The Circle held their young bird race from Portland transported by Dianne Bonney transport when all the members and several guests met the Fiddle'ith Bag Inn for lunch before getting on with the task of basketing. As Secretary I am more that pleased the with all the members and more so the guests that get involved with the marking, with two marking stations for the ETS and another for the few who still prefer to use rubber rings the whole race marking was over and done in what seemed like a matter of minutes.
This season the race, which is in three parts, took on a slightly different look, the exchange which for the past two decades had taken place with the Midland Social Circle had been replaced with an event known as the Friendship Race. Something very fitting as this is what the Circle is all about. Every member at the start of the year got a pair of youngsters from one of the guests, this could have been one of his own guests or maybe one from another member who brings along several guests to the twice-yearly Gatherings. With all members now having a pair of youngsters their ring numbers and the name of the guest from whom they got them from were communicated to the secretary by the first race of the season and kept on record to make the publishing of the result so much easier. The Friendship Race although only in its first year has proved very popular and I am sure when it comes to the prize presentation the guests who provided the winning pigeons will be very proud to collect their diplomas from our guest of honour in November. From the forty members the Circle have two have not been able to race this season and this put a slight dampener on this type of events but in the scale of things the race was a complete success. It was never going to be an easy race liberated into bright sunshine following a dull start to the day at 9 15am into a east north east wind changing as the birds got more up country, a hard day but a fair one.
Graham Mackay Racer of the Winning pigeon in the Friendship Race
The eventual winner of the Friendship Race was Graham Mackay with a blue cock bred by Scott Irving from Annan, a regular guest at the Circle and someone that has now become part of the fabric of the Circle over the many years he has been travelling down from over the border from Scotland to attend our Gathering at Southport. Scott is stranger to the prizewinning table having won many top places in the Scottish National over the years. Second and seventh in the race was Bob Smith with a cracking pair from one of his guest John Winstanley, the second of these a red cock arrived a little late due to a hawk attack and at the time of my visit was still recovering from his injuries. Keith Iddon was third with one from Derek Pedley quickly followed by John Dearden who timed a cheq hen from one of his guests and fellow club-mate Bobby Brandon. Eric Entwistle was fifth clocking a blue hen from one of his guests David Hilton. Alan Jones from Liverpool was sixth with one from another longstanding guest Peter Morris. David Newson the longest flyer on the result flying 217 miles to the village of Banks near Southport was seventh with a cracking grizzle hen from David Pimlott.
John Dearden 4th in the Friendship Race - Eric Etwistle who was 5th in the Frendship Race - Alan Jones 6th in the Friendship Race and Breeder of Bob Smith's 2nd Pigeon
The second race held from the same liberation was the Lancashire Social Circle Breeders Exchange which is what the title says it is and exchange between the members. Following what can only be described as a difficult racing seasons only 12 of our members managed to enter 17 pigeons from the 36 exchange youngsters at the start, remember two of the members were unable to take part this season. Keith Iddon had a field day taking 1st and 2nd with two nestmates timed just 3 seconds apart, these being from Maurice McCartney from Carnforth. The Sire of these two came from Dave Impet from Blackpool with its sire being an exchange pigeon from Mark Gilbert that was paired to a direct daughter of his best stock cock. The Dam of the winning pigeons also has Circle connections being a inbred daughter of the Dearn Cock which was presented to Maurice by Bob and Brian Smith, that Bob tells me is well suited to these hard but fair racing days. Keith wins the Barrett Trophy presented to the racer of the winning pigeon and Maurice wins the Braithwaite Trophy for the breeder of the winning pigeon, both also collect a John Marsden Award to go along side their trophies. Third place went to Bob Smith with an exchange from one of our long-standing members Joe Tunstall of Haydock. Peter Latham picks up the fourth place with one from Malcolm Hewitt. Alan Bamford has been a member who has been in contention in every race these last few seasons and makes his presence felt in this one timing two pigeons to take fifth and sixth in the race with two from David Jones from North Wales. The final place went to one of our Vice Presidents George Mainwaring from Northwich who takes the sixth place with one from a Past President of the Circle Roger Sutton.
Keith Iddon 1st and 2nd in the Exchange Race and 3rd in the Friendship Race - Alan Bamford 5th LSC Exchange Race and 3rd in the LSC YB Race - David Jones breeder of Alan Bamfords winning pigeons
Moving on to the LSC race itself we find Bob Smith at the top of the result sheet, a place he is no stranger to, having figured in all three races timing six of his seven entries. Not content with first place Bob timed a second pigeon a few seconds later that was bred by Circle member Alan Jones and this then went on to win him the Best Two Bird Average. It has been noted over the many years I have been involved in doing the results and write ups Bob Smith is always there or there about in every race, and even more noticeable in the young bird events. One of our top flyers once said to me someone at Burtonwood can race pigeons, as no matter where the exchange pigeons come from they seem to always be able not only to have them at the end of the racing season but also to put up winning performances with them. Before turning them into top producing pigeons that are capable of winning right up the National level. With this in mine a made a visit to the lofts of R & B Smith at Burtonwood to ask this question, how is it you are able to retain exchange pigeons and win with them following a full racing season. Bob was adamant it was down to the health of the pigeons and in his case, this starts with the loft, the young bird loft is open to the elements with the whole of the front being an aviary.
Bob and Brian Smith Winners of the YB race
Bob Smith's YB Loft - The Louvers at the rear of the YB Loft of Bob Smith
The rear of the loft, running the full length around 2-foot-tall are louvers that on the outside of them have a board fixed at 45-degree angle to keep out any weather, and this intern keeps the air flowing throughout the loft. As if this was not enough the loft is fitted with as extractor fan that comes on every for 15 minutes or so every hour, this comes into its own more so when the youngsters are on the darkness system. To put the birds on the darkness a roller shutter door can be easily dropped down just inside the aviary that helps darken the loft, but this door is not solid and has a tiny mesh type layer fitted to it that still allows the air to flow. All perches in the loft and the floor have a scattering of sand and lime mixed together. Bob is adamant garden lime is a must and an item he has been using since he started in the sport going back 60 years. Once you have a healthy loft the next step is to fill it with healthy pigeons and all the youngsters in the young bird loft go into it within a couple of weeks, once the required number is reached no more pigeons will ever be allowed in to add to the team. A good example of this was Bob exchanged 6 youngsters with Roger Sutton but as Roger breed his team a little later than Bob when they arrived the young bird loft was full, so these six have been kept in a separate loft and not raced. All the team are treated the same with the OB race team going to the distance races and racing records for both old and young birds kept for every race every bird competes in, any not up to the standard are quickly moved out. This goes for the stock pigeons as well and a stock pigeon has never been sold from the lofts at Burtonwood, for if they are good stock pigeons they are needed at Burtonwood and if they are not they are out. To race youngsters and win with them Bob feels you must feed them and to this end in the racing season they are fed 3 or 4 time every day. Fit pigeons soon digest their food and his team are always sent to a race with food in them, giving them their last feed on a Friday makes sure they all have a drink well before basketing. Youngsters need to be hydrated not only in the loft but in the transporter, and to help them with this a basket is fitted to the front of the loft with a drinker on and the youngsters have to drink through this or not drink at all. Bob related to a race he once attended and when a fanciers pigeons were put into the basket they started to eat the shavings they were that hungry. Bob has only praise for the convoyer Kenny Atherton who is part of the Dianne Bonney group, as Kenny will never let pigeons go unless there is some sun in the sky. The family of pigeons kept are bases on winners and no great store is places on type or colour, its performance in the races that count, and Bob has very strong views of studs who sell pigeons that have no performances with pigeons going back to families of 40 years ago. When I spoke of young bird sickness Bob said he has never had it and put this down to much of the above, in particular making sure when you put the youngsters on the darkness making sure there is still plenty of air going through the loft. Along with the use of lime on the floor that in itself helps keep bacteria at bay, with no dust in the loft as it is completely open. So there you have it the answer to young bird problems in a nutshell from one of the country top national flyers, and you can't have any better than that. When it come to the trophies won by Bob this season in the Circle it only goes to reiterate how well he has flown winning the following. The Battersby Trophy for winning the YB race, The Brian Woodhouse Trophy 1st nom bird timed in the YB race, The Irish Trophy for the Best Two bird Ave in the YB race, The Lowest Winning Velocity Trophy, The Combined Ave Trophy, The OB Ave Trophy, The Reliance Trophy, Joe Haworth Trophy, The Scottish Trophy and the Webster Bros Trophy along with two Parsonage Awards.
George Mainwaring 6th in the LSC YB Race
Peter Latham from Middlewich comes in a close second just one yard behind Bob flying 18 miles shorter, times a cheq hen flying to the perch. This hen has been one of a great team of pigeons for Peter who have put up some good results with his local club these last few weeks. Alan Bamford following his success in the exchange race timed a useful pigeon to take third place. Gerry Clements was the first of the members still in the running for the Brian Dickinson Trophy to time his nom pigeon to take fourth and this performance confirmed he was the winner of the said trophy a great achievement as only two other members managed to time nom birds in from every race these being Circle President Chris Knowles and Peter Latham. Ray Bullen was next on the sheet and picks up the fifth diploma quickly followed by George Mainwaring who was tripping over pigeons they were coming in so fast takes the final spot in sixth. The race was a complete success with almost half the pigeons making the result sheets from the three event we staged for this mid week race.
The Lancashire Social Circle has a lot to look forward to with a Ladies Weekend arranged for the last weekend in September at the Kensington Hotel at Llandudno that will be followed by our Autumn Gathering the first weekend in November.
Tel. 01254 772515.