“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Yeovil Race 2)
The Three Border Federation were at Yeovil for the fourth young bird race and because of bad weather casts for proposed race day, the birds were marked on Saturday night for a Sunday race. What a great idea this is, creating no holdover and less time in the basket for the youngsters! The convoy were liberated at 08.30hrs in to a North West wind and the members enjoyed a good steady race. Terry and Sue Leonard of the Ashridge club record their fourth Federation winner of the 2021 racing and at this stage of the season are leading the Federation ‘Individual Points Trophy’ by one point over John and Alan Stoner of the Mitcham club. Terry and Sue’s Yeovil Federation winner was a game darkness Frank Bristow / Eric Ceulemans blue pied hen, now named ‘Parkview Princess’ and she was raced on the ‘door system’. Terry retired five premier racers to the stock loft last season and the Yeovil Federation winner was bred in the first round off these birds. Both her parents are Frank & George Bristow pigeons, with her dam winning 1st Three Borders Federation from Honiton and her sire winning several firsts in the club, plus 2nd Three Borders Federation Truro (233 miles). The competition in the Three Borders Federation has been very ‘hot’ this year and Terry and Sue have won have long list of premier positions including: 1st Federation Okehampton (735 birds), 1st Federation Kingsdown (485 birds), 1st Federation Yeovil (397 birds), 1st Federation Yeovil (615 birds). Brilliant pigeon racing!
The first ten in the Yeovil (2) Federation result were: 1) Terry & Sue Leonard 1593: 2) Frank & Sue Carson 1590: 3) Malik & Khan 1586: 4) Terry & Sue Leonard 1584: 5) Terry & Sue Leonard 1584: 6) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1580: 7) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1575: 8) Paul Arnold 1574: 9) Frank & Sue Carson 1574: 10) Malik & Khan 1570. This was race number seventeen of the season and at this point the Ashridge club are leading for the ‘Federation Points Trophy’ with 84 points, with the Mitcham & Morden club being R/U on 67 points.
In spite of the problems the Covid 19 virus has put on pigeon racing, the competition in the Three Borders Federation had been strong and hard in the 2020 season, and the mighty Ashridge RPC have come out on top for the third season on the trot, winning the ‘Federation Points’ Trophy’. Terry & Sue Leonard of the Ashridge club won the ‘Individual Points Trophy’, with 73 points and won 1st Federation several times in the 2020 season. I first met Terry Leonard a few years ago when he came to my home in Claygate to have several of his Federation winners photographed and ever since he has continued to do well in the Federation and Combine results. Flying in the strong Ashridge club, members of the Three Borders Federation he had put some good performances in recent seasons.
Terry Leonard started up in pigeons at the age of twenty in 1978 and previous to that, was good friends at school with, Dave and Mick, the pigeon racing White Brothers of Epsom. After they had all left school Dave White moved into the house opposite Terry and after a few visits to Dave’s pigeon loft he caught the pigeon racing ‘bug’. Terry’s father had local pigeon racer Mick Heasman working with him and he presented some late bred youngsters to the young Terry too start him off in the sport. His first club was the Epsom Downs FC and his first loft was a 10ft x 6ft two section structure lashed up out of a load of wooden pallets that he had purchased for £10. They also straighten out the nails from the pallets and used then again! Terry and his dad built the loft, but he says, they were not carpenters and the shed reflected the fact! He also obtained birds from local Epsom fanciers including Dave and Micky White, Johnny Reynolds and Andy Norman, which started to win races from the outset. His early mistake was over feeding, but some of Terry’s early successes racing in the Epsom club were: 1st & 2nd club Blandford, 2nd club Vire and 1st club Bergerac. The fanciers who first impressed him with their performance was Bobby and Ken Besant of New Malden, who at that time were winning the Federation out of turn and in later years the late Ewell ‘ace’, Doug Walker. Doug was the first fancier to race on the widowhood system in the Epsom club and notched up countless winners in the early 1980’s. Terry race well with his ‘Heinz 57’ birds for several seasons and got more serious when Andy Norman bred him some pedigree Pol Bostyn stock birds. Andy put him in contact with Cliff Dobson of Idle Bradford and he had some of the first direct Bostyn pigeons in the UK, and Terry won well with them.
Terry now races in partnership with his wife, Sue, to their loft in Carshalton and when he was interested in sprint racing he was very successful racing the Paul Arnold / Staf Van Reets pigeons. One of his best sprinters was the Staf Van Reet mealy cock, ‘Taunton Boy’ and he was bred from stock obtained from Paul Arnold and Vic Emberson. This brilliant cock won 1st Federation Taunton, 1st Federation Portland, 1st Federation Taunton and was 2nd Federation Taunton, being beaten by his nest mate when they dropped on the loft together. Brilliant pigeons! A lot of the current winners come through pigeons from Frank & George Bristow, who he has bought pigeons from since 2014 and have become good friends with. Sue and Terry visit the Bristow family every year, except this year due to Covid. Terry told me, ‘we are very grateful to Frank and George for the pigeons we have obtained from them and now have a very comprehensive stock team of their Ceulemans, off all their best lines’.
The current loft is an ‘L’ shaped Kidby style structure and is very well ventilated with chimneys in the roof. Terry races his cocks on the widowhood system and these are housed in two sections with a glass frontage. These sections are very spacious and he tells me he never keeps more than eight cocks in each parting. He has 30 young birds to race each season and these live in a nice 6ft x 6ft section. Terry tells me he stole his wife’s 8ft x 6ft garden shed to house his 12 pairs of stock birds and now her new replacement shed has also been taken over for extra young bird accommodation. What sort of man is he! Deep litter is used in the young bird compartments and Terry tells me, since he started using the litter he has not had young bird sickness. He thinks the main factors behind good health in the pigeons are a well ventilated and bone dry loft. He races the widowhood system and says he has tried various feeding systems, breaking down, not breaking down, but now feeds a light mixture at the beginning of the week and a high carbohydrate strong mixture for the last couple of days before the race. The loft has won many premier positions in the Federation, Combine and Classic through the years including 2000: London Federation young bird average, 2007: 10th open L&SECC Tours, 2008: 7th open L&SECC Guernsey (2), 2010: 1st SMT Combine Fougeres (215 miles), plus many times 1st Federation.
Frank and Sue Carson have won countless Federation positions through many years, but I think the 2013 racing season was one of their best, winning 1st open L&SECC Guernsey (old bird), and long list of positions in the Three Borders Federation, including 1st and 2nd Federation three weeks on the trot, plus 1st and 2nd SMT Combine. Fantastic pigeon racing! I had a week’s holiday in the south of France in mid-June of that year and on my return I visited the Carson’s home in Sutton to update Frank and Sue’s pigeon racing story. I last visited their loft for an article 30 years previous and although I’ve seen Frank about at pigeon functions, I think I’m right in saying I haven’t seen Susan since that visit 30 years previous. She was now a busy grandmother and looked really well. Susan takes an active interest in the running of the loft, for example she has trained youngsters while Frank is involved with the widowers. She kept records, cleaned out and anything else that needed doing. To get the best out of pigeons, Susan said, it's a matter of 365 days of dedication every year.
The star pigeon of the Carson loft in the 2013 season had been the yearling blue pied cock, ‘Mr. Stoner’, and he recorded 1st open London & South East Classic Club Guernsey (800 birds), and 1st club, 1st Three Borders Federation, 1st SMT Combine Yelverton (1596 birds), being raced on the widowhood system. A nice little extra to ‘Mr. Stoner’s’ success story is the fact that his nest brother, ‘Alan’, was with him on the very same velocity from Yelverton (179 miles) and is joint 1st open SMT Combine! This wonderful cock had won other premier positions in the 2013 season including 13th Federation Honiton (1172 birds), being beaten by a loft mate. The widowhood blue cock, ‘Alan’, has a brilliant racing record in his own right, winning: 1st Federation, 1st SMT Combine Yelverton (1596 birds), 1st Federation Exeter (938 birds), 2nd Federation Honiton (1149 birds), beaten by a loft mate, 3rd Federation Newton Abbot (985 birds), beaten by loft mate, 8th Federation Wincanton (1149 birds), 14th Federation Yeovil (1106 birds) plus several other premier positions including 1st club Taunton. This fantastic nest pair of cocks were bred by Frank’s good friend, John Stoner of Mitcham, from the very best Willie Jacobs and Gaby Vandenabeele bloodlines. Another top racer that season had been the Willie Jacobs blue chequer cock, ‘The 15 Cock’, and he had beaten ‘Alan’ twice in the 2013 season for top honors in the Federation results. The brilliant widowhood cock had won seven times first club and 1st Federation Wincanton (1995 birds), 1st Federation Honiton (1149 birds), 2nd Federation Newton Abbot (985 birds), 3rd Federation Wincanton (1701 birds), 3rd Federation Yeovil (1506 birds), 4th Federation Honiton (1172 birds), 6th Federation Yeovil (1106 birds). Frank and Sue Carson are ‘legends’ in the Surrey pigeon racing fraternity!
Malik & Khan have been one of the premier lofts in the South of England for several years now and have won many top positions in the Federation, Combine and National. In the 2015 season the Federation ‘Individual Points Trophy’ was won by a country mile by Malik & Khan and then again in the 2017 season. The Three Borders Federation’s young bird racing results in recent seasons have pretty much been dominated by the Esher & District RPC partnership of Malik & Khan, winning 1st Federation many times and numerous other positions. Malik & Khan joined the Esher club in the 2012 season and these young lads have been outstanding in the Three Borders Federation for several years, including winning the SMT Combine for the first time with a youngster several years ago. Imran Malik started racing pigeons in the 2004 season with a team of young birds purchased from Louella Pigeon World and in the 2005 season Janssens were introduced from Imran’s uncles, Khan Brothers of Kingston. The 2005 young bird season saw him smash his novice status and recorded 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th Federation in that season. Malik & Khan finished the 2014 racing season in great style by winning 1st, 2nd Federation from Taunton and then two weeks later they won 1st Federation from the last and longest young bird race from Yelverton. These lads are really outstanding young bird specialists, winning the Federation every season with their babies. The Federation sent 1,471 birds to Taunton and Malik & Khan won the Federation by 9ypm clear. Two weeks later the membership entered 867 birds in to the last race from Yelverton and with the wind being a brisk east / north east, the birds had a hard push over the 180 miles home, with the winners taking over 4 hours 30 minutes to finish. The Tolworth lofts of Malik & Khan were well on the pace again, recorded 1st Federation for the second time in two weeks and this time winning 1st SMT Combine (1,516 birds). A really great performance, with the lads winning a fast short race and then the longest young bird race, which was hard and slow! A few years ago I use to write that these young lads were up and coming stars in our sport, but after their recent performances it is safe to say there are now at the very top of the ratings.
The first ten in the Blandford (2) Federation result were: 1) Freddie Ditch 1406: 2) Suchocki & Protasewicz 1307: 3) T. McCoy & son 1386: 4) R. Levingston 1372: 5) Chris Slight & Mike Charlton 1338: 6) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1324: 7) Eustace & Koby Benjamin 1323: 8) R. Levingston 1323: 9) G, Oliver & Grandson 1313: 10) Terry & Sue Leonard 1313.