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Three Borders Federation (Blandford Race 1).

At long last the new season has kicked off and we are racing our pigeons again! After the sport of pigeon racing rose out of the gloom of the Covid 19 ‘lock down’ for the second season on the trot, the Three Borders Federation held its first Blandford race in early May and Dom McCoy, the Federation convoyer, liberated the 870 birds at 09.30hrs into a light northerly wind situation. The members enjoyed a good steady race and returns were excellent. Flying 91 miles into Morden, the Ashridge ‘master’, Terry Goodsell, took ‘first blood’ and chalked up his first Federation win of the new campaign! Terry must be described as a ‘legend’ of the Surrey pigeon racing fraternity, with his countless brilliant performances over many years in the local Federations. The highlights of his 2020 season racing in the Three Borders Federation were: 1st Federation Honiton (925 birds), 1st Federation Yelverton (710 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd Federation Wincanton (1,051 birds), 1st Federation Wincanton (761 birds), 1st, 2nd Federation Wincanton (738 birds), plus many other premier positions. Pigeon racing at its very best!

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The first ten in the Blandford Federation result were: 1) Terry Goodsell 1459: 2) A. Stoner & son 1456: 3) A. Stoner & son 1447: 4) A. Stoner & son 1446: 5) A. Stoner & son 1446: 6) A. Stoner & son 1446: 7) Terry & Sue Leonard 1444: 8) Terry & Sue Leonard 1444: 9) M/M S. & P. Gasson 1443: 10) M/M S. & P. Gasson 1442.

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The competition in the Three Borders Federation had been strong and hard in the 2019 season, and Terry Goodsell’s club, the mighty Ashridge RPC, came out on top for the second season on the trot, winning the ‘Federation Points’ Trophy’. Terry Goodsell won the ‘Individual Points Trophy’ and his positions won  in the Three Borders Federation in the 2019 racing season were: (Old Bird): 15th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st Federation Yelverton (1,279 birds), 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 20th Federation Honiton (822 birds), 9th, 10th, 16th, 23rd Federation Kingsdown (1,018 birds), 3rd, 5th,8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th 21st, 22nd Federation Yelverton (826 birds), 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th Federation Exeter (608 birds), 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th Federation Honiton (939 birds), 1st,2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th Federation Bodmin (806 birds), 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th Federation Kingsdown (629 birds), 1st, 5th, 11th,13th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th Federation Truro (595 birds), 21st, 23rd Federation Yeovil (761 birds),8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th Federation Honiton (633 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th Federation Sennen Cove (488 birds), (Young Bird): 18th, 19th Federation Blandford (713 birds), 11th Federation Yeovil (673 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 13th Federation Blandford (1,044 birds), 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th Federation Yeovil (812 birds), 6th, 7th, 8th, 19th Federation Kingsdown (677 birds), 25th Federation Newton Abbot (464 birds). Previous to this wonderful performance in the 2019 season, Terry, had won six times 1st Three Borders Federation and the ‘Individual Points Trophy’ in the 2018 season. Brilliant pigeon racing!

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Terry Goodsell’s pigeons are raced on the widowhood system, which consists of a team of 20 cocks and he says he liked to keep the widowhood cocks warm in the loft. The birds are paired up after the BHW Blackpool Show in January and the families raced are mainly Soontjens and Janssen of Arendonk, with the Janssens being obtained from the Ponderosa Stud in Holland and Fountainhead Stud. New families introduced recently from the Ponderosa UK Stud are the Heremans-Clusters and Koopman- De Weerdt. He maintains the Janssen are good right through the programme to 455 miles, although the Soontjens are very good up to 250 miles. As far as his pigeon loft is concerned he is very keen to have warmth, a good dry floor, together with good ventilation, with no draughts in his lofts. He told me over feeding was the biggest mistake a fancier can make and was totally against fat pigeons at any time of the year. He says, many fanciers make the mistake of over exciting their birds and feed them too much hemp. Terry feeds the birds according to the temperature in the loft, using a good racing mixture, but with more carbohydrate when it was colder. I’ve known Terry Goodsell of Mitcham since the mid 1970’s when he was put up brilliant performances in the Surrey Federation and SMT Combine with his widowhood cocks, and I featured him in the fancy press. He was a brilliant fancier then and he is still a brilliant fancier today, winning many 1st Federations through the years! He now races his pigeons to his loft in Morden and he enjoyed a wonderful old bird racing season recently in the Three Borders Federation, winning many premier positions including 1st Federation Kingsdown (1,205 birds). Terry’s good blue pied widowhood cock, ‘Bibby’, won the Federation by 27 ypm clear and he is the nest mate to the ‘ace’ blue chequer pied cock, ‘The Workman’, winner of 2nd South Downs Premier FC twice, plus several hundred pounds in that season. Another premier performer in that same old bird season was the blue cock, ‘The South Downs Cock’, and he won one the club’s races, also lifting several hundred pounds for Terry.

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At the end of the 2017 racing season Terry Goodsell had sent to seventeen races and won twelve firsts. The Three Borders Federation sent 918 birds to Yeovil for the fourth young bird race and the Federation convoyer, Dom McCoy, produced yet another great race, liberating the birds at 06.45hrs in a Westerly wind. Terry Goodsell, secretary of the Ashridge club is enjoying a great 2017 young bird season and had five quick ones on the ETS from Yeovil to record: 1st, 4th, 5th, 19th and 21st Federation. Terry is doing very well with his newly introduced Heremans-Ceusters pigeons from the Ponderosa UK Stud in Weymouth and his Federation winner was a blue chequer hen bred from these stock birds. He races his young birds entirely on the natural system and this game little hen was raced to the perch. The Ashridge club missed out on one of the eight young birds races and in the seven that they sent too Terry recorded: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th club, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd Federation Blandford (769 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th club, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 24th, 25th Federation Yeovil (1,023 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th club, 1st, 4th, 5th, 19th, 21st Federation Yeovil (918 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd club, 4th, 10th, 19th Federation Exeter (628 birds), 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th club, 11th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th Federation Newton Abbot (648 birds) Brilliant pigeon racing!

Year in and year out a name that is consistently in the Federation and Combine results is that of Terry Goodsell of the strong Ashridge club. The club has only been formed for several short years, racing in the Three Borders Federation and Terry is one of the main ‘cogs’ running this very successful new pigeon racing club. I have known Terry since the mid 1970’s and he has rarely had bad season in all that time. Terry started keeping pigeons at the age of ten, at which time he used to help his friend to clean out his father’s pigeons and became interested. His uncle built his first loft which was 8ft x 6ft and his first birds were obtained from the late Alf Neal of Mitcham and some youngsters of the Sion strain from G. Lay. Terry told me, Alf Neal gave him a lot of help to get started and Bill Shepherd’s great performances always stood out in his mind as brilliant in those early days. He had been racing ten years, being a member of the Mitcham Common Club from the start. Terry had raced widowhood for five years, beginning with a basic system according to the book and along the way the finer points had been picked up through trial and error. The Goodsell lofts housed some of the Billy Shepherd of Mitcham pigeons and Terry told me that Billy had been a great help with advice since he started up.

Terry was a pioneer of widowhood racing with cocks in the Surrey area in the 1970’s and won everything in front of him. I have heard of some bad luck since I started up in our sport, but Terry Goodsell’s 1979 racing story of twice being beaten on decimals for 1st open S.M.T. Combine must take the cake. In fact Terry had been 2nd open Combine three times in three years as in 1977 he was 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th club, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Surrey Federation (3,060 birds), 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th open SMT Combine (7,787 birds) Plymouth. The sad fact about Terry being 2nd open SMT Combine twice in the 1979 season was that he was beaten twice by club mates and was thus pushed into 2nd club, 2nd Surrey Federation. He was premier prize winner in the very strong Mitcham Common Flying Club in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1978 and had lifted the highly rated old bird points trophy three times. Terry won the Surrey Federation points trophy in 1977 when he was the Federation top prize winner and was third highest in the 1978 season, when he won the Inland Average Cup. He was highly rated by many premier Surrey fanciers and although he was mostly known as a sprint fancier, he chalked up 2nd open SMT Combine Bergerac (455 miles) in 1979.

The Goodsell pigeons in the 1970’s were raced on the widowhood system and Terry said he liked to keep the widowhood cocks warm in the loft. The families raced then were Roosenbroeck and Janssen of Arendonk. When I visited the Goodsell lofts 1979 the birds looked really well, despite the moult which had just fallen on them. Terry was very keen on gardening and the lofts and garden were a real credit to him. His daughter, Vicky, was very keen on the pigeons and she trapped then on their return from training. She clocked a 3rd Federation winner for Terry in the 1979 season. The Goodsell’s had two lofts, the old 16ft x 5ft widowhood racing loft and a new three section 24ft x 5ft loft which housed six pairs of stock birds, young birds and the widowhood hens. All trapping was through open doors and the loft fronts were closed in for warmth.

In those days, Terry was only really interested in the sprint races and paired his racers up the third week in February, with the West Croydon and Selhurst open races in mind. These opens took place before the Federation programme started and Terry sent eight birds to the Selhurst open (300 birds) in 1979 and recorded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,  8th, 9th, 16th, 22nd  open and lifted £337. The Selhurst open winner was a yearling blue chequer cock named, ‘Capitol’, which had previously won three firsts. He handled medium long cast and was a Roosenbroeck / Janssen cross. The first pigeon in my hand on my 1979 visit was a seven year old blue chequer cock, ‘Mr. Nice Guy’, another cross, this time Roosenbroeck / Billy Shepherd. This long cast cock had won five times 1st club, twice 1st Federation and over £1,000, with his best performance being 3rd open SMT Combine (7,787 birds) being beaten by a loft mate. ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ was the sire of blue chequer cock, ‘Terry’, the 2nd open SMT Combine Bergerac winner in 1979. ‘Terry’ was a late bred in 1976 and was sent to Bergerac driving his hen to nest, as Terry let the widowhood cocks have their hens three weeks previous. This cock had a fantastic season in 1979 recording 2nd Combine Bergerac and 4th Combine Plymouth and had previously won 1st club twice. ‘Wizard’ a yearling Roosenbroeck / Janssen blue chequer cock won 2nd open SMT Combine Plymouth in 1979 and his sire, ‘Janssen’, won 1st Surrey Federation Weymouth in 1979. Another ‘star’ of the Goodsell loft was the six year old Roosenbroeck blue cock, ‘Billy’, a brother to ‘Mr Nice Guy’ and ‘Capitol’. This handsome cock had won many major positions including 1st club, 1st Surrey Federation, 2nd open SMT Combine (7,787 birds) Plymouth in 1977. The principal pigeon in the stock loft then was a four year old Janssen blue chequer hen named, ‘The Duchess’, and she was a tiny pigeon with a very light eye. This little hen had bred nine 1st prize winners up to that time and was obtained direct from the Ponderosa.

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Terry maintains that fanciers should be dedicated to their pigeons 52 weeks a year and not just in the racing season. He didn’t like deep litter as it affected his breathing, but said it’s a good idea if kept dry. Terry scrapes the widowhood loft out every day and is a believer in the old adage that prevention is better than cure. The birds are regularly given preventatives against coccidiosis, worms and canker. The birds are kept 100% healthy at all times and are paired together in such a way to keep the family intact. He reckons selection should be severe at all times and the basket takes care of the rest. Terry mentioned one little trick with his widowhood system, which is throw in a handful of nesting straw about an hour before basketing to go for race marking, which he said, keys the birds up without over exciting them. He thinks there are many little tricks with racing widowhood, but the main one is not to let them get bored. Terry likes the young birds to be as tame as possible and spends a lot of time in the loft last thing at night, getting to know the birds and their temperament, which helps him to select his future widowers.

There you have it Terry Goodsell of Morden! Here we are all these years after my first loft visit and Terry is still racing in Morden, and winning the Federation positions out of turn. He must rate as one of the all-time great in the London area! I really enjoyed doing this one, Terry is a great worker for the sport and deserves all the praise he is given!

That’s it for this week! Congratulations to Terry Goodsell on his great performance. I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email me on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.