“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Yeovil Race 2).
The Three Borders Federation had 761 birds away at Yeovil for the twelfth old bird race of the 2019 season. ‘The Lone Ranger’, Dom McCoy, has had another great season convoying the Three Borders Federation pigeons and was up at the crack of dawn at Yeovil, when he liberated at 05.45hrs into a light south east wind. Kenny Wise of Isleworth clocked a game three-year-old in on 2 hour 12 minutes, at 106 miles to win the Federation! Close up behind Ken had four more birds on the ETS to win: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Federation and then followed in with 12th, 15th, 17th, 22nd Federation. It was certainly the Isleworth club’s day, with members taking 18 positions on the Federation result. Brilliant pigeon racing!
The first ten in the Yeovil (2) Federation result were: 1) Ken Wise 1420: 2 Ken Wise 1419: 3) Ken Wise 1419: 4) Ken Wise 1418: 5) Ken Wise 1418: 6) Peter Clements 1417: 7) D. & A. Lebby Brothers 1402: 8) D. & A. Lebby Brothers 1402: 9) D. & A. Lebby Brothers 1401: 10) M. Burczak 1394. This was race number twelve of the season and at this point the Ashridge club are leading for the ‘Federation Points Trophy’ with 106 points, with the Mitcham & Morden club being R/U on 98 points.
Ken Wise’s 32 widowhood cocks are paired up at Christmas and rear one nest of babies before being split from their mates sitting six to eight days on their second round of eggs. They are then on the system being flown out around the loft for one hour every day and are trained two weeks before the first Federation race. They are never trained during the racing season and are raced, including the yearlings, through to Bergerac (458 miles). The cocks are never broken down, being fed twice a day on a first-class widowhood mixture and the hens are never shown to the racers on marking nights, just get the nest bowl turned over. The cocks are allowed to go in the nest boxes during the week and perch on the turned over bowl. The time which the cocks get their hens for on their return from the race depends on how hard the fly is and normally this can be for a long time, as Ken is only really interested in racing from France. Although he likes Federation racing with his young birds, the old birds are mostly lined up for the National and Classic event and repairs his widowhood cocks for the longer races.
Ken’s loft is sited in the shadows of Twickenham Rugby Union Stadium and he has been in pigeon racing all his life, coming from a premier Middlesex pigeon family. Ken tells me his late father, Vic Wise, was still racing successfully after moving to Wales a few years ago. Ken raced with his dad as A. Wise & Son when he was a lad and their best performance was 11th open NFC Nantes (11,444 birds) in 1982, but his pigeon story really started in 1988 when he purchased some Hermans from Mr & Mrs Basil Beebe of Horncastle and bred a family of sprint pigeons. The loft's record in those early seasons was outstanding and since obtaining Hermans from Basil Beebe and Bill Ward, of Ward Brothers from South Elmsall, he won over 50 x 1sts in sprint racing from 1991 to 1996, lifting many trophies and averages in club and Federation. In 1994 Ken decided to have a go at Channel racing and, on obtaining stock from the very best long-distance lofts, has never looked back. In recent seasons the Wise loft has raced the Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons obtained from Mark & Dickie Evans of Doncaster and continued to enjoy outstanding success, winning top position in the Federation National and Classic, including three times 1st open London & South East Classic Club.
Ken keeps 30 pairs of stock birds and these are housed in a separate structure, which is made with two nice spacious lofts with a 12ft aviary in between. The loft is fitted out with the German style up and over nest boxes, with trays for easy cleaning and grilled floors to keep the dreaded dust to a minimum. All the old birds, racers and stock birds are paired up at Christmas and the first round of eggs from the breeders are floated under the race team. The stock birds are fed on a good winter mixture during the rest period and are fed a Natural mixture three times a day when breeding. When bringing in a new stock bird Ken looks for outstanding performance in the parents and their family but must also conform to the type of pigeon he likes. He likes all round families of pigeons, that win from 80 miles through to 450 miles and is not into the eye sign method. He was persuaded into trying eye sign once and maintains it was his biggest mistake ever, with his performance going downhill rapidly. He maintains eye sign is rubbish! His method is pair good pigeons to good pigeon and let the basket sort them out. The main families kept are the Willy Thas and Busschaerts from Gerry Clements, Gaby Vandenbeele from M. & D. Evans, Ray Horton and Dave Hawkins, and the old family form Ken’s good friends, Ries and Gerard Schalkwijk of Holland.
The Wise loft’s 100 young birds go on the ‘darkness’ system from weaning until the 21st June each season and says his birds are not in total black out when on the system, but maintains the loft is light enough to read a newspaper. The babies are trained ever day as soon as they begin to run and are still on the ‘dark’. Training is intense for the youngsters, but once they start to race, training is kept to three regular 30 mile tosses per week and they race the full young bird programme, as Ken thinks they need races to educate them for later life. His young bird feeding system has been the same for years and told me they get no more than 1¼ ounces each per day, ¼ of depurative in the morning and 1 ounce of young bird no maize mixture in the evening, with the mixture being changed to widowhood once racing starts. He treats his birds for all the normal things when necessary and once racing starts, he treats on the Travipharma BV system, which he is well known for as he has been their agent for many years and works on their stand at the BHW Blackpool Show every year.
Kenny has won five RPRA Awards in all, two being won in the 2008 season and has put up a string of major performances over a lot of years. In those three seasons he won the young bird average in the Three Borders Federation twice and was runner-up once, and 2008 season saw him win the average, plus 1st Federation twice. At that time he set new records in the Three Border Federation in 2008 and in one young bird Yeovil race won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd open with 1,644 birds competing. Brilliant pigeon racing! The Federation winner was Ken’s handsome Willy Thas blue chequer cock, ‘DE 049’ and he was raced to the perch. Ken told me one of his biggest thrills of the season was when he won the Federation in the longest young bird race from Yelverton (177 miles), with his good blue hen ‘DE 130’ and she won by 5ypm and was disadvantaged by flying against the wind. This game little hen was a M. & D. Evans / Vandenabeele, being a granddaughter of ‘Benneton’ and was sent to Yelverton showing to young cock. In 2008 Ken won five of the seven young bird races in the Isleworth club and was second in the other two.
Ken has had some brilliant young bird seasons in recent years. He worked very hard training his 2009 youngsters from Portsmouth and Southampton, both 50 mile plus tosses and he enjoyed a great young bird’s season, winning some brilliant positions at the back end of the season. Ken sent two big teams to the NFC Fougeres (219 miles) Young Bird National and London & South East Classic Club Guernsey (168 miles) race, both staged on the same Saturday in September. The L&SECC sent 2,157 young birds and Ken’s ETS system was working overtime and recorded: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th SW Section, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 22nd, 31st, 32nd, 37th, 38th, 40th, 42nd, 58th, 59th, 69th, 74th, 84th, 87th, 88th open, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 11th Gold Ring (£1,100). First bird clocked to record 1st SW Section, 4th open was Ken’s good Gaby Vandenabeele blue hen, ‘De 09’; she was bred by his good friend Ray Horton of Morpeth in Northumberland. The NFC Fougeres race was a steadier event and the Isleworth loft recorded a rake of premier positions including: 6th Section E, 7th, 17th, 43rd, 62nd, 89th, and 94th open. First bird home from the National was another Gaby Vandenabeele pigeon, this time a blue cock sent feeding a big baby. In recent seasons the Wise loft has raced the Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons obtained from Mark & Dickie Evans of Doncaster and continued to enjoy outstanding success, winning top position in the Federation National and Classic, including three times 1st open London & South East Classic Club, twice with young birds. Fantastic pigeon flying by any one’s standards!
Peter Clements is a name you see regularly on the Three Borders Federation race results and to round off an excellent 2018 racing season he won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Federation from Exeter. The Federation winner was a yearling Janssen hen racing her first season on the roundabout system and was killing by Hawk attack two weeks after winning the race. The next four pigeons on the Federation result were all roundabout hens and daughters of Peter’s good stock hen, ‘Woodstock Producer’. The second bird on the ETS from Exeter was the yearling red chequer hen, ‘Woodstock Princess’, and she won several other positions in her first-year racing. One of the loft’s old stagers, ‘Woodstock Leggy’, recorded 4th Federation on the day and previously won: 1st club Yeovil, 1st club Blandford, 1st club Kingsdown, 2nd club Yeovil, 2nd club Kingsdown, plus other positions in inland racing. Peter’s present racing loft is 20ft long, with open door trapping, three sections, two for the roundabout cocks and hen, and one for the young birds. There is no real feeding system at the Isleworth loft with the racers being fed on a good ‘widowhood’ mixture, but Peter says, the most important factor is not to over feed. He likes to race every Saturday and enjoys short and long-distance racing.
Peter Clements was born in Isleworth in 1950 and says on one else in the family was interested in pigeons at that time. He played around with and liked pigeons from a very young age and enjoyed catching and keeping stray racers. He took up the sport seriously at the age of 30 and his first pigeon came from Tubby Tate of Chiswick and then several Dordin’s from the Isleworth ‘ace’, Johnny Wills. Two local fanciers who helped Peter out in the early days were Mick and Ron Sotheron, both outstanding pigeon racers in the Isleworth area and Peter’s first club was the Bedfont SR club, where he began to win race prizes from the outset. Peter told me, ‘my first little loft was pretty basic, and I raced on the natural system, with good success. Like most fanciers I made some mistakes, including over feeding and training, but managed to win plenty of positions from the inland and channel races.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)