By John Clements
Both sprint Racing and Marathon racing involve knowing something fundamental about the pigeon and its natural behaviour. I shall first in this article deal with sprint pigeons. The successful sprint man must be aware of the basic flocking nature of the pigeon. Pigeons are naturally attracted to, and are naturally inclined, to follow each other. This is the reasoning behind fanciers employing droppers to entice race birds to trap. This pigeon knowledge is not usually explained, usually it is taken for granted but those who do put their minds to work on basic pigeon behaviour soon learn to exploit the fact that pigeons fly faster in a flock than they do as a single pigeon which is another aspect of the whole thing. It is for this reason the underlying secret that the top sprint men use is not to get one or two of their birds into the leading flock of the convoy but to get all their birds into one flock comprised only of their birds homing only to their own loft. That is the a real thinking tactic and if successful gives a decided advantage in short distance sprint races. This trick can only be brought to a success through repeated training from the same spot so that the birds become so familiar with each other they recognise their mates in the air and then form their own fast flock. The advantage or relative disadvantage of position can then be eliminated. This process is very clever thinking and requires some deep understanding of basic pigeon behaviour. The organisation required to bring it about is beyond the scope of most fanciers so most fanciers without the necessary organisation are automatically relegated to division two in any club where the ‘one loft flock process’ is in operation. A variation of this technique could be used by unscrupulous managers of ‘one loft’ races but the individual training of a select group bred in the loft would have to be done in secret. It is for this reason I am against one loft races. Obviously there is not enough control over their operation and of course, there is usually so much money at stake for it not to be a tempting strategy. Unfortunately sprint racing and its corporate counterpart, one loft races, tend to be more materialistic than spiritual therefore they miss the the side of our lives that is at the very heart of our sport and the thing that makes it tick. For this reason it is highly possible for the outcome of one loft races to be managed or influenced for the material benefit of unscrupulous managers. If you think I am being alarmist or think I don’t know what.
I am talking about by all means carry on but if you do happen to have a few sceptical genes and are prepared to lift a few carpets, you might conclude I may have done the sport a service just by mentioning it. I Just heard the South African ‘Million Dollar Race’ was won by a bird owned by the manager of the event. It seems some fanciers are queuing up for the possibility of being screwed. Of course the South African race could all be entirely genuine and above board but on the face of it is not good publicity for the future of all ‘One Loft Races’.