“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Newton Abbot Race).
The Three Borders Federation were at Newton Abbot for their last race of the season and members sent 334 birds, for what turned out to be a hard push home, being liberated at 8.45hrs into a no wind situation. The last Federation race result in the 2019 season had T. McCoy & son of the Richmond club winning several premier positions and this year they have gone one better by winning 1st and 2nd Federation in the same race. Billy McCoy has enjoyed a good 2020 season, winning in the Three Borders Federation: 8th Federation Wincanton (975 birds), 16th, 17th Federation Yeovil (857 birds), 4th, 5th Federation Yelverton (708 birds), 18th, 22nd Federation Okehampton (660 birds), 25th Federation Wincanton (738 birds), 17th Federation Honiton (608 birds), 1st, 2nd Federation Newton Abbot (334 birds).
The first ten in the Newton Abbot Federation result were: 1) T. McCoy & son 1322: 2) T. McCoy & sons 1321: 3) A. Stoner & son 1319: 4) Terry & Sue Leonard 1316: 5) A. Stoner & son 1310: 6) Terry & Sue Leonard 1308: 7) G. Allison 1305: 8) Suchocki & Protasewicz 1297: 9) E. Fry 1293: 10) A, Stoner & son 1289.
One of the most successful racing pigeon families in the London area is the McCoy family, with the late Tom McCoy being an outstanding pigeon racer for many years and now his sons carrying on the families winning ways. Billy McCoy races in the Richmond club (Three Borders Federation) and enjoyed a wonderful 2019 racing season. Billy still races his pigeons in his late father’s name and this season won: 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 21st Federation Newton Abbot, 11th, 12th, 13th, 17th, 23rd Federation Yeovil, 14th, 19th, 23rd Federation Blandford, 24th Federation Yeovil, 24th Federation Yelverton, plus several other firsts won in Richmond club.
The Three Borders Federation sent 1,081 birds to the S.M.T. Combine race from Sennen Cove in June 2006 and because of adverse weather conditions at the car park liberation the convoy was moved to Truro (230 miles). The Richmond partnership of T. McCoy & sons had a brilliant race, recording 1st, 2nd club, 1st, 6th Federation, 1st, 6th open S.M.T. Combine (2,089 birds). The partner’s Combine winner was there yearling Janssen blue white flight cock, ‘The Real McCoy’, and he was raced on the widowhood system. Although he was only a young pigeon, he had won several other premier prizes, including a win as a young bird in 2005. The second pigeon on the clock from Truro, to record 6th open Combine, was another yearling widowhood cock, in the form of the Staf Van Reet mealy pigeon, ‘Taffy’s Choice’. Two weeks later the S.M.T. Combine were at Messac, for it’s first race of the season from France and the McCoy partnership had another ‘banger’, recording 3rd open with their two year old Janssen blue widowhood cock, ‘Jake’s Delight’. This game cock recorded his fourth club win from Messac, which was a very hard race, with only a handful of birds making 1200y.p.m. Great pigeon flying!
Although the racing name is T. McCoy & sons, the two partners were Billy McCoy and Mel Evans, with T. McCoy being Bill’s late father, Tom. The late Tom McCoy started up racing in 1964 and was very successful racing in partnership with Georgie Oliver of Bedfont. They raced in the old ‘City Arm’ club in Hammersmith and raced successfully on the long distance with Delbars and Kirkpatricks obtained from Johnson of Larne. Tom and Georgie’s best pigeon was a black Marriott hen and she recorded 2nd and 3rd open Combine from the long distance, and bred winners. Billy’s brother Dominic is also a pigeon fancier and raced in the Chertsey area. Billy and Del Evans had raced together for about six years and their loft was sited at Hammersmith in London.
The partners raced 38 cocks on the widowhood system and their racing loft was a 33ft double decker, three sections on top for the old bird racers and sections below kitted out for ‘darkness’ youngsters. They were paired up after the B.H.W. Blackpool Show in January and were split into two teams, one just sat eggs then went on the system and the other reared a youngster before going on widowhood. Billy told me, it’s the team that reared youngsters that had done the best in the 2006 season. The cocks were trained hard for a couple of weeks before the first Federation race and unlike most widowhood racers; they were trained during the race season. The cocks were not broken down, being fed on ‘Gerry Plus’, with extra Maize being added to the mixture on Thursday and Friday. Billy and Del tried and changed their routine on marking night, with the hen being shown sometimes and other times just turning the nest bowl before going in to the basket. Del told me at the time, the cocks had no special wind up before they raced, but got their mates for a couple of hours on their return home. The partners liked racing up to 300 miles and said the whole team raced up to the middle distance.
Billy and Del had twenty pairs of stock birds, mostly of the Janssen based families, Staf Van Reet, Jan Nauwelaerts, and these were housed in a special brick stock loft in Fulham. The stock sections were very roomy and deep litter was used on the floors in the winter months. These birds were fed on a heavy ‘breeder’ mixture and were paired up on Boxing Day. When bringing in new breeders, Del said, they liked to look at the bigger picture, firstly, going for a Janssen based family, secondly, the bird must conform to their type and thirdly, it must have a pedigree of good performance. The lads put 50 youngsters on the ‘darkness’ system and had 25 later bred youngsters as a backup, which were flown natural to the perch. The dark youngsters were put on the system from weaning until mid June and the darkness was from 17.00hrs. until 09.00hrs. The babies were trained well through to Winchester (50 miles) before the first race and once racing started they were trained every day from Alton (40 miles), including sometimes on a Friday. Billy told me, they never stopped young cocks for the widowhood and the whole team had to fly the programme, including Guernsey. They raced on a celibate system, with the sexes being separated during the week and allowed to run together on Friday afternoon before going in the basket. The partners had used this system with their youngsters for the last three seasons and maintained it is far more successful than pairing them up. The youngster were given pigeon tea and plenty of condition seed after the racing had finished, to make sure they finish their moult.
Belly and Del had won many premier positions prior to winning the Combine that season, including 4th, 5th open Combine Wadebridge 2005, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Federation young birds 2005, 1st Bedfont open race (twice), 1st N.W. Section Guernsey 2005 and won the Three Borders Federation young bird average in the 2005 season. One of the partner’s all-time great racers was the mealy pied cock, ‘The Newman Cock’, bred by the late Dennis Newman and he won seven times 1st club, three times 1st Federation, 1st Shepperton open race and 1st Bedfont open race. Billy said, Dennis Newman was a great fancier and won the S.M.T. Combine twice.
The 2020 Three Borders Federation young bird race winners are: Wincanton (1,051 birds) A. Stoner & son: Wincanton (761 birds) Phil Halford: Wincanton (750 birds) Paul Arnold: Blandford (764 birds) Terry & Sue Leonard: Wincanton (738 birds) Terry Goodsell: Honiton (608 birds) Terry & Sue Leonard: Newton Abbot (334) T. McCoy & sons. The Ashridge club won the ‘Federation Points Trophy’ with 114 points, with Mitcham & Merton R/U on 109 points. Well done to Terry & Sue Leonard of the Ashridge club, winners of the ‘Individual Points Trophy’ with 73 points, with Terry Goodsell being R/U with 62 points.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)