Jim Emerton talking to Les J Parkinson.
With Distance in mind.
We have plenty of fanciers racing in the sprint and middle-distance races who come forward with informative answers but these questions are with distance in mind. Through experience of writing for the last 43yrs many of the distance minded fanciers are reluctant to talk about their pigeons and systems. For that reason, I decided to ask Jim what his thoughts are on distance racing. Jim classes himself as a Barcelona specialist therefore he was ideal for a few quick questions. Jim has been sending out a 20 questions list for a while so let’s see how he copes with the questions, based on distance racing.
1. Please introduce yourself.
1.A. I am Jim Emerton pigeon fanatic, Barcelona specialist and author of 9 books.
2. What organisations do you race with for distance racing.
2.A. Today we race in the BICC to build up every bird for The Barcelona International at 703 miles with Nick and 821 miles with Richard.
3. When it comes to breeding do you line-breed or use a first cross or just pair distance winners to distance winners.
3.A. My breeding system is to perpetuate my old strain in both locations of Taunton and Sweeney Mountain via close inbreeding back to my foundation stars over 44 years with rare outbreeding experiments.
4. With distance in mind when do you pair your pigeons and why then.
4.A. I like to pair in March to delay the wing moult and form until July for the one race from Barcelona.
5. What is the farthest distance that you would train your old birds or young birds?
5.A. Racing is training for the old birds and fit good birds can be jumped hundreds of miles into distance and marathon races. Ybs are best on long tosses over 50 miles to encourage individual navigation-if you go easy you will retain more though.
6. For every 50 pigeons that you breed realistically how many of them would win at 500mls plus, based on your past records.
6.A. Expect no more than 3 good 500 milers from 50 young and perhaps 1 X 700 miles International bird.
7. In your view do you think that a loft needs different pigeons for distances races.
7.A. In a strain each bird is individual ,a few are versatile from sprint to marathon and most have their distance limits.
8. Do you measure the amount that you give to each pigeon, or are they fed according to the individual pigeon.
8.A. My feeding is a very rich marathon mix to all ages at all times as the birds are growing all the time on the open loft system-semi- wild back to nature for great condition and alertness.
9. Do the pigeons need any special treatment on their return from the race to help them relax? Is any such treatment needed for the long-distance races or the hard races compared to the easy races?
9.A. After racing, feed in with peanuts and a tonic in the water e.g. Aviform 11 in 1. Rest the birds back to normal open loft-out free in the elements.
10. Do you think a pigeon has the capabilities of racing both short and long-distance races? Also, what distance can a pigeon actually still “RACE” as opposed to homing from any race point?
10.A. My Dedication hen scored from sprint to 735 miles Pau NFC, I like birds like that, and a few will do it on the right system.
11. What proportion of your pigeons get better on subsequent trips to the long-distance races and what do you call distance.
11.A. Distance is 500 to 700 miles, whilst marathons are all more than 700 miles, especially at International level.
12. Which is the more difficult, establishing a team of sprinter’s or distance pigeons and why.
12.A. Sprint birds are easy to accumulate as returns tail off at races beyond 500 miles and 800 milers are rare. Marathon is the hardest racing.
13. What races do you send your long-distance candidates to before their chosen distance race.
13.A. Before Barcelona we enter 3 consecutive races with the BICC as a whole team to time at Barcelona only.
14. Can you tell the readers your routine for preparing pigeons for the longer races? Do you look forward to the channel racing?
14.A. The routine is out all day ,fed all they can eat on our marathon mix, pellets and Osmonds Ultimax supplement-they glow with health.
15. Taking into account distance, which is more difficult racing to your area, is it; a case of a 600ml race is a 600ml race regardless of competition or route.
15.A. 600 miles is always a distance test, yet doable for a decent bird on day 1 or 2.
16. Whenever I have visited a loft fancier always look at the pigeon’s eye. Do you consider that the eye has any importance in (a) the breeding, (b) distance races (c) The pigeon’s health? Or do you steer clear of the subject and if so why.
16.A. Look in the eye to see pretty colours, your own reflection and to judge the sex and health of the birds, by YOUR mind and senses.
17. Is there anything that you have not won in the sport that you would like to achieve?
17.A. I need to continue my Barcelona International career with my strain and over 800 miles.
18. If you have any other views on distance racing please add them.
18.A. Pigeons are lovely creatures that inspire men to do great things and to love the sport .
LJP. With Jim being a regular writer I though he may have given more information, but that was not to be.