MIDLANDS NATIONAL FLYING CLUB
The 2018 Midlands National Flying Club Presentation
‘Celebration Time for the Winners’
On Saturday the 24th November the Club’s major prize winners and friends assembled in the Doncaster Racecourse Premier Suite to present the year’s awards. Though the season has been a very tough one as I will highlight a little later in the piece written for the Dinner Programme, several of our members have positively ‘blossomed’ in one of the most testing of season’s in recent years.
The Club’s new President Mr Tony Whitehurst gave a short speech expressing his pride at becoming the latest President following some famous names to serve the M.N.F.C. Then Tony introduced our Main Guest Mr David Bridges the President of the R.P.R.A. who before presenting the winners with their awards spoke about the difficulties that the this past year has thrown up including the current raptor problems and the unfavourable weather conditions.
1st Open from Carentan for Birkenhead's Bateman Brothers - Derek Leitch 1st Open Portsmouth O.B. - Tony Kirman collecting the awards for 1st Open from Tours
A beaming smile from the Vire race winner John Bellerby - Mr & Mrs Mark Williamson the Bordeaux 'Blue Ribbon' race winners - Mick Godfrey who had two great young bird races winning 1st Open from Portsmouth
Williams & Wilks the winners of the Y.B. Falaise race - Mr & Mrs Roger Sutton the 2018 Midlands National Combined Averages Winners - Simon Parkinson the three time North section winner
Kevin Brown of the Nairn & Brown partnership who have enjoyed a great year including winning the Yearling race from Carentan - Paul and Helen Johnson another super year for this duo - Don Salt the Yearling Tours race winner. Well done Don.
As well as all of the main race winners whose pictures appear in this piece I would also like to ‘cherry pick’ a few of the members who have shone brightly in 2018. First of all is Congleton’s Roger Sutton who has enjoyed a wonderful season culminating in lifting both the Old Bird and Combined Averages during a wonderful series of performances from this North Westerly located member.
The Combined Averages Runner Up Simon Parkinson has once again flown with distinction during which he won the North section on no less than three occasions this year.
On a wonderful day in late July Ashbourne’s Mark Williamson won the Club’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ race from Bordeaux only a few hours after taking 1st in the North East section race from Vire truly the ‘stuff of dreams’.
Talking about dreams what about Terry Kirman and Son Tony’s bird ‘Treble 666’ which topped the West section from Ancenis in both 2016 and 2017 and this season smashed it by lifting 1st Open from Tours. Absolutely amazing.
The winners of the final race of the season Williams & Wilks clocked an exceptional young hen which won the Falaise Young bird race by a fair margin only a few days after finishing 11th Open in the N.F.C. race from Coutances!
There were also a good number of other fine performances put up by other members in all of the sections including Yearling race winners. Many of their photographs appear with this report.
2018 What A tough Year
All fanciers will I’m sure agree that this past season has been a really ‘testing’ one for not only the Midlands National but for pigeon racing in general. In my opinion the reasons are quite simple. The problems with raptors means that most enthusiasts tend to keep their birds in their lofts until the beginning of April when the Sparrow hawk menace starts to abate. A sensible thing to do I’m sure the vast majority of our number will agree. The problem is though that the racing season isn’t in sync with this latest trend. Pigeon fanciers tend to act traditionally and start their domestic race programmes in the middle of April. How in heaven’s name can pigeons be properly prepared to compete in 60-70 mile races in such a short period of time? The truth is they can’t and when as was the case in 2018, the spring is a very cold and wet one the problem is further compounded. With heavy losses being the inevitable result, this then had a severe knock on effect with everyone’s birdages being well down on those which the likes of the M.N.F.C. have become used to over the last few years.
This has had the effect of decimating the prize money that can be on offer and members start to complain. Let’s make no bones about it, we need good entries to ensure healthy prizemoney. Sadly unless our domestic Federations wake up to the fact that racing should be held back until the beginning of May then the outlook is looking rather bleak. Perhaps we need our governing body the R.P.R.A. to help us to solve the problem which I fear will continue until the necessary changes within the sport are made.
On a much brighter note it was very heartening to see that this year’s winners of our Midlands National races were well spread from all around the Club’s radius. This is exactly what we aim for, with all sections knowing that given the right weather conditions all members have the opportunity to win the coveted Gold medal that is awarded for winning a Midlands National race. It was wonderful to see one of our youngest sections the North North West both growing and in turn putting up some fine individual performances and I look forward to them achieving their first National victory in the near future!
Let’s all hope that the ‘weather gods’ smile on us in 2019 and we in turn enjoy a much improved season.