“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Blandford Race).
The Three Borders Federation were at Blandford for their first young bird race of the season, for what turned out to be a fast fly home, being liberated at 07.15hrs into a west / north west wind situation. The birdage was well down for the first young bird event this time, because the weather forecast was not so good for the Saturday afternoon, but the convoyer crew got the birds up nice and early and every one enjoyed a great race. The first Federation young bird race result of the 2021 season saw two of the Richmond club members winning: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 18th, 20th, 24th, with Billy McCoy winning the Federation and Eustace and Koby Benjamin taking all the other positions. 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 has raced in the Richmond club for many years and still races his pigeons in his late father’s name of T. McCoy & son. Billy had previously 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 Blandford Federation result were: 1) T. McCoy & son 1610: 2) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1604: 3) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1604: 4) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1603: 5) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1603: 6) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1602: 7) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1602: 8) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1601: 9) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1601: 10) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1600.
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.
Billy 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.
Eustace and Koby Benjamin have been premier racers in the Richmond SR Flying Club for many seasons and raced the Busschaert and Janssen pigeons for many years, but now races the Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons with outstanding success. He told me, in the early days he made to many mistakes to mention, but the main thing to learn is to keep pigeons healthy. The fancier must recognise illness early and deal with it and get into good habits to maintain fitness and conditioning. Eustace has several lofts, with 8ft for the stock birds, 10ft for young birds and an 18ft loft with two compartments for the old bird racers. He maintains the most important factor in good loft design is: it must be easy to keep clean and have good air flow. He says it should have the ability to be secure against bad weather and vermin. He likes to clean off the bloom from all surfaces regularly and has tried ‘deep litter’ on the loft floors, but didn’t like it. The lofts are now fitted with floor grills and Eustace inspect the dropping under them every morning, to monitor any problems with the inmates. He says the indication of the flock’s good health is on the loft floor.
The Benjamin loft houses lots of race winners, but the best in recent times are: ‘Lady’, a beautiful Vandenabeele blue hen that now resides in the stock loft and her racing performance is: 1st Federation Exeter (1,338 birds), 6th Federation Yelverton (851 birds), 15th Federation Newton Abbot (1,145 birds), 19th Federation Yelverton (887 birds). ‘Rosetta’, another Vandenabeele blue hen and she recorded 2nd Federation Exeter (712 birds), beaten by a loft mate, which was killed by a Sparrowhawk soon after the race. ‘Miss T’, the star of the 2018 racing season winning as a young bird: 1st club, 1st Federation Blandford, 1st club, 4th Federation Newton Abbot. ‘Easy Go’, another outstanding 2018 young bird and winner of: 2nd club, 2nd Federation Blandford, being beaten by ‘Miss T’, 1st club, 24th Federation Kingsdown. ‘23857’ was the winner of 1st Federation Yelverton (365 birds), 7th Federation Newton Abbot (379 birds) as a young bird in the 2018 racing season.
Three Borders Federation (last three old bird race results)
The first ten in the Yeovil Federation result were: 1) Terry & Sue Leonard 1476: 2) P. D. Williams 1473: 3) M/M Burczak 1469: 4) M/M Burczak 1469: 5) Peter Clements 1469: 6) M/M Burczak 1469: 7) M/M Burczak 1468: 8) M/M Burczak 1468: 9) Suchocki & Protascewicz 1468: 10) M/M Burczak 1468.
The first ten in the Honiton Federation result were: 1) Vic Emberson 1439: 2) Vic Emberson 1437: 3) Paul Arnold 1427: 4) Vic Emberson 1416: 5) Vic Emberson 1415: 6) E. R. & J. Skeete & Keen 1412: 7) E. R. & J. Skeete & Keen 1411: 8) Paul Arnold 1378: 9) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1372: 10) M/M Burczak 1367.
The first ten in the Wincanton Federation result were: 1) Alan & John Stoner 1425: 2) Alan & John Stoner 1424: 3) Alan & John Stoner 1423: 4) Paul Arnold 1421: 5) Terry & Sue Leonard 1419: 6) Paul Arnold 1417: 7) Terry & Sue Leonard 1415: 8) Suchocki & Protascewicz 1413: 9) E. R. & J. Skeete & Keen 1401: 10) E. R. & J. Skeete & Keen 1401.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)