North West Classic Club
The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
For a change the build up to this race from Carentan which is the last race of the season for the North West Classic saw some good weather building that was going to be good for the race. With that forecast we thought we would have a bumper send but only 349 birds were entered and 261 of those were at the Middlewich marking station. There were also about 140 birds entered in the Gold Ring race from the 300 rings sold so that would have been pleasing for those who had purchased them. With £3,000 GR prize money plus normal prize and pool money some were going to be in for a good pay day. I was talking to fanciers about the drop of 38 birds from last year’s race but was told that even the Nationals were not having a big send and were well down on last year.
Several fanciers were saying how everything went so well and this is what clubs need, more nights like this when members can get together and have a good old chin wag. It was also said that even the feds should have central marking stations where they could get together and enjoy the sport more. The problem is there are too many small clubs about where there is a lack of getting together, as soon as the marking is done, they go home. Years ago, those who entered would stay there for a few hours and have a drink together. Yes, there was a lot of BULL talked and winding people up, but they did enjoy it, but now it is mark and run in case the few get lumbered with something else to do.
The weather forecast for the weekend was good but the wind coming from the North East which pigeons don’t like. The benefit was that there looked to be only one pressure system above, so they were not being pulled in all directions.
Although it was a good day at the home end for a liberation, first reports of any liberation were there was mist at the race point and they were waiting for the temperature to rise. It is never good liberating the pigeons until the sun has warmed the earth.
The birds were liberated at 9am in a North East wind with a touch of south in the UK. The land pigeons were up in a South East wind so that looked good for the pigeons, after all they don’t like it when there is East in the wind. Even so we couldn’t have wished for a better young bird channel race into the North West than this one, a real good race with plenty on the clock to end what has been another good season for the club.
1st & 8th Open, 1st & 5th Section, 1st & 4th Gold Ring winning £1,700 goes to Ray Lunt.
Ray Lunt with his winner "First Lady"
This is the first year for Ray racing on his own after racing in the Curtis-Wall-Lunt partnership for many years. Ray is after a change of direction with his racing and he has already made great steps forward with this new team of pigeons. He does have a small team for next year so it will be interesting to see how he goes on, if performances already achieved with the young birds is anything to go by, he will be at or around the top of the list.
Loft showing the aviaries.
The Bosma team come from the Northern part of Holland, much like England compared to Scotland, so the weather is not always as good as it is further south. The competition up there is tough and there are many top racing and breeding lofts, some are household names in the world of Dutch pigeon racing.
Ray first noticed these pigeons in 2012 whilst on a trip to Holland and from the start was impressed but they had such a good team it was not the right time to bring in more pigeons. Then in 2017 he brought a team of late-breds that were booked to go to China, but due to circumstances at the time they stayed in Holland, so Ray snapped them up.
The loft where Ray races his pigeons.
How do such winning fanciers come to bring in new pigeons, how do they find a new line to beat an existing team that were consistently taking the first four in the fed. I say first 4 because it is a gentleman’s agreement that only the first 4 per member go forward from the clubs. This is a system that has worked, and the members are happy with. I was talking to Ray’s club secretary and he was saying that on occasions the CWL partnership could have filled the top 20 in the fed. In fact, these new pigeons could have taken the top ten positions a few weeks ago but as always only 4 were put forward.
I was talking to Brian Fisher about the lads and we were saying that there were a lot of top-class fanciers in the Salford area and they grew up competing against each other and that is why fanciers such as Ray are successful. In his early days he had to work hard and find better ways of doing things in the loft. However winning fanciers still have to be good enough to select the right pigeons to breed and race which is something that Ray excels at.
This result is just one that these pigeons have already achieved plus a sister to this Classic winner has also topped the fed and another is also a winner. It appears that though selection Ray is on his way to being a top fancier on his own as compared to being in a partnership for all those years. Here are the results with this new team who are only in their infancy.
Cheltenham 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Cheltenham 2nd 3rd 5th 6th club. 2nd 3rd 5th 6th fed
Mangotsfield 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 5th 6th 7th 8th fed
Mangotsfield 1st 2nd 6th 7th club. 11th 12th 20th 30th fed
Yeovil 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Cheltenham 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Mid Cheshire Fed
Yeovil 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
2nd Open 1st section A 2nd £275 we have Dave Benn from Stockport.
Dave clocked a young blue is Janssen based hen whose dam was second NWCC 2 years ago. The sire was Dave’s most consistent bird in the National Flying club this year. Dave was saying that this is one of those pairs that he is hopeful of in the breeding loft and will breed more good birds in the future.
3rd Open 2nd section A 2nd Gold Ring and £1,086 goes to Rick Geary & Son Simon from Macclesfield
Rick Geary with helping nephew William
Rick & Simon Geary
“Hi les ,I would just like to say what a great job you and the team have done this year with the North West Classic Club. First of all, well done to Ray Lunt on winning this race and to Dave Benn being the runner up. So back to the pigeons well the pigeon which came for us was a blue cock on the sliding door system. His sire comes through the 20 cock which himself topped the fed for us. He is bred through the John Allbutt cock which is from John’s very good team of van Reet. This line has produced some great pigeons for us over the years so thanks must go to John. On the dam's side is a pigeon I bought off Mitch Denson which is a Vandenabeele. In the photo is my dad Rick and the future of the sport William my nephew in the sport. Thanks Simon Geary”
4th open 2nd section B 3rd Gold Ring £610 sees Peter & Dawn Latham of Middlewich have another good race from the club’s young bird event.
As with a long-time family tradition Peter prefer the channel racing, but his good lady prefers the shorter races. The main strain that they have in their lofts are Vandenabeele’s. Over the last few years they have brought in some long-distance strains to try for the longer races. There are a couple of pairs that are Vandenabeele based that are turning birds out that are flying well for the partnership and others. Over the year’s Peter & Dawn have been on several trips with Tony Bate’s to Holland. These trips have been helpful in finding birds to suit their needs.
Their birds are raced on the Natural system which is better suited to the shift work pattern that Peter has. They are motivated via sitting either egg’s or young birds, as Peter said they need to find what suits each pairing the best and work to those strengths.
The feeding is simple via hopper feeding, they are put in the loft each morning and then removed at night. The feeding has changed over the years and they don’t do too much heavy feeding. For the last two years they have been using some of the BIFS products, and found them very good, the birds appear to be healthier. The only treatments they use are for coxi and canker mainly but this year they tried one spotting them for the lice, but we have not found it very good.
5th Open 3rd section B £185 goes to Brian Lee from Congleton who has had another good season.
Brian has had another great season culminating in winning the Lancashire Rose Trophy for all races into section L of the National FC. Brian is one of those fanciers who doesn’t sit back and watch the pigeon world go by he works on his pigeons and is one of the best in a hot bred of winning fanciers. He has never been shy when it comes to competing against the best and has come out on top far more than the average fancier.
There are no fancy families in this loft just honest working pigeons who perform whether in the stock loft or the race team. If pigeons are in this loft after 2yrs it is because they have either bred winners or won on the road, that’s how keen he is with the pigeons. There are no sprint or distance pigeons here, when they come into the loft, they are expected to start at the first race and go through the programme, if they don’t, they are out. This is one of those good honest lofts where winners come easy because they have to prove themselves straight away.
6th Open 3rd section B winning £225 is Eric Taylor from Goostry
Eric has been a very consistent racing fancier for many years and is not one who gives much away regarding how pigeons and how he races them.
7th open 4th section B winning £191 are G&K&C Hitchin seeing Chris continue a good season.
Pigeons have been in the Hitchin family for as long as I can remember and have always held their own in the races.
9th Open 4th section A with £155 sees Kevin Tagell finish off a good season have won section L in the National FC the week before.
Kevin has had a good end to the season winning in the specialist races where a lot of satisfaction is gained in pigeon racing.
10th Open 5th section A and £80 goes to Paul Beck from Duckinfield.
Paul is one of the best fanciers in his area and has been credited through reports over the years. Like most fanciers today they are reluctant to come forward with information, just happy to race pigeons and enjoy them.
As a press officer in one way or another I have been disappointed in the lack of information supplied by winners this year for the NWCC races. Some have been good while others come over as not being interested in the club moving forward. I was talking to the girls in the office and was saying that this is the first year this has happened to the extent that it has. I also said to them that it comes over as a lack of interest in the club. All clubs need to be advertised through their winners and if that is not happening the development of the club is suppressed. Good publicity is what encourages others to join clubs, so I suggest for future years the winners think more about the club and help the officials to put the club up where it belongs. There has been good growth in the last three years so help the club to get ahead of the game, after all there are not many clubs who are on the rise.
This is the last year for Kim and myself as secretaries, we will be resigning at the AGM. We do wish the club all the best and the same goes to whoever takes the job on, the club is worth it. Applications for the position are invited and can be sent to the current secretaries whose details are at the end of this article.
We have had 3yrs that has seen the club get back to a reasonable number of members and entries (140). During that time the club has paid far more prize money per pigeon than other the bigger organisations. This is through good management by the committee, plus we have had good sponsors whom we thank for their support. This season the club has held 5 channel races and paid out £16,291 which is over £400 down on the previous season. We put this down to overall losses because even the big clubs were well down on the previous year. The difference was a 50/50 split in entry fees and pools.
I have always said the club should have a Saintes race which is over 500mls to the shorter flying members. I have to admit I didn’t consider the longer flying members who struggle to get them on the day from Saintes 550mls plus. With this in mind, it might be a good idea for the club to look at a race from Niort which is around 20mls short of 500mls for the first droppers in the club. I say this because it might encourage the longer competing members to send and they would still have a 500ml plus race.
I have heard many say that the club should have a few land races, but I don’t think the hard-working officials are ready for those to be brought back. It was so many races that caused problems prior to the current secretaries taking the job on. The people at the marking stations were not getting a break and this led to them not putting as much effort in as they are now doing. They were spending far too many nights marking and neglecting their private life with their better half’s.
In the modern days of racing pigeons where there are so many small clubs it might be a good idea to move to central marking stations and have a few land races. However, before that could happen, we would need to see more committed to working the marking stations instead of going home early or standing round drinking watching others do the work. Most do leave and go for a night out or go home for a quiet drink, but there are still those and usually the same ones who stay to load the transporters, and without those workers we would not have any races.
The AGM for the club is on the 25th November all details were in your stationary pack’s that were handed out when subscriptions were paid. Propositions to be in by the 4th November. The annual presentation will be held on the 23rd November at the Sandbach Golf club, book your tickets with the secretaries.