clock Centre and usually called with Gorman Bros who lived close to Aldergrove Airport on the Tully Road. Gorman Bros had some fantastic pigeons including Van der Espt and Davy plus many others including the late Millar McAllister had great success with them many times winning 1st Section. Sefton Thompson who had a family connection with motor bike racing was listed as Thompson Bros and brother Dessie raced as D J Thompson. Dessie continues to race with Muckamore while in recent seasons Sefton who is also close to the Aldergrove Airport has moved on to Crumlin & District. In those days Muckamore was a hot bed of activity, the local marking centre and a clock station for both the NIPA and Irish Nat FC, the late Jack Irvine from Ballyclare used Muckamore for many high profile Auctions. Bertie Goudy was a prominent racer at the time and he brought the famous Kings Cup to Muckamore when Goudy Bros won the race the first time at Nantes in 1964, to be followed very recently with Mr & Mrs Magill winning from St Allouestre in 2016, a very hard race with the winning velocity 723ypm.

Adding what was won during the never to be forgotten race programme with the NIPA in 2021 Sefton Thompson now has won the following list of Section B Diplomas.

The Section B Fancier of the Year in 2018, Sect B Young Bird Fancier of the Year 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020. He raced the Champion Old Bird in Sect B in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and had a big list on wins in the Champion YB category successful in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and was runner-up in 2019. He has to be the Section B record breaker, well done Sefton.

Import of birds into NI -

At the most recent NIPA Committee Meeting via Zoom one of the items discussed related to the changes after the introduction of Brexit and what it will mean trying to get the racing season underway. Plans are already in hand to ensure we can complete the old bird race programme initially with birds able to be transported to the UK Mainland and then as far as France is concerned hopefully same arrangements as were used in 2020 with a direct trip from Southern Ireland into France and liberation planned for Thursday 24th June. With all the various regulations now in place and that includes Republic of Ireland who are still part of Europe, it is hoped all the plans made can be fulfilled.

Another big subject at present time is the import of pigeons into Ireland where we have all sorts of complications as far as the new laws are concerned. Just this week one of the UK top companies Walkers Transport gave information for transport of racing pigeons into the UK, but not Ireland where additional rules apply. Details are below to give a rough example of complications and something all the local fancy, have to be very concerned about. Don’t get caught out!

[WALKER TRANSPORT UPDATE] This is from Mark Walker this morning: "We have now decided to commence livestock collections from the EU (excluding Ireland) for racing pigeons only and need the following information to be uploaded on our website :  

W/C Monday 22nd February 2021 we will start collecting Racing Pigeons from Belgium and Holland in conjunction with our partner Animals to Fly for delivery back to the UK (excluding Ireland).

They will go into quarantine in Holland on 26th February 2021 for 21 days.

Upon arrival in the UK, they will then go into further quarantine for 10 days at our partner GB Quarantine Services UK.

All racing pigeons collected in Belgium and Holland by ATF must come with a legitimate commercial invoice clearly stating the purchase price of the pigeons and be PMV vaccinated.

VAT at 20% of the purchase invoice price must be paid to GB Quarantine, along with £90.00 per pigeon for the quarantine period before the birds will be released for delivery to the customer.

The transport cost payable to Walkers European Express Services Ltd will be £100.00 per consignment for up to 20 pigeons.

This will be a fortnightly service and reviewed on a regular basis. Any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us via email. Regards, Walkers European Express Services Ltd"

 Archive from 1976 continued -

When I was covering the 1976 season and the big races from France I had nothing on the Friendship Nat winners Jennings & Rea from Ballynahinch, I found the missing report in the Forum on our own website scroll down to the archives list Look Back at the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s etc and plenty there to catch up on, all the major cups are also featured in the INFC History, find link for this on the main page of along the top banner just click on INFC History and plenty to read there as well. Back to 1976 report by Martin Russell who wrote from an entry of 231 birds competing in the Irish Sect of the Vaux Usher International race from Beauvais only 17 birds were recorded in race time. The winners Jennings & Rea from Ballynahinch clocked, a three year old smokey blue hen the only bird on the day of toss to win the Vaux Usher silver tankard and Friendship Cup. The winning bird affectionally known as “Julie” was presented to the partners by Ferguson Bros of Newtownbreda.  Julie Ferguson gave two eggs to Billy Davis who is a very good friend of the Jennings & Rea partnership. Billy reared the two young ones from the eggs and when he looked at the rings he had put on them he found that one ring ended in 13. Being superstitious he gave the young bird to Joe Rea, the rest is now history. Clocking two birds each were J R McCracken & Son and Anthony McDonnell into Coleraine at 537 miles, the winner was flying 482 miles.

jenningsrea 16 02 21
Harry Jennings and Joe Rea with Champion “Julie” winner of the Friendship Cup from Beauvais.

Julie 16 02 21
“Julie” the winner of 1st Open Irish Section Vaux Usher Beauvais (482 miles) raced by Jennings & Rea of Ballynahinch.

Vaux Usher Beauvais (Irish Section) 142/231 – Jennings & Rea Ballynahinch 885, H Blaney Belfast 732, T Simms & Son Belfast 730, L McMillan Dundonald 720, J Nelson Seapatrick 647, G Beggs Ballyclare 624, Parkes Bros Killyleagh 612, J Wright Kells 577, J R McCracken & Son Banbridge 559, E J Connor Dundrum 503, R Watson & Son Killyleagh 487, M McDowell Markethill 459, A McDonnell Coleraine 424, A McDonnell Coleraine 377, J R McCracken & Son Banbridge 368, J Cathcart & Son Ballymena 348, B Connolly Downpatrick 285.

Had some additional help from the Britain’s Year Book for text and results, the racing season of 1976 was featured in the 1977 Annual Book, at the time the local notes and photos were produced by Millar McAllister.

Millar Gold Cup winner Davy Chew –

As I have been living quite close to Newtownbreda now for a number of years I always pay particular attention to that club’s results. I have a great deal of respect for the Newtownbreda fanciers which are among the best in the East Down Combine. This year’s old bird Derby winner I know quite well as a quite keen man who is a good fancier and a good worker for his club. Among other chores he sets the club clocks. Since Davy moved to Newtownbreda in 1963 he has raced several breeds of pigeons with limited success until in 1973 when he introduced the Cattrysse strain. This was from Sam Halliday and Davy’ own clubmate George McKinstry. The McKinstry pigeons actually came from Sam Halliday as well. Since 1973 his performances have steadily improved and from 1974 to 1976 he has always been to the fore winning many EDC positions including 1st Open Dungarvan. His 1974 performances in club read 1 x 1st, 4 x 2nds, 3 x 3rds, 2 x 4ths, and 3 x 7th in nine races including Dinard, that is very steady racing indeed.

Davy Chew 16 02 21
Davy Chew of Newtownbreda holding his 1st Open EDC Dinard and Millar Gold Cup winner.

The Dinard East Down Combine winner is a three year old Pencil Clue cock purchased as a young bird from George McKinstry. As a young bird he raced steady up to Wexford, then as a yearling to Haverfordwest in Wales. Last year at 2yo he went as far as Skibbereen. This year he had all seven inland races to Skibbereen from where he was jumped to Dinard (a jump of approx. 200 miles). Between Skibbereen and Dinard he had very little work, in fact, he had only three tosses. 2 from 8 miles and one from 5 miles. He was sent to the race sitting 10 days on eggs.

MillarGC76 16 02 21
Pencil Blue cock winner of 1st Open EDC Dinard and Millar Gold Cup winner. Raced by Davy Chew of Newtownbreda.

Davy had two birds in Dinard, the other one being a Blue Cheq hen which was timed from Dinard in 1975, just missing the prizes. She was bred for Davy by Joe Wilkinson of Carryduff an Old Hand of the sport. This year she finished 4th Open EDC sent sitting 10 days on eggs.

Kiaora 16 02 21
“Kia-Ora” Blue Cheq hen won the only Hall of Fame Diploma in the INFC Kings Cup race from Rennes. Bred & Raced by J Irvine & Son, Ballyclare.

AdamsKC76 16 02 21
“Mountsmanda Queen” winner 1st INFC Rennes 485 miles 1976 and Kings Cup, owned and raced by Adams & Son of Brookfield.

So, the Chew loft finished 1st & 4th Open in the East Down Combine OB Derby in one of the hardest but best race we have had from the French race-point and we have enjoyed some excellent racing from Dinard. Davy also wins the coveted Millar Gold Cup for the 1st Irish Homing Union bird timed from Dinard, a great end to any old bird season. 

NIPADinard76 16 02 21
Blue Cheq hen winner of 1st Club, 1st Sect E & 1st Open NIPA Dinard OB Derby for Walsh & Mallon from Drumnavaddy.

HOMER. Willie Reynolds

Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683

Mobile: 07538 238364

Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>

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