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N W C C Messacreport



By Janet Hull


Even though the weather forecast for the weekend of the Messac race was poor there was a good turn out of Members for the second NWCC channel race. The forecasters were correct and the Saturday was a washout, race controller Roger Sutton held the birds with only a glimmer of hope of a Sunday liberation. After completing extensive weather checks early Sunday morning Roger gave Phil Brown of PBTS the all clear and the birds were liberated at 6.15am into no wind.

Race Sponsor – Gary Spavin. Gary from Lancaster runs a highly successful business screening racing pigeons and has an extensive range of herbal teas and tinctures that have been developed specifically for pigeons. Written by Gary, the following is a brief introduction to his business. 'I have used these Herbal Teas and Tinctures successfully on my own racing pigeons for the past fifteen years, in this time the use of antibiotics in my loft has become virtually zero. This has been achieved by using the three general health teas weekly and the use of tinctures as and when required. I have managed the business by myself for the past two years and a consequence of this was the very, very limited time I had to spend with my own team of pigeons during this time. Ray Ingram had to finish racing his own pigeons when running the business due to the workload, I'm trying not to do the same. In the years 2003 and 2004 I only flew in 24 races but in this time I won 11 x 1st Federations with birdage of up to 2,800.Before Ray Ingram retired I would often travel to Workington to have my pigeon's health screened. This was a 150 mile round trip and during the last few years when the business was still based in Workington I made this trip twice a week whilst furthering my own expertise in the diagnostic procedures. The final year before Ray retired the business was moved to Lancaster and was run by myself along with Ray who at this stage took on an advisory role only. Ray then retired completely and is now enjoying a well-earned rest with his wife Marjorie. So you can see my apprenticeship has been a long one (15 years). This combined with my own expertise in racing pigeons has meant quite often the problems being experienced by clients with their pigeons can often be sorted out by changing their management of the birds as well as addressing any health related issues.

'Throughout the Racing Season of 2006 I had many clients report their racing achievements to me, in fact during the first week of racing back in April 2006 I had 6 x 1st Fed winners, 1 x 1st Amal winner and 1st Combine winner reported. As the Season progressed I had many Big Race Section winners reported and even 1st Open winners at National Level of competition reported. During the 2006 Season and to date in the 2007 Season I have had at least 12 x 1st Section winners and 5 x 1st Open winners in the NWCC reported by my Clients. Even though many of these clients have become close friends (Mr Popular) all aspects of my business, consultations, using of products, even reporting of winners is dealt with in the strictest of confidence. Please do not ask me if Joe Bloggs uses our products or screening services, because, that is Joe's business. Something I personally found hard to deal with at first was that if you are good at what you do Fanciers tell nobody, preferring to keep you a secret from their mates within the sport, but if you are bad they will tell everybody.

'During my own racing career I have won just about everything that it is possible to win flying into the area where I live on the Northwest Lancashire - Cumbria border. In the same year I was 1st Fed Rennes 414 miles, 1st Fed Nantes 474 miles, 1st Fed Niort 550 miles. For three consecutive years I was 1st Fed at both Nantes 474 miles and Niort 550 miles. I have won 1st Federation over five consecutive weeks and have won 1st prizes in open races with over 7000 birds competing plus many, many other prizes. This is not meant to be an advert for my own racing pigeons, but it is to show that I race successfully myself and would not have taken the business on and used the products on my own team without being convinced of their value.But always remember this good health, good pigeons, good management and sheer hard work win pigeon races not magic wands in the bottom of bags or bottles. Details of Gary’s screening services and range of herbal teas and tinctures can be found on the web following the links for SPAVIN’S HERBS.'

Terry Hughes 1st Section C and 1st Open. Terry Hughes from Ulnes Walton near Preston was thrilled with the 2yo hen that won him 1st Open in this race from Messac on her second race across the channel. Not only did she win the race in majestic style for Terry being 39 ypm in front of her nearest rival, she was bred by and given to Terry by his good friend the Late Graham Pearce of Eccleston. Graham was a great judge of pigeon and was well known for his performance at all levels of competition but where he really excelled was on the channel. This hen was bred by Graham from a pair of direct Frans Van De Kruk that he had purchased on the continent. At the time Graham gave Terry the hen he jokingly told Terry ‘this strain could fly the channel backwards, upside down and blindfolded’ it looks like he wasn’t far off the mark. As a yearling this hen won 1st club and 12th Ormskirk West Amal when competing with Parbold & Dist HS. This year on her first outing across the Channel from Falaise she finished 8th Section West and 16th Open NWGNfc. Terry flies his birds on a roundabout system competing with both cocks and hens. Both the sexes are exercised separately round home in the morning and at night, the only road training the birds get is a couple of tosses pre season. Terry races weekly in Leyland Flying Club part of Merseyside Federation and Parbold and District HS in the Ormskirk West Amal. Terry is very lucky as his partner Barbara is a willing helper with the birds, she will tackle almost any job that needs doing round the loft or at the Clubs and she is greatly appreciated by Terry. Over the years Terry has been a staunch supporter of the North West Classic Club competing with the Club through the bad and good times and it is great to see his loyalty rewarded with a first class performance. Well done Terry.

Harrison and Hull 2nd Section C and 2nd Open. Dave and Janet Hull timed a 2yo widowhood cock called Double Trouble. This cock is a nightmare around home and is double the trouble of all the other widowhood cocks put together hence the name. If there is one cock still out when the loft is opened after exercise its him, some days he has stayed out for 4 hours at a time, flying round like a lunatic. He is raced into Janet’s section and she has to wear long sleeves and gloves to feed him, as he is so viciously protective of his box he draws blood. He is bred from Janssen stock birds The 50 Cock and Hilary, both of which have bred prizewinners for us when, paired together and when paired to others. This cock was 2nd Club, 2nd Section C and 4th Open at Messac NWCC 2006 when he was beaten by loft mate Romulus 64 who claimed 1st Open on that occasion. He was also clocked in 2006 at Lessay NWCC where he finished 8th Club, 26th Section C and 83rd Open. He seems to perform better at 410 miles rather than the shorter channel races and we hope to send him on to St Nazaire and then Niort in the NWCC or Saintes in the NFC where we hope he will really start to shine. This year the birds have been fed a morning feed of diet mix and an evening feed of widowhood mixture, which is blended by Dave and Janet. All the birds are fed the same whether they are going to a 90-mile race or 500 mile race. The birds’ health is maintained by the use of Gary Spavin’s herbal teas and tinctures and we regularly have our birds screened for the common ailments at Gary’s.

Tommy Jackson 3rd Section C and 3rd Open. Tommy Jackson has flown consistently well this Season both on land and in channel races. Tommy’s Brother in Law Jimmy Jackson sees to the day to day running of the loft and management of the birds. Tommy loves racing pigeons and Jimmy’s involvement allows Tommy to concentrate on running his successful City Centre window cleaning business and still maintain a competitive team of racers. Tommy timed in a two year old Busscheart hen flown on the roundabout system, this hen has scored before this year when she was 2nd Kempsey in Preston Wednesday Club and then 2nd Club, 4th Section West and 20th Open NWCC Fougeres two weeks ago.

Ashton Garden Centre Lofts 4th Section C and 5th Open. This partnership from Midge Hall, South of Preston is made up of Jack Ashton and his two sons John and Colin. With a thriving garden centre business just around the corner from Bamford’s Corn Mill, most local fanciers know Jack well and he regularly holds court as pigeon men call in for a brew. I always dread asking Jack for details of his birds for a write up as he is a joker and I never get much sense out of him as he keeps things close to his chest, he always turns the conversation round quizzing me instead. Anyway, after checking his ‘records’ Jack told me it was a blue Janssen cock that he bred himself that is an extremely consistent racer for him ‘it consistently comes home like the rest of them’ Jack joked. At least it was a slightly better reply than when I once asked him what nest condition one of his natural hens was in when she went to the race and he replied ‘very good’.

J L Noblett 5th Section C and 6th Open.  Steve Noblett clocked a red chequer cock flown on the widowhood that had been 7th Section West and 32nd Open NWCC Fougeres. This 3-year-old has been a very consistent racer for Steve both inland and over the channel. His breeding is mainly DeWeerdts with his sire being a gift bird bred by club mates Mr & Mrs Andy Gregson and his dam being a daughter off the bird that won 1st Section C-West NWCC for Steve a few years ago at Falaise. Steve concentrates on channel racing as he says this is where he gets the most satisfaction. Steve explains that when competing inland the prize you have won is quickly forgotten whilst a channel win remains within the memory. The downside for Steve at present is the situation regarding avian flu and Defra restrictions. Steve takes pride in planning his years racing, culminating in the channel season and he feels he has been unable to carry through his plans for the past couple of years and is worried as a lot of fanciers are about the future of channel racing.

G Wells 6th Section C and 7th Open. Graham Wells timed in a natural hen that was sitting 14 days to finish 6th Section and 7th Open. This 2yo hen is bred down from Kenny Hogg stock that Graham bought at Bob Knight’s entire clearance sale. She has in the past scored a couple of cards on land plus a 1st prize and this was her second outing across the channel. Graham had this season flown a few hens specifically to then send across the channel, he feels that he still has a lot to learn about channel racing particularly the feeding aspect but enjoys rising to the challenge. Graham regularly visits Gary Spavin to have his team of racers screened for the common ailments.

G Speteanu 1st Section A and 8th Open. Unfortunately I have no details of this pigeon, as I have been unable to contact George Speteanu. If I can find out any details regarding George’s methods or bird I will include the information in a future article.

M Burgess 2nd and 6th Section A & 17th and 21st Open. In this Messac race Mark clocked two Staf Van Reet hens, both of which have raced extremely well for Mark scoring at all levels of competition. After racing pigeons as a young boy Mark Burgess returned to the sport in 2000. He decided from the onset to compete with both cocks and hens so chose a traditional roundabout method of racing. Mark thinks that whilst his cocks perform very well his hens will put in that little extra effort for him in specialist racing. Mark has won 1st Section in both the NFC and MNFC and both these performances were with roundabout hens. Coming back into the sport after a 28 year break was daunting but as Mark admits he is very competitive and he put the work in with his birds from day one and that this accounts for his continued success. He is grateful to his very close friend Peter Bailey for all the good advice he has had off him stressing that Peter is one of the most genuine fanciers you could wish to meet.

Keith Howarth 3rd Section A & 18th Open.  After winning 1st Open Fougeres earlier this year Keith Howarth from Rochdale has maintained his winning form across the channel and is in the NWCC prizes again. Keith timed a 3yo Lefbre Dheane widowhood cock that had finished 2nd Section A and 3rd Open at the NWCC Fougeres race two weeks earlier. This dark chequer with tic eyes has also won a 1st club and a 2nd club on land this season. Keith is really pleased with the way this bird has performed for him this year both on land and across the water, he has just been firing on all cylinders and has not put a foot wrong. 

J G Rigg 4th Section A & 19th Open. Flying at Congleton in Cheshire Gordon Rigg is a master at channel racing, putting up consistently fantastic performances at all levels of competition. The 4yo chequer cock Gordon timed at Messac has previously won 1st Section A and 1st Open NWCC Saintes 2005 and was timed on the day flying 575 miles from Bordeaux NFC 2006 to finish 3rd Section L & 114th Open. Gordon entered this cock into the Messac race in preparation for the NFC Tarbes race where this cock was Gordon’s second bird home finishing 12th Section L & 37th Open flying 693 miles. With a race record like that no wonder Gordon rates him as his best race cock. His breeding is Jan Aarden on the sires’ side and Patrick Bros on the Dams’ side, his dam is a half sister to Somerset Lad who won 1st Open NFC Pau for Patrick Bros.

Collins and Stevens 5th Section A & 20th Open. Collin and Steve finished 5th Section A and 20th Open with a full sister to the hen that was 3rd Section A and 4th Open NWCC Fougeres earlier this year. These two good hens are bred from a Paul Beck SVR and Busscheart x Janssen bred by Cliff Stirland of Redditch. When they formed their partnership in 2000 and began to fly from an allotment Collin and Steve from Stalybridge needed a system of widowhood flying that would suit both their work and family commitments. The lads began to fly their birds on a dual widowhood system, flying both their hens and cocks. Colin tells me that this system brings the hens into super condition and makes them very keen with them regularly outperforming the cocks.

O’Hare and Woodward 1st & 2nd Section B and 4th & 23rd Open. Mike O’Hare and Ron Woodward from Middlewich in Cheshire are always a danger at any distance and in any competition, in this race they timed in two of their widowhood cocks. First in the clock was a blue FVW bred from a pair of Bertie Fletcher & Son stock birds that Mike and Ron bought at Blackpool Show 2001. The sire is a half brother to Kliene Bilksem winner of £18,000 during his racing career and the dam is a direct daughter of the famous Armour. This excellent stock pair has bred Mike and Ron their 1st MNFC young birds for the last two years. The second cock in the clock was a Meuleman Janssen, this blue white flight cock is the nestmate of the cock that was 1st Section NWCC Fougeres for Carol and Robert Carson a couple of weeks earlier. The sire to this pair of birds is the Meuleman T51 cock bred by F Garner of Middlewich and he is also the sire of 1st NWCC Portsmouth Open winner and 1st Section & 4th Open NFC Fougeres winner.

C Garswood 3rd Section B and 25th Open. Colin Garswood of Blackburn competes weekly in Blackburn South End, which is affiliated to New Lancs Fed and South Lancs Combine. This is his first year of competing with the Classic Club and he is enjoying the experience. Colin flies his cocks on a traditional widowhood system and timed in a yearling cock to take 3rd Section and 25th Open, this cock had won for Colin as a youngster. It is bred from a cock that was gifted to Colin by Danny McLaughlan of Coppull when paired to the last direct hen Colin has off Bernard Fahy’s main stock cock that was purchased by Colin at Bernard’s entire clearance sale a few years ago.  

A & R Gough 4th Section B and 26th Open. This Father and Son partnership timed in a 2yo Jan Aarden cock that was on its first channel race. This team love the long distance racing and concentrate their efforts on National and Specialist racing. It is interesting how Fanciers have different methods and the Goughs are no exception. As youngsters their birds are trained and may have an odd race, as yearlings they are flown to the perch and are sent as far as the coast. When the birds are two-year-olds they are then put on the widowhood system and go across the channel, the ultimate aim being for them to compete at Pau as four-year-olds. The long-term nature of such a method shows the Goughs are serious about the sport of long distance racing and their success over the years is testament to their dedication. 

John Albutt 5th Section B and 29th Open. John Albutt’s first bird was a Staf Van Reet Janssen cock flown on the widowhood. This 3yo cock has flown well for John this year also scoring 1st club & 5th fed Yeovil and 12th Sect B & 35th Open NWCC Messac 2. Last year as a 2yo he won 1st Kingsdown, 3rd Wincanton, 3rd club & 19th fed Cheltenham and 1st Section B & 2nd Open NWCC Messac. John flies a traditional method of widowhood pairing his cocks up after the Blackpool Show in order to take a round of youngsters before the old bird Season begins.    

R Bebbington 6th Section and 33rd Open. Rob’s interest in racing pigeons initially began in childhood when his Father raced. His interest was rekindled after his brother Geoff and Sister in Law Paula started in the sport and Rob soon got the bug again setting up his own loft in 2000. Rob timed a Janssen Van Loon widowhood cock that has previously scored for Rob inland. This 3yo cock is bred from an excellent race cock that is now retired to the stock loft, this cock was one of six purchased from Louella for £99, just showing you don’t always have to spend a fortune. The dam was bred by A & E Edge and was purchased by Rob at their bereavement sale.

Young Bird Race Programme 2007

01/9/07 Swainswick, 08/9/07 Portland (Open Race), 15/9/07 Picauville incorporating the NWCC Gold Ring Race 2007 if no channel racing alternative race point is Portland.

New Applications 2007

The Classic is open to lofts flying at least 407 miles from Nantes within the radius of 2.00.00 W on the eastern boundary and Open on the Western boundary. There are three corridor sections each with prize monies and pools as well as open prize money and pools; the NWCC paid out nearly £23,000 during 2006. The NWCC is unique in that offers specialist racing both on land and channel thus catering for all Northwest Fanciers. Members wishing to join the NWCC should contact the Secretary Andy Galley, 16 Hibbert Cres, Failsworth, Manchester. M35 0RQ Tel 0161 657 1897, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. website Subscriptions for 2007 are £15 and the joining fee is £5. Come on get your applications in and compete with the best for the young bird season. My contact details. Janet Hull 205 Brownedge Rd, Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancs PR5 6UT Tel. 01772 467882 or 467794 Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website