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Jim Emerton Tony Byrne 31-10-18


Q1 Tony please inform the fancy about the genesis and the inception of this new and evolving endurance and marathon stud.

Tony Byrne


  • The idea for Endurance Breeding Centre Europe (Endurance Pigeons) was one I had been considering for a few years. I became hooked on the idea of competing in the grandest race of them all (Barcelona) and I came to the conclusion that best way to achieve positive results is to acquire predominantly Belgian and Dutch pigeons that had showed considerable strength and determination to finish in the top 10 of the International result, when racing conditions were at their hardest. It is my belief that, in order to win the Barcelona International (and I do mean win) the UK and Irish fanciers must obtain the strongest bloodlines that they can possibly get and then take those pigeons to another level and improve upon the work of their previous masters. No mean feat, but nothing is impossible.

We often watch the very best blood drift to the usual studs in mainland Europe or disappear altogether from our grasp by being sent out to Asia. I resolved myself to breaking the cycle and to making the blood of the very best Barcelona and Marathon pigeons available to whomever wishes to invest in them, wherever they are in the world.


Q2 Can you please relate to us your international and global connections with the sport?

  •  We have been fortunate enough to be working very closely with the Herbots family in Belgium. It will be well known among the fancy that the Herbots family have been at the forefront of various disciplines in racing over the decades and they have a particularly strong association in obtaining the best blood possible, not least at the extreme distances. It is by working closely with Jo Herbots and the team that we have been able to acquire what we believe to be a quite staggering line-up of pigeons in such a short space of time, considering that we only began the venture in February 2018 with the first secured stock bird.

The Herbots family are hugely respected all over the globe and we are very pleased to have such a good relationship with them.

Recently, I was delighted to meet Hugo Batenburg and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht at the PIPA Elite Centre, where we arranged to purchase two children of ‘New Laureaat’. Hugo was kind enough to personally select a batch for us and give us the time and space to make our final selections from these. With my father Kevin’s 50 years of experience (for those that know him they will concur that he is the most ruthless selector you will meet) combined with my own 20 years of experience, we were delighted to be coming away with what we believe will only enhance the blood we have.


Q3 Where are you placed in the UK , which areas can you supply birds of excellent origin to?


  • We are located in North Norfolk, England, near to King’s Lynn. In fact, one of my closest competitors is Her Majesty the Queen only a couple of miles down the road and I am delighted to be a member of her club. I have particularly enjoyed racing at club level in order to prepare and compete in the National races and was delighted to achieve a National 1st Open win in 2013. As mentioned, the birds we breed are available to anyone who wishes to buy them. We will be racing the lines ourselves over the next few years, but do not begrudge anyone near or far from accessing this fantastic resource of pigeons. I truly believe we have catapulted to somewhere near the top in Europe, let alone the UK, for extreme distance bloodlines with no less than 3 top 10 International Barcelona cocks, one of which was 1st National Holland this year in one of the hardest editions with head winds and high temperatures.

Q4 Will you have other people at home or in Belgium to help with your project?

  • We have chatted to a few of the aforementioned connections regarding shared breeding programs and this is something that could realistically happen in the very near future to ensure the best and most up to date bloodlines continue to flow through the stud. Aside from this, we are determined to continue to buy the very best bloodlines that become available each year.

At home, we have the expertise of my father to call upon and some more people behind the scenes keeping us at the forefront of the sport and working hard to obtain the very best.

Jim has kindly offered to support us in our venture by selecting for us pigeons that have the bloodlines well proven in these islands to help strengthen the project.


Q5 Please give details on the origin and performances of your principle birds with photos please.


  • We are extremely proud of our principle birds as we know just how hard we fought people from all over the world in order to obtain them.

‘’Barcelona El Cid’’ was obtained during the summer of 2018 having just won 1st Dutch National and 4th International Barcelona in one of the most difficult races and seasons on record. Constant east and north east winds and searing heat meant that a National win into Holland was going to be achieved by an extremely strong bird. We spared no expense at bringing him to our centre and saw off rival bids from the very biggest names.


‘’Conquistador’’ was 2nd Belgian National and 5th International in 2016. Again, this was a tremendously hard race, with only 7 pigeons achieving a velocity over 1100 metres per minute. ‘’Conquistador’’ comes form the 5 years Ace Barcelona Loft in Belgium of Lieven Buelens. He has been twice second National and has numerous top 20 and top 100 positions in National and International Barceolna races. Think Barcelona, think Lieven Buelens! The cock is an absolute joy to behold for the distance fancier. Long wings, beutifully long tail and a tremendous specimen of a pigeon. It is no surprise that he performed so well as a mere two year old in such a difficult race.


''Conquistador'' x ''Last Daughter Super 609'' in a breeding section.


‘’Second Speedy’’ has a racing record as long as your arm! This beautiful cock’s achievements at National and International level were crowned with a 5th Dutch National Barcelona and a 10th International in 2017. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Below is his outstanding record. There are not many of these pigeons in the world and his father was also a top performer!


5th Nat. Barcelona'17     4,504 p. and 10th Int. 17,026 p.

15th Nat. Dax          8,398 p.

60th Nat. Tarbes       4,670 p.

91st Nat. Bergerac     4,663 p.

180th Nat. Cahors      10,624 p

427th Nat. St. Vincent  9,757 p.

793rd Nat. Dax          4,616 p.

914th Nat. St. Vincent  6,169 p.

1141st Nat. Tarbes       5,392 p.

1472nd Nat. St. Vincent  6,228 p

 Son of ''Speedy Bang'' 2. Nat Dax and 15.Nat St. Vincent


In addition to these pigeons we have a son and a daughter of ‘New Laureaat’ and the following pigeons which are just a selection of what we can offer.


 ''Red Barcelona King'' BE17-2147694

               Son of ''Red Barcelona'' B14 - 2210542

                           1. Nat Barcelona'16  7.693p  1059km

                           2. International Barcelona'16 17.729p  1233m/m


                           B12 - 2095207  ''Red 207''

                           1/2 sister ''Red Barcelona'' (Same Father)


''Red Barcelona Girl'' BE17-2147695

                Full sister to ''Red Barcelona King''


  ''Daughter Evi'' NL16-1802948                

Won 102.Nat Narbonne 1.276 hens                       

347. Nat Narbonne 4.566p                       

400. Int Nat Narbonne 8.480p                

  The Last Daughter To Be Sold From ''Evi''                 

''Evi'' NL07-10131871                 

Won 1.Nat Ace Pigeon Barcelona 2009-2010-2011-2012-2013!!                 

Mother of 12. Nat Barcelona and 15. Nat Narbonne 

NL17-1476548  ''The Boonen''

              Daughter of ''Zlatan'' NL13-1464079

              1. Nat Ace Pigeon Marseille 2015-2016-2017

              1. Int. Nat Ace Pigeon Marseille 2015-2016-2017

              2. Int. Nat Ace Pigeon Marseille 2015-2016

 ''Inbred Daughter Black Shadow''               

''Black Shadow'' BE08-6169265

1. Nat Barcelona 12.657p  

2. Int. Nat Barcelona  25.878p                  

 ''The Japie Hen''

Daughter of 3x1st National St Vincent and 1x1st International Bergerac Winners upto 21,000+ birds.


NL17-1141995 ''The Schreurs''

Daughter of ''De Marseille'' NL10-1516468

1.Ace Pigeon Marseille 2013-2014-2015-2916


''Last Daughter Super 609'' B512-2063130 Lieven Buelens

 ''Super 609'' Won  16.Nat Barcelona'06 11.802p 

 81. Int Nat Barcelona'06 22.887p 

Father of 11. Nat Barcelona 12.170p

18. Nat Perpignan 5.591p

G.Father of 2. Nat Barcelona 7.693p 

16. Nat Montelimar 1.512p

x ''B14 -2215667 ''Granddaughter 165'

''165'' - 11.Nat Ace Pigeon Barcelona 2011-2012-2013       

''Flying Girl'' BE15-2301439 Lieven Buelens               

Daughter of ''Flying Home'' - 2. Nat Barcelona'14  8.764p   1083km                                                         

18. Int Nat Barcelona'14   21.169p    

''Blue Night Girl'' BE17-2075446

Original Lieven Buelens


               Father - ''Nightflyer'' BE11-2083772

              21. Nat Barcelona'14    8.764p    1083km

              59. Int. Nat Barcelona'14   21.169p    01.04am clocked

              G.Son ''Base Breeder Vanderwegen''


                Mother - ''NL14-1317264''

               Sister to ''Mother 1. Nat Agen'12''

               1/2 sister 6 Nat Barcelona  5422p

               G.Daughter ''Don Michel'' - Cor de Heijde


Q6 How will you care for and manage birds in your charge.


  • The birds at Endurance Pigeons will be given fulltime care and attention by me. I have taken up the stud full time and relinquished my teaching career in order to focus on my passion. We have erected a beautiful facility with some state of the art heating and lighting features, with no expense spared in order to breed the best quality youngsters possible and keep the breeders in the optimum condition. We employ a ‘’bull’’ system where we float the eggs away to foster parents for the rearing. This keeps the stud birds fresh all year and they are rewarded with rearing a nest later in the year. We have a plethora of top quality daughters of Ace pigeons and Winners in order that we keep the hens in cycle and never pull extra eggs out of them. They also receive a mid season break and post season break. I am a great believer that the key to strong youngsters is healthy parents.


Q7 The pigeon sport is evolving, what can you offer that is fresh to the fancy?


  • I fully believe that the pigeon sport in the UK and in Europe will evolve more towards National and International racing at the distance because of the issues with attracting young people to racing. Therefore, the local scene will inevitably decline. This shift will, I hope, eventually encourage youngsters back in as the sporting achievements become more glamorous and the prizes ever greater. People who know me understand that I have a passion to encourage young people into the sport and in my teaching role I was able to promote the sport to teenagers by taking assemblies and visiting schools with my pigeons. It is my hope that any success we achieve in the industry can later aid me to focus more on putting back into the sport and developing schemes to get the children involved.


Q8 Will you race birds, and what is your perception of The BICC now and in the future?


  • I am currently a member of a number of organisations, including the B.I.C.C and it heartens me to see this particular organisation looking healthy. I do believe that we need to amalgamate the national clubs where possible to increase the birdage and enhance the kudos for the eventual winners.

I have always been of the mindset that I am not bothered where another fancier is located. If they wish to compete, let them. We cannot be too fussy these days about excluding people. If they have a ‘’better’’ position than me, so what? All the more glory if I beat them!

I intend to work the bloodlines I have brought into the stud too. The aim is to win the Barcelona International. I firmly believe that it will be achieved in the UK one day and what glory that will be for the winners. If not me, I hope someone can achieve it with our bloodlines. They are well suited.


Q9 Is your objective to supply, quality birds at reasonable prices, both at home and across the globe? 


  • The main objective of the stud is to supply the very best to whoever wishes to buy it, wherever they may be in the world. The prices reflect the considerable investment that was put in to fend off the biggest names in the industry but are very fair, in our opinion, when you compare them to similar organisations on the continent.


Q10 Are you determined to be the best in Europe at endurance specialisms?


  • We are extremely determined to house the very best blood in the world and have made great strides towards this by purchasing the highest placed pigeon in the Barcelona International result that was available for sale this year. We pursued even higher, but at the time other parties were resolved to keeping their birds. This is just the start for us and we hope people will be impressed at the birds we have acquired in the space of 7 months.


Q11 Which media will help you to promote your birds and the sport?


  • We are working behind the scenes to be great innovators in the sport and are exploring various media and technology forms to bring our thoughts and birds closer to the fanciers around the world. There will be more on this in the near future. For now, please look out for us in the press. Follow us on Facebook and YouTube if you are inclined and look out for our website launch on 30/11/18! We will have a presence at the shows in the UK next year and hope to take this into Europe and the rest of the world in the next couple of years.


Q12 Will you practice inbreeding, linebreeding and other types of family breeding.


  •  For stud purposes, any selection of birds can be specially paired together for customer requirements. If customers wish us to inbreed, this is never an issue for us. We have selected related hens for most of the cocks to accompany them for this purpose.

Breeding Loft


For our racing purposes we will work with the same blood of the pigeons that we sell to customers as we have 100% faith that they will deliver and in the case of some of the lines, already are delivering in Europe at this early stage.


Q13 Do you like books and films on the sport, mine for example?


  •  A book I often return to is Alf Baker’s ‘’Winning Naturally’’. I believe this to be an honest and accessible account of tried and tested methods by a great master. For me, the natural method is the only way for us to win the big race. In Alf Baker’s, I find a formula that can help me.

I have enjoyed following Jim’s online blogs regarding the Barcelona challenge as they often spark the imagination and it is always good to hear another person’s approach to reflect with your own.


Q14 What are your opinions on 7 to 800 miles to the UK/Ireland across The English Channel?


  • The channel poses just one of several obstacles that stand in the way of the UK and Irish pigeon. Obviously, the Irish have even more water, which is another challenge.

The weather can be cruel, as I discovered in 2016, when the channel proved extremely hard for the UK birds to cross. Distance is a killer, but put water closer to the home end than the start and it is an even bigger killer!

Fatigue at the home end becomes a serious factor with the raptor issues we have in the UK. Birds that are extremely tired are easily picked off. It stands to reason that the longer the race is, the more tired they will be. Also, the more isolated they are, with no batches in the UK from these races.

In wales and Ireland there are further terrain issues and I particularly admire the Welsh fanciers for getting some of the results that they have over the years.