North West Classic Cub
The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
Another season for the NWCC has started and after some channel races for some clubs were not as good as fanciers would have liked them to be, there have been a lot of losses. The build up to this season has been very good with quite a few new members who look to have set their sights on racing with the club. Proportionately the prize money for the club is as good if not better than other specialist and National type clubs. Over the year’s fanciers have said they have not flown in clubs because there is no prize money available. That is not the case with the NWCC whose prize money per pigeon entered is very good. It is now the Wednesday before the first race and the weather is not brilliant but as we know the forecasts are never always as predicted. I spoke to the I/C’s for the marking stations in the build-up for the race, Mark Smith at Middlewich, Alan Wicker over at Bolton and Ray Bullen at Cheadle. All were positive about the club programme and the way everything is going and were expecting good support for the first race. Unfortunately, that did not happen the birdage was down by 89 on the corresponding race last year. We could not understand this with having an additional marking station. Some put what are low figures down to the members not sending because of the weather forecast for the Saturday, but as we know, until the day we don’t know especially with the predicted south west wind. However, the majority put what is considered a loss of entries down to the losses many have experienced so far, the season. There have been some bad channel races this season and that is always going to affect the races following on. Members did admit to sending far less than they had hoped to have done when the season kicked off. Still this is how pigeon racing is going and we can do nothing about it, as we know from previous years when early channel races have gone wrong.
On a positive side there was plenty of banter at the Middlewich marking station and members were looking forward to the race. 22 members sent 159 at the Cheadle marking station while 37 sent 299 at Middlewich with Bolton seeing 231 birds from 19 members making 689 birds from 76 members. In comparison to last year this has to be a big drop in birdage when 63 members sent 768 birds which is a good indication on how many birds have not been right to go into further races. This can mean one of three reasons, either fanciers are being more selective about the birds they enter into specialist races, they have had more losses than they would have expected, or they did not like the weather forecast. As with everything that we do in life there has to be a reason, whether right or wrong. Again, on a positive side with this race there was an increase of 15 members sending over the total for the corresponding race in 2018, but the birdage was down on last year’s equivalent race. The total pay-out for this race was £3,191.97 which is only slightly down on the corresponding race last year when there were 73 more birds entered. Taking into account the races our members had had elsewhere we have to be happy.
On the Friday before the race we had quite a number of calls as to whether the pigeons would go up on the Saturday. I don’t have a crystal ball so that was a question I could not answer. What we were sure about and that was the weather was not brilliant on the Friday which started me thinking, “Was the weather front moving North quicker than anticipated” Was this a good thing or a bad thing we would only know that come Saturday.
When I woke up Saturday morning the weather was only fit for ducks, mind you I expect the garden appreciated a good soaking. We had been planting a couple of heathers two days earlier and the ground was bone dry below the surface. The weather forecast was also poor for the day in some part of the UK, but it did say the rain was moving north which is probably why race controller Roger Sutton took his time in making a decision on his next move. What I did notice on the Saturday forecast was there was a prediction that rain would be moving in a north easterly direction in France. This put further thoughts in my mind, was the rain going to arrive at our race point before they had chance to liberate the birds, who would be a race controller, not me.
Roger called a little later to say that the birds were being held over due to the uncertainty of the day. There were strong cross winds that would not have helped the pigeons at all and with the rain moving slowly in the north west the people concerned were not sure if all members would have the same chance of clocking. I was watching the clicket and it was a lovely day in Cardiff but on occasions the bowlers stopped their run up due to the blustery conditions. While I was talking to Roger as a matter of interest, he was telling me that there was a positive meeting at the National. What I was more pleased about for the pigeons was that the meeting had decided that pigeons would not be liberated if there was not a chance of them being able to cross the channel. This will not please some, but it is a good sensible move by the committee. Not a member but an observation on the committee thinking about the pigeons.
With the Saturday not looking too good race controller Roger Sutton and his advisors made the decision to hold the pigeons over. This turned out to be a top decision with the birds dropping in at the home end in quick succession. It would be nice to see the rest of the club races finish the same way, at this moment in time that is something we will not know until the races have been flow,
Roger sutton and Les J Parkinson
1st Open 1st Section A, Roger Sutton from Congleton, one of the premier racing fanciers in Cheshire picking up £450. Roger was saying that this was a great start to the North West Classic season with a good turnout of members and birds with an excellent race to follow. This NWCC winner was bred in May 2017 and only had a couple of races as a youngster. So, this year he has flown with the yearling team who use the classic races for their first season of channel racing. All the cocks are on pure widowhood and their hens don't race. At this time of year, they only see their hens on return from the race. They have no midweek basket training but do go to a race nearly every week, even a land race between the channel races. The sire of the winning cock was bred by Brian Murray of Sylvan lofts from his Coopman / Janssen lines. The dam is off Roger’s own National Family being a granddaughter of 'Astbury Rose' who was first section NFC from both Nantes and Saintes.
Alistair Ewart, Frank Bristow and Brian Lee right at the NWCC presentation.
2nd & 6th Open 2nd & 6th Section A, Brian Lee of Congleton who is never far away in these races plus £310.
GB 16 Z 79833 is a dark chequer hen raced weekly on the widowhood system. She is bred down on both sides from Vandenabeele stock of Jester and Carrie X Ambre Louis X Shadow lines. She has consistently prized From Cheltenham to Messac and will be aimed at the remaining N.W.C.C. programme through to Saintes.
GB 18 N 49517 is a blue yearling cock that is racing celibate as I only have 20 x boxes and there are 22 cocks housed in the loft, so it’s a case of " first up, best dressed" for 517 and another. The sire of 517 is a Carrie and Jester Vandenabelee, and the Dam is a "Paul Stobbs" Sootjen, gifted to me by old mate from Bramhall, Jeff Worhington, who is not in the best of health, I wish him well.
Brian himself is going through a health issue, we all wish him well, great worker for teh sport.
3rd Open 3rd Section A, G Holker & Sons past National winners from Swinton Collecting £200.
4th Open 4th Section A, Rob Murphy & T Shufflebotham of Macclesfield with £205.
5th Open 5th Section Brian & Gary Smith another of the Congleton fanciers who have done well in this race plus £165.
Brian & Gary Smith
The lads said that they would like to start by Congratulating fellow club member Roger Sutton on winning the race fantastic flying.
The Bird that won 5th Open was a 2yo Cheq Cock flown on Widowhood. All the race cocks are paired to stock hens so that there is always a hen waiting when the cock return home. The Cock is bred from a pair of Stock Birds they purchased off Roger Lowe of Reading, these being from the De Rauw Sablons. These lines have proved a very successful breed for the team with a full brother claiming 5th Section L 46th Open from Messac with National FC the weekend before. Preparation for the race with this cock were 4 inland races and they are exercised round the loft daily. They are fed on Vanrobaeys Casaert Widowhood mix with fats added towards the end of the week.
7th Open 7th Section A, R J Davies & Son previous winners of this race and are from Chorlton and £50.
8th Open 1st Section B, is the ever-present Graham McKay of Swinton who is a regular in these results plus £145.
9th Open 2nd Section B, Mark & Heather Smith winning £100. Mark is also the President of the club and works hard to make sure the races go well at the Middlewich marking station where is he also I/C.
Mark & Heather (mother & Son) fly in the 2 local feds Mid Cheshire and South West Cheshire, and also fly in the Middlewich 2B, Cheshire 2B and the North West Classic. Mark first became interested in pigeons at a young age and helped with the loft chores for his dad Roy and Uncle Tom who flew as Smith Bros, they put up many good performances. When they both passed away, Mark continued to race the birds in the current partnership.
The hen that came home 2nd section 9th open in this race is of medium build and is from stock obtained from O’Hare & Woodward Vandenabeele “Shadow” lines. After a bad training toss before racing started losing a number of cocks this hen decided she would pair to another hen, and for this race she was sent sitting around 7 days.
The birds are fed on Beyers corn supplied by Dave Harris of Newport with plenty of advice to go with it (thanks Dave), these are very light mixers and totally different than the normal corn he would feed. The supplements used are from Gary Spavin, these are his herbal teas and tinctures, Mark said he is aware that he drive’s Gary mad, but he does thank him for all the advice given over the years.
Mark went on to say that the birds are very hard work and at times difficult to fit in with work family etc, but as he said you don’t get anything or anywhere without hard work and understanding from your family. “Good luck to all for the rest of the 2019 season”
10th Open & 12th open 3rd & 5th Section B, Mr & Mrs Carl Rowledge who are having a real good season in club and fed and in this race collects £80. The partnership are Carl and Emma Rowledge racing from their lofts in Remer Street, Crewe. They started racing in 2008 after becoming interested in pigeons through friends. They started their current team of birds in 2014 when moving to their current position and have been building their team since then and continue to develop it. As with all good fanciers they are hoping to make their team stronger year by year.
Carl & Georgi Rowledge
They keep their team to sprint/middle distance racing with the breeding stock consisting mostly of three breeds. Firstly, the De Meyers which are mainly sourced from A & L Painter in Willenhall. They also have Huybrechts from Darren Roberts and Hereman Ceusters from Curtis Wall and Lunt. One of their key middle-distance breeders is a Grizzle Bossman Leekens cock who they sourced directly for his Lucky Luke bloodlines. It was this cock paired to a Gaby Vandenabeele hen bred by Cosmin Talas that bred their first pigeon in this race. Their second to be clocked was bred by a son of “The Dazzler” from A & L painter paired to a granddaughter of the Geesen Hen from Derek Flowers.
Their sprint lines are mainly the Son of “Big Man” from A & L Painter, plus a granddaughter of “De Zott” and a son of “Jurgen” and their home bred “Georgi’s Girl” who won numerous club and fed prizes. They pair their birds by putting best to best and by putting their best racers back to stock they are starting to build what they hope is a comprehensive multitalented team.
Mr & Mrs Carl Rowledge lofts
Feed is a key part of their regime and over time they have developed a system which seems to suit the way they race their birds. They mix their own corns and feed specifically for upcoming races. The additional supplements are the Aviform range of products and medicate their birds only when they require.
Carl was saying he believes they have a good bond with their birds and that they race for the love of home, they put in a lot of work into their pigeons and this is starting to show. The preference is a love of sprint racing and after success at club and fed level they are setting their sights higher now and starting to expand the team to try and compete at a higher level of racing in clubs such as the North West Classic.
They are a comparatively young set up with high hopes for many competitive years ahead with their pigeons hopefully continuing to improve. They are delighted with the way their team have so far performed this season and that their hard work is showing the results they dreamed of with plenty of improvement to work on as well.
They were saying that they greatly admire the Curtis-Wall-Lunt partnership, how couldn’t any pigeon man aspire to achieve what they have done and can do, they are simply awe inspiring. Carl has his sights set very high in the pigeon world and said they would love to have the time knowledge and skill that the CWL partnership have, but we can only do their very best which is what they intend to do and keep learning for they believe that is the key to success.
1st 2nd 3rd Section C, 28th 29th 30th Open is Robert Langrish who clocked 3 in 15 seconds from 305mls, not bad racing at all, winning £160. Robert has been involved with pigeons on and off for 60 years since he was a 5yo who took pigeons to his heart. He started like most lads do with a few fantails, which grew into showing Modenas and Birmingham Rollers very successfully. However, he started with racing pigeons in 1977 which he raced for some 4/5 years, but they had to go to build up his landscape business. Bob won many club, fed and open races in the 5 years with his Faucconiers they were good pigeons from Stuart Blake of Flixton and direct.
Jumping forward to 2000 and 2005 he had a couple of starts back with pigeons, but the business got in the way and the stock birds went to his son Jamie. Bob helped Jamie with the pigeons whenever he could, this was right up to last year when he started on his own with late breds, bred from stock that he put together based on National winners and top breeders. These are Vandenabeeles, Marijke Vinks and George Hilson birds pure and crossed. He said he is still finding out what does what, but most have bred good pigeons for both himself and Jamie, plus a few other fanciers along the way.
Bob put all the emphasis on the pigeons themselves to win, no training after the first race preferring them to fly around home. No special treatments in the loft, in fact some are not even paired, they can do what they want on a very loose roundabout system. If a bird is fit, it has to race this also stops the hens pairing. Like all good winning fanciers Bob has a very good bond with the birds they know his every move.
The loft must have an even warm temperature with no drafts. as for medication he only treats after having had them tested. There are none of this blank treatment of Antibiotics every week for Bob, this is ruining the sport i.e. the birds. As for feeding he uses only Bamfords own brands and have no reason to change, they are given as much as they want every day by hand, they will not fly if they are hungry, with barley in the mix always.
If he was sprinting things would be different regarding feeding, but he is not. Bob was saying that he wants to try more in the Nationals and Classic races where he is just getting started. This was his first race in the classic, which he said he enjoyed and wishes to congratulate the other winners “well done”
“Thank you for this invitation to write a few words, all I can say is I don’t know what I do, really you just look after them as best you can. Oh, I also show Indian fantails in the winter. They double as droppers for the racers”
Summary; Well done to all the winners, from an official/scribes’ point of view it is always disappointing when winning members fail to supply information on their pigeons. We all know that publicity is what the specialist clubs need to survive.