“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
Three Borders Federation (Yelverton Race).
The Three Borders Federation were at Yelverton in early May and members sent 826 birds, for what turned out to be a good steady race, being liberated at 07.00hrs in a no wind situation. A very successful partnership that has been ‘knocking on the door’ every week is Frank and Sue Carson of the Mitcham & Morden club and they won the Federation from Yelverton, with their second pigeon backing it up by taking 9th Federation. Paul Arnold of the Esher club had won the Federation on the two previous weeks and only sent three birds to this Yelverton race to win 1st, 2nd, 3rd Esher club, 6th, 7th, 20th Federation. Brilliant pigeon racing!
The first ten in the Yelverton Federation result were: 1) Frank & Sue Carson 1498: 2) Alan & John Stoner 1494: 3) Terry Goodsell 1493: 4) Alan & John Stoner 1493: 5) Terry Goodsell 1492: 6) Paul Arnold 1487: 7)
Paul Arnold 1485: 8) Terry Goodsell 1484: 9) Frank & Sue Carson 1484: 10) Terry Goodsell 1483. This was race number six of the season and at this point the Esher club are leading for the ‘Federation Points Trophy’ with 58 points, with the Ashridge being R/U on 49 points.
Frank & Susan Carson of the Mitcham & Merton club enjoyed a wonderful Yelverton race, recording 1st 9th Federation and previously won this season: 15th Federation Blandford (2), 5th, 6th, 13th, 15th Federation Kingsdown. Frank and Sue have won countless Federation positions through many years, but I think the 2013 racing season was one of their best, winning 1st open L&SECC Guernsey (old bird), and long list of positions in the Three Borders Federation, including 1st and 2nd Federation three weeks on the trot, plus 1st and 2nd SMT Combine. Fantastic pigeon racing! I had a week’s holiday in the south of France in mid-June of that year and on my return, I visited the Carson’s home in Sutton to update Frank and Sue’s pigeon racing story. I last visited their loft for an article 30 years previous and although I’ve seen Frank about at pigeon functions, I think I’m right in saying I haven’t seen Susan since that visit 30 years previous. She was now a busy grandmother and looked really well. Susan takes an active interest in the running of the loft, for example she has trained youngsters while Frank is involved with the widowers. She kept records, cleaned out and anything else that needed doing. To get the best out of pigeons, Susan said, it's a matter of 365 days of dedication every year.
The star pigeon of the Carson loft in the 2013 season had been the yearling blue pied cock, ‘Mr. Stoner’, and he recorded 1st open London & South East Classic Club Guernsey (800 birds), and 1st club, 1st Three Borders Federation, 1st SMT Combine Yelverton (1596 birds), being raced on the widowhood system. A nice little extra to ‘Mr. Stoner’s’ success story is the fact that his nest brother, ‘Alan’, was with him on the very same velocity from Yelverton (179 miles) and is joint 1st open SMT Combine! This wonderful cock had won other premier positions in the 2013 season including 13th Federation Honiton (1172 birds), being beaten by a loft mate. The widowhood blue cock, ‘Alan’, has a brilliant racing record in his own right, winning: 1st Federation, 1st SMT Combine Yelverton (1596 birds), 1st Federation Exeter (938 birds), 2nd Federation Honiton (1149 birds), beaten by a loft mate, 3rd Federation Newton Abbot (985 birds), beaten by loft mate, 8th Federation Wincanton (1149 birds), 14th Federation Yeovil (1106 birds) plus several other premier positions including 1st club Taunton. This fantastic nest pair of cocks were bred by Frank’s good friend, John Stoner of Mitcham, from the very best Willie Jacobs and Gaby Vandenabeele bloodlines. Another top racer that season had been the Willie Jacobs blue chequer cock, ‘The 15 Cock’, and he had beaten ‘Alan’ twice in the 2013 season for top honors in the Federation results. The brilliant widowhood cock had won seven times first club and 1st Federation Wincanton (1995 birds), 1st Federation Honiton (1149 birds), 2nd Federation Newton Abbot (985 birds), 3rd Federation Wincanton (1701 birds), 3rd Federation Yeovil (1506 birds), 4th Federation Honiton (1172 birds), 6th Federation Yeovil (1106 birds).
Frank told me the main families raced at the Carson loft are mainly Willy Jacobs from Ernie Goodyear of Barnsley and a few Gaby Vandenabeele from Mark and Dickie Evans, and they race about 16 cocks on the traditional widowhood system. The widowhood system is very basic, and Frank tells me he exercises the cocks around the loft for one hour only every day and feeds twice a day on Mabdor widowhood mixture and a light mixture on their return from a race. The widowhood hens are kept in boxes and are shown to the racing cocks on marking night. The widowhood cocks get the hens for an hour on their return home from the race and no training is given once racing starts. His main interest is Saturday Federation sprint racing, but competes in races up to 450 miles, having won at all points up to Bergerac (450 miles) and is very careful with his feeding, breaking the cocks down in the first part of the week. Frank told me, ‘our pigeons are raced on the conventional widowhood system, with the cocks being kept on grills in their nest boxes. We use a ATX Radiation heating system throughout the loft and we have never used deep litter, having slatted floors in all the lofts’. The partners have two very smart lofts, the main one being 40ft long and this houses the widowhood racing cocks, young birds and the eight pairs of stock birds, which also live in a nice spacious flight. The stock birds are paired up the same time as the race birds in January and their eggs are floated in the race section. The breeders are fed on Frank’s own premier breeding mixture, which is three top quality mixtures knocked up together. When bringing in a new stock bird the partners look at the premier performances already achieved by the family. The big main loft has slatted floors, heaters for winter breeding and the trapping is designed for ETS clocking. Their small loft houses the widowhood hens and is a store for their corn and baskets. The old birds, stock and racers, are paired up in January and the partnership breed about 50 babies to race each season on the ‘darkness’ system. The partners like young bird racing and the babies are trained well and race the Federation programme. The babies are trained once a day through to 60 miles and the Carson’s young bird policy is home, fed and left to rest. Once they reach the 30-mile training stage they are no longer exercised around the loft. They are darkened for 12 weeks from April to June and from the day of their first race they are put on the ‘lightness’ system. They race through to 170 miles, occasionally sending the one or two to France and all are flown to the perch.
The Carson loft has bred several premier racer for other fanciers and the Esher partnership of Crook & Iddenden, had a brilliant race from Yeovil (1) in 2013, recorded 1st, 3rd, 24th Federation, winning with their champion blue cock ‘Frank’, and then this brilliant cock went on to win 1st Federation Yeovil (2) at the end of the season. Colin Crook and Andy Iddenden won the Three Borders Federation ‘Ken Besant Memorial Trophy’ in the 2011 season for ‘best pigeon of the year’ with their good blue cock, ‘Frank’ and this wonderful cock recorded: 2nd Federation Kingsdown, 2nd Federation Yeovil (twice beaten by loft mates), 7th Federation Wincanton, 14th Federation Wincanton, 16th Federation Kingsdown, 23rd Federation Newton Abbot. Frank and Susan Carson bred Colin and Andy’s champion Gaby Vandenbeele blue widowhood cock, ‘Frank’. He has won a list of premier positions in the last three seasons including 1st Three Borders Federation Kingsdown. This game cock raced to Frank’s loft as a young bird and yearling and when Frank packed up for a while in 2008, the pigeon was gifted to Crook & Iddenden, too set the place alight with brilliant performances. Frank and Susan brought their Gaby Vandenbeele pigeons from Mark and Dickie Evans in 2003 and 2004, and were direct out of their champions, including the great ‘Shadow’. Frank and Susan won the Three Borders Federation Individual Points Trophy in the 2011, with 53 points, and they have always been regarded as one of the better racing outfits in the London area over the last 30 years, always being at the top of Federation and Open race result sheets. They have enjoyed a brilliant 2011 young bird season racing in the Three Borders Federation and their two Federation winners were both Willy Jacobs pigeons raced to the perch. The Carson loft had a brilliant season racing in the Three Borders Federation winning: Old Bird: 24th, 25th Federation Yeovil (2230 birds), 3rd Federation Kingsdown (1966 birds), 3rd Federation Falaise (1174 birds), 14th Federation Newton Abbot (1476 birds), 22nd, 23rd Federation Kingsdown (1321 birds), 8th Federation Messac (857 birds), 25th Federation Kingsdown (1090 birds), 11th, 12th, 13th Federation Taunton (1080 birds): Young Bird: 3rd, 18th Federation Blandford (1380 birds), 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th, 19th, 21st, 25th Federation Wincanton (1260 birds), 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 18th, 19th Federation Yeovil (1497 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 20th Federation Blandford (1657 birds), 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st Federation Newton Abbot (885 birds),7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th Federation Yelverton (880 birds). Fantastic pigeon racing!
Frank is a used car dealer by trade and has been in the sport 40 years. He told me, ‘Susan is a major worker with our pigeons and must take a share of the credit for our success over the years. Our youngest daughter Kimberley lends a hand when needed. I prefer sprint racing and have owned some really good widowhood cock in the early 1990s, which won up to 17 firsts each racing Saturday and Wednesday. Years ago, we won the Kingston Open, when that was the main race to win with the best racers in the South of England sending their best. That was a great buzz! Over the years Susan and I have held most of the offices in the club, including Secretary and Chairman, but I personally think the modern-day small clubs should amalgamate and create bigger clubs for better competition, to lift the sport out of decline. In my opinion John and Darren May are two of our best local fanciers, having put up some brilliant performance in the Combine, Classic and National over many years. Two great pigeon racers! Susan and I used to use the eye sign method in our stock loft, but as time has gone by we have gained a lot of experience, which has told us that breeders of winners come in all shapes and sizes, and some with not so good eye sign. In the stock loft we pair winners to winners, or breeders of winners to breeders of winner together! We are great believers in working the pigeons, but we also know they need rest and as soon as the last young bird race is over, we part all the birds and the loft is completely shut down for two months of the moult period’.
Frank was born in Battersea, South London, and his grandfather was a fancier flying as J. Carson & son in the Chelsea & South Lambeth club. Frank spent a lot of time with his grandfather and as a result became interested in racing pigeons. When his grandfather died in 1978, he moved in with his grandmother and took the pigeons over. In the early days Frank got a great deal of help from J. Langbridge who at the time flew in the Carshalton club. Frank's interest prior to pigeon racing was football for a local club as a boy, and just prior to taking over his grandfather's birds he successfully showed boxer dogs. Frank had then been in the sport six years and the first club he flew in was the Hackbridge DHS. His grandfather's stock were mainly Andre Vermote and Rene Boizard and Frank's performances were fairly good considering the knowledge and resources that he had at hand. At the end of 1981 the Carson’s decided that they wanted to fly the Widowhood system, so they went to their now good friends, Peter & Geraldine Hookins of Wimbledon. The Hookins were very successful Widowhood fanciers and Peter gave all the help and advice he could. Frank said he had gone from strength to strength since then. In the early days he made all the typical novice mistakes, overcrowding and over training. Penning several articles on Frank and Susan over many years, I can remember in 1984 the partners had the season of a lifetime winning twenty-seven 1st, nineteen 2nd, twelve 3rd and twelve 4th, flying in two Saturday clubs and a midweek now and again. The Carson’s raced the Widowhood system and in 1984 the eighteen cocks won twenty-three 1sts, the other four winners were young birds. Frank once told me the high points in his time as a pigeon fancier were winning the Old Comrades eye sign class and the first time, he won the Federation. Frank Carson is a born pigeon racer and has always been successful!
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)