WEST OF ENGLAND SR COMBINE
by Alen Gibb
Littlehampton YBs 1 & 2 and Eastbourne
Saturday 23rd August 2014 saw the Combine at Littlehampton when 234 members entered 3663 birds. Following consultations with other organisations to avoid clashing as much as possible it was decided to liberate early, weather permitting. The birds were sent on their way at 6.45am with no wind in conditions described by the convoyer as ‘glorious’. 1st & 2nd Combine, both on 1379 ypm for the 89 mile trip, went to John & Dave Staddon of Glastonbury, winning with a blue cheq Hereman Ceusters hen bred by NFC Cholet National winners Mr & Mrs Paul Titcombe of Portishead. This hen was purchased at the Glastonbury Breeder Buyer Sale and is the second combine winner Paul has bred for the partnership in recent seasons. She went on to take 3rd Prize in the Glastonbury Breeder Buyer race from Eastbourne when another of Paul's pigeons in the loft of Rob Wilton was the winner. The 2nd Combine winner is a pure Mark Gilbert hen, bred from a full brother of ‘Southfield Melissa’ 1st International Bordeaux/Agen, the dam is a half- sister of ‘Melissa’. This hen had already won 2nd club & 5th club earlier in the YB season. These birds are raced on Matador corn; they are darkened but fly natural and allowed to pair as they please, in fact this is encouraged as much as possible.
Dave & John Staddon winners of 1st & 2nd Combine Littlehampton (3663b) & 1st & 3rd Combine Eastbourne (1687b)
Our penultimate race of the YB season was again from Littlehampton on 30th August when 197 members entered 2939 birds an excellent birdage for this time of year despite some predictions that weather may prove too dodgy for a Saturday liberation. An early liberation was out of the question but the morning saw much improvement and the birds were eventually away at 11am into a strong west wind a headwind for most of the Combine area.I have since been told that a Carlingcott fancier, waiting for his own birds, saw a small kit at four minutes past two o’clock ‘going like the clappers’ towards Bristol there now seems every likelihood that these birds belonged to Towers member Stuart Wilcox who had an absolutely fabulous race flying 100 miles, taking the first 9 positions in the Combine and timing them all within 15 seconds, making 1261 ypm with five birds, 1260 ypm with 3 birds and 1259 ypm for the 9th spot. These nine pigeons were 30 yards clear of the rest of the Combine. All 9 birds were based on Stuart’s Frans Zwols family with some of them crossed with lines from Brian Milkins through his National winner ‘Ted’s Lad’, Benny Steveninck and his ‘Chipo’ lines and Dirk & Danny Van Dyck of Antwerp. The first bird over the trap was “59” who is now called ‘My Trudy’; she has now won 1st 4th 9th & 9th WoESRC in the last 5 weeks, her sister “69” has also scored 4th and 6th Open. The dam of ‘My Trudy’ is ‘The Gift’ who was given to Stuart by Frans Zwols as a wedding present and is now the dam of 2 x 1st WoESRC, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th 8th 9th & 9th etc. WoESRC up to 5739 birds competing; she is a direct daughter of ‘Champion Tip Top Junior’ (who has bred 10 x 1st with over 10,000 birds in the race including 1st NPO (19,913b) and a daughter of ‘Dutch Prince’ x ‘De Diament’ who are parents of 75 x 1st prizes. The sire to ‘My Trudy’ is ’Blue Brian’ bred by Brian Milkins - he is a son of ‘Ted’s Lad’ 1st Section 1st Open NFC Cholet (8500b) paired to a direct Engels hen from G W Kirkland. ‘My Trudy’ will be placed in the breeding loft as Stuart places a high value on pigeons that can achieve multiple top 10 position in our combine as it’s good competition with good birdage. The young birds are trained once or twice a week with Terry Humphries who must be the best trainer in the west and are fed a mixture of Versa Laga and Willsbridge corns from A E James and Son from Barrow Gurney. Only natural products are in use such as oils, electrolytes and sheep fats and this current team of young birds have not received a single treatment and Stuart personally thinks they have benefited from it. Stuart would like to thank all concerned for the good racing we have received which is down to good management, conveying and race controlling.
Stuart Wilcox of Towers with son Ed 1st nine positions Littlehampton (2939b)
Our season came to a close on 6th September with our last race from Eastbourne when 155 members from 23 clubs entered 1687 birds. Again there were some concerns that the weather may have been a problem but in the event thanks to great work by the race advisor Mike Staddon and the patience of our convoyer Martin Pike, the birds were liberated at 2.15pm into a WSW wind. The race turned out to be a field day for Glastonbury fanciers who took 26 places in the top 30 a clean sweep being stopped by that excellent young fancier Paul Weems of Chippenham who took 4th, 28th & 29th Combine and the Carlingcott partnership of T & F Barresi in 27th spot.
1st & 3rd Combine went to John & Dave Staddon. The winner is a red cock of pure Mark Gilbert blood, the sire being a G-son of ‘Southfield Supreme’, ‘Drum’, ‘Gerrie’ and ‘Lazergun’. The dam is a red daughter of ‘Southfield Pau’. This cock was previously 1st Club Lyndhurst, 7th Club Littlehampton, 5th Club 14th Combine Littlehampton 3768 birds and now 1st Club, 1st Combine & 1st Combine Open Eastbourne 1687 birds - a most reliable young cock. 3rd Combine is a lovely chequer hen bred from the very last son of Geoff & Catherine Cooper’s ‘Farm Boy’ when paired to ‘Lady Gilbert’ the partnership’s No 1 Deweerdt breeding hen and mother of ‘Annie’ 1st BICC Carentan together multiple top 30 national winners. As with their previous Combine winner, these birds were raced on Matador corn and darkened but left to race natural as they please. John says “We'd like to congratulate the officials of the combine, for a great racing season with good honest racing with losses being kept to a minimum. Well done to all concerned. We've enjoyed a great season with 2 x 1st Combine wins and 2 x 1st Combine Open wins. Roll on next year”.
Following on from their two Combine wins we now know that the Staddon’s are winners of 1st BICC Falaise flown on 13th September - they have topped the BICC now for three seasons in a row. This is a brilliant end to a brilliant season congratulations to you both.
Well that‘s another season done and dusted. It has been a very successful one for the Combine with an increase in birdage from 2013. Just over 7,000 extra Old Birds and a shade under 5,000 extra Young Birds were entered so we must be doing something right. In addition we convoyed around 3,600 birds across the Channel for other organisations. Many thanks to the hard work of our convoyers, Dave Burdis, Martin Pike, Lindsey Lakatos and Steve Gibbs. Also a big thank you to race advisor Mike Staddon without these guys we could not have had the successful racing we have experienced. Further thanks go to Steve Gardiner of Carlingcott and Phil Wilkins of Bath who have been turning up every week and doing a superb job in cleaning the crates. Thanks also to all of the Club secretaries who have forwarded their results to me within a few hours of race closure enabling me to publish a full result within 24 hours. Owning three transporters, we still have capacity for others so if your Club is interested in joining us, please get in touch. Our radius is the whole of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset and seven miles beyond those county boundaries.