North West Classic Club
The quality of the club is reflected in the result.
The seasons moving along at a fair old pace, I say that after talking to a fancier who was telling me he is training his young birds. We have had a couple of early weekends from across the channel where the returns have not been as good as they needed to be for the rest of the season. When this happens, we have the knock-on effect of clubs missing out. The first race for this club saw empty perches on the night but next morning was a good one and they were dropping in well and reports were that they were showing no ill effects after the night out. For most fanciers they ended up with more or less all back by mid-day Sunday. There really have been some mixed races from across the channel this year it makes you wonder how much of this is down to the east winds, having said that we have had a few drizzly days that have not helped. There are so many different reports on the weather its no wonder the race controllers don’t know which way to turn at times. I have held a few positions in pigeon racing but one I would not like is that of the race controller who is at the sharp end of the sport. I know it is only Tuesday as I start making notes and preparing for the NWCC Carentan race but there are already conflicting reports for the weekends weather. When I went to log on this morning with btinternet there are always the latest news stories and one was that we are in for thunderstorms at the weekend. As I say it is only Tuesday as I start to make notes but by the time this report is finished and in the magazine we will have leant if that report was fact or fiction. What is a fact is that the weather reports prior to the weekend can affect the numbers fanciers enter into the channel races for the north west where they have a fair run up country before reaching their home loft. On Wednesday before the race I had a call to say the combine were thinking of cancelling with the first thing coming to mind that the NWCC would have another bumper send. That rumour was short lived because a little later in the afternoon while I was having a break in the sun I had a conversation with haulier Phil Brown about the crates and he said the subject had been discussed but the combine were still going. With that all done with I went to the fridge got myself and the boss a glass of wine and settled down for a sunny afternoon on the lounger in the garden. The quiet was short lived because the phone went again, and it was Walkers this time to say they were dropping the pedigree’s off for the Crammond & Langstaff sale the following afternoon. Now there were two real nice fanciers who did a great job with racing and breeding National and Classic winner’s, but as we know Ian Crammond has passed away joined the many more fanciers in the sky. Think it must be my age, I keep wandering off the subject nowadays so let’s get back to the subject in hand, the NWCC.
Thursday saw Mike O’Hare and Kim’s husband Steve join me to clean the baskets out ready for marking in the evening, on these days you are thinking how many crates we will need to prepare for later in the day, something we never know unto marking is finished. With the talk of who was and who was not going plus the weather forecast we were not sure how many we would need so we cleaned 16 and left the others just in case they were not needed. Mike was saying that it was going to be a busy night with the other clubs marking for the Combine, the first race was a luxury because there was only the NWCC marking for Carentan on that night. Lizzie usually helped Kim with taking the money and the books, but she had swanned off to Spain with her two sons and their wives for her 60th birthday treat so Alicia joined Kim as a late replacement. The club are still getting the odd members joining and we are now up to 140, the target was 150 but after handing out all the application forms over the winter including Blackpool with only about one third have coming good. We also have an addition to the £2 nom in section B, new member Phil Buckton has given £60 which will be £20 for the last 3 old bird races, therefore the nom starts at £20 plus entries, thanks Phil, all sponsorship is much appreciated.
Thursday morning, I also had a call from Geoff asking if I had seen the weather forecast for the weekend, the weather is such a talking point nowadays. He was saying they are predicting thunderstorms at Fougeres for the weekend so they stayed at Carentan, I wonder how many will see this and decide not to send. Pity we don’t have the foresight to see what the weather is going to be, then we could arrange all our races on the good days, a bit more thought and no not a good idea we need to be left wondering. I was once again pleased with the marking night, all went well and there was an increased entry on 2017. I am very pleased with the way fanciers have worked together to make sure all runs smoothly, and I am told that young Robert Carson is going to work with Mark Smith to make sure the jobs go well at the Middlewich marking station. Janet Hull has finished her stint at the Preston marking station so thanks to her for the help she has given, we all understand why she is now taking a back seat. We would have liked to see more birds marked at Preston, but I think the first race put a few off, let’s hope that doesn’t last too long in their memories. Roy Redpath has agreed to take on the I/C position so let’s give Roy some support, these jobs are never easy. Talking about the Marking stations I had a call from Mark Anderson telling me how well the system at Cheadle works and what a good team they have. I will add that he said Pat Smith is a real good one at the job and goes out of her well to help, I can add that I have met Pat a few times and she has always been a good worker for the sport, we could do with a few more like her. Now what about the build up to the race, well there were plenty of discussions as to whether they were going to be liberated and this went on right up to noon on Sunday which was the last time I spoke to our race controller before the birds were liberated. Later in the day I was talking to a fancier from down south and he was saying that the weather was good for a race so at that time I was hopeful. However later in the day the weather turned for the worse in the North West and it went a bit grey which was not what the pigeons needed after a tough day. As they say the rest is history, this like other races over the weekend was not what we would have liked it to be. This will go down as one of those weekends that we all prefer not to dwell on but over the years we have had these races and like our pigeons we have bounced back and that is what will happen after this weekend. As I sit here in glorious sunshine through the office window it is very early on Monday morning and it looks good. I have seen quite a few going over, so the pigeons were starting to work their way back home and into the security of their lofts. The day birds did well and there were plenty clocked early doors on the next day which meant that we could not make the following weeks edition with the result. On the second night members were more optimistic about sending to the next race from Messac, how many will go I have no idea but we will find out. 1st 5th 9th section A 1st 7th 11th Open are R Littler & Son Connor from Stockport. First place was R Littler & Son Connor once again taking a top position, this time it is 1st section 1st open from Carentan flying 7h 2 mins. This blue cock was bred for the job and he has been a consistent racer throughout his career, but this was by far the best performance. After liberation into a north east wind it would appear that he got his head down to cover the distance in such a good time on the day he certainly was bred from two great lines of winning pigeons. His sire was from a brother to Graham Mckays great cock which won 1st section L 4th open National when crossed with a daughter of “Blue 'Paula” which in turn was bred from Frank taskers famous 'Paula'. She is a good hen being dam and g-dam of section winners, fed winners, north Road championship winners and for many of years was Franks no1 hen who was off the Paul Haltermans strain. Also, in the breeding is Dave Garnett and Glen Moore's 'Black Jack' himself and classic winners. Connor had a further 5 birds home on the night from their entries. This on a day when very few birds made it home out of all the other organisations racing from Carentan that day. Connor races 20 widowhood cocks. He prefers to fly the channel races because all his pigeons are middle distance and they prefer the longer racers and perform better on the channel. This is Connors first year flying in the classic with his dad 'Bob' which is a partnership. Bob trains the pigeons and puts hard work into them when the channel starts. Connor is the loft manger as he says they both like flying in the classic and are going to join the National next year. Connor keeps 8 pairs of stock and reared around 30 to 40 young birds a year. His loft is 32ft long and has 5 sections 2 sections of widowhood cocks a section of young birds a section for the racing hens and a section for spare hens he keeps 10 pigeons to each section with the cocks and the section are 6ftx5ft so there's plenty of space for the pigeon. When Connor’s Dad agreed to form the partnership, little did he know how interested and involved he would become in the pigeons
R Littler & Son Connor & R Littler & Son Lofts
2nd 7th section 2nd 9th Open George Brennen of Wythenshaw who races the pigeons on the roundabout and hopper fed, on mixes made up of Vanrobaey best all round, Gerry plus and depurative. George was saying that he does like all the races but has a preference towards the channel. George is a small team flyer and does not keep stock pigeons, they are another job to take him away from the race team. We say a small team, I think it is lower than small in this age of racing pigeons because George only has 6 to 12 pairs and 30 young birds annually. The birds are trained three days a week at home at Roger Sutton’s plus his son takes them when he works away. The loft is divided into three sections 8ft x 6ft young birds, widowhood 8ft x 6ft hen section 6ft x 6ft, all easy to manage. George was saying he does like to keep in touch with what is going on so likes to attend meetings but due to working nights sometimes unable to take active roles.
George Brennen & daughter Carrie
3rd section 3rd Open Paul Clare from Brinnington, Stockport
1st section B 4th Open is Alan Williams of Crewe who clocked a 2yo dark hen racing on widowhood who has won 1st club 4th mid Cheshire fed this year plus she has won a hand full of other prizes plus she been beaten twice for 1st by loft mates. She was bred by Mr and Mrs J Bennett from Crewe. She is a Wildermerch and bred off Jim’s dark cock which is known as the “Thrill Cock” he is a direct son of “Half a Minute” the cock who has bred multiple first prize winners, one brother Alan has to his hen has topped the fed 4 times. Alan went on to say, “I would like to thank Jim for breeding me birds off all his top pigeons since I started with them when I was 13 I'm 32 now that makes me feel old. He has never asked me for a penny he's a top pigeon man and great guy, cheers Jim. I would also like to say thank you to my mate Andy (Shent) for the help he has given me this year, cheers mate, he's the ugly one in the picture on the right”
Alan Williams and helper Andy
4th section A 5th Open goes to Brian Lee at Congleton with a blue yearling roundabout hen that flew in all races to MNFC Carentan as a youngster. Her schedule this year is to complete the NWCC Chanel program. Her sire is a full brother to the Ruby hens, winners of NWCC, Cheshire 2 birds, and several NFC positions, one of which was dam to “Ruby 2” 1st section L Messac recently. Her dam is a Herman Ceuster stock hen, bred for Brian by his good friend John Brocklehurst from his Premier stud acquisitions.
2nd section B 6th Open are Mark & Heather Smith from Middlewich, Mark is a good worker for the sport in Middlewich and is always pushing the racing forward.
6th section A 8th Open are Rick & Simon Geary at Macclesfield with “The 14 Hen” who is bred out of the John Albutt cock which has bred a number of winning pigeons for the partnership. On the dam’s side is the Leo Heremam which has bred winning pigeons for them. “The 14 Hen” is raced on the widowhood system, and they are fed on Varmaxi corn and a bit of seed add to it. “The 14 Hen” topped the Staffordshire Moorlands fed the previous week and also topped the combine out of 2,000 birds so she was right in form for this race.
8th section A 10th Open goes to Roger Sutton of Congleton the quiet man of pigeons but does not very often send us info, will have to get Brian Lee on the job.
R Geary & Son's "The 14 Hen"
Rick & Simon Geary
3rd section B is Alan Wicker from Bolton who has been a keen supporter of the club in the past and now that he is back racing with the NWCC he is enjoying it, long may that last.
1st 3rd Section C go to Joe Livesey from Preston, Joe is a good channel flyer into the North West and these are the races he likes where there is a bit more distance. In fact, Joe had a good race also fishing 4th & 5th section. It’s a pity the Preston marking station had to close but if there is no one to do the jobs then that’s the way it goes. Janet Hull who has been a top worker in that area for many years has a priority and that is not to the pigeons and I don’t blame her. Thanks for what you have done for the Club Janet.
2nd section C John McGenity from Widnes with a 2yo late bred scored twice and from the first race from Carentan was 4th section 33rd open. The second race again from Carentan with a one-day holdover come 2nd section 57th open. This was a bird from a man who kindly gifted John this pigeon and he is Nic Morris of Pant Oswestry. All the pigeons at this loft are raced on the natural system to either eggs or young in the nest. They are fed twice a day having a feed in the morning then again in the evening.
John McGenity's 2nd section
The preference is the long-distance racing because he believes it's more exciting and it takes a good pigeon to do it. John said he was very lucky and privileged in life to meet and also be the loft lad for 10 years for a legend of the sport Arthur Mellor of Widnes he was well known for his channel racing with the old Gurney lines with his best pigeon being the “Old Dark Un”. It's all thanks to Arthur why John like’s racing the distance. He added he is very grateful for the tips and advice from Steve Smith from Widnes who advised him to join the North West classic club and has shown him how to prepare my birds for these great races. Steve was a 1st section C winner in 1994. John added that he thinks it's a brilliant club well run and very organized and lovely people. John about 40 pigeons with 25 being in the young bird team and the other 15 being old birds. They are exercised around home once a day which is generally around tea time. The old bird loft is a 6ft x 4ft concrete council shed awhile the young bird loft is a 6ft x12ft shed with an aviary on the side.
There has been a lot of discussion about what race point the pigeons should go to for the third race with the NWCC. This has come about with the first two races not going as planned, but after talking to a few the feeling was that they go to Messac, but we shall have to wait and see. From what I can gather fanciers want to get a bit more channel distance into their pigeons ready for the 500ml plus races. Anyway, as I sit here typing away our next race last old bird race of the season is from Saintes and is open to anyone west of line 2.00.00 and flying 365mls from Messac. This was a cracking race last year, lets hope we get the same support again, makes it all worthwhile.
I must say I was disappointed in the response for information on this race after a good turnout for the first race.
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.
Tel: 01606836036 Mobile: 07871701585.