There is lots of life – and imagination – in the famous old club yet!
That was blatantly obvious when the North Road Championship Club defied convention and held their first Day of Champions instead of the traditional, and some would say outdated, prize presentation dinner.
Moreover, it was an event that made a handsome profit rather than the loss encountered at dinners in recent years.
The Day of Champions was staged at the ideal venue, Springfields Exhibition Centre in Spalding, and was just the kind of initiative which would have excited those far-sighted pioneers who launched the NRCC back in 1901.
They would have faced their own problems 114 years ago, not least transport and communications, and, no doubt, many sceptics would have claimed that their aim of trying to race pigeons from the Shetland Islands was a step too far, impossible to achieve.
In these early years of the 21st century, the NRCC hierarchy face their own challenges, and doubters, as more and more fanciers drift across to the promised land of south road racing.
Many of the departees can be heard voicing the opinion that “north road racing is finished.”
There is no arguing that membership has dwindled but, a fine season’s racing in 2015, and a series of outstanding performances highlighting the fact that not all the ace fanciers have gone over to the other side, plus this successful Day of Champions initiative, proves that the fight-back has been launched.
Committee man Leroy King making the final checks
Further initiatives in the pipeline will, if they come to fruition, ensure that the hardcore of loyal supporters will continue to enjoy the challenge of classic north road racing against top-class opposition. New members, and anyone who wants to revert to racing from the north, will, of course, be welcomed with open arms.
Claire White of Unikon presenting Mr Ivan Rich with the King George V Cup
for 1st Open Lerwick with section winners (L-R) Kevin Lawson, David Rouse, M Connolly,
Ross Olive, E Lee, Michael and Graham Britton
In the meantime, those who enjoyed the friendship and banter at Springfields Exhibition Centre will be looking forward to the next event, booked for December 3rd 2016 when taking centre stage will be the winner of the NRCC’s 100th race from Lerwick.
The 2015 Day of Champions also embraced the morning prize presentation of Peterborough and District Federation, many of their successful fanciers also taking home prizes and trophies from the NRCC presentations hosted by secretary Ray Knight in the afternoon.
A quick survey of the accounts suggest that a profit on the day, after expenses, of £4,400 should be achieved.
A total of £1,605 was received from “gate receipts” and the auction of birds, kindly donate by members and friends, raised £3, 230.
A big contributory factor towards the success of the event was the new “Strategic Partner” packages that were sold to the following companies: Unikon, Belgica UK, the Racing Pigeon, PJ Lofts, Osmonds, Bamfords Top Flight and Aviform.
Other trade stands and studs were also present.
Top photographer, Peter Bennett, one of the NRCC’s long-time sponsors, was also present to capture the occasion.
Thirty-five of the possible 42 section winners from 2015 were on show in the Champions Row along with three previous King’s Cup winners, a fine array of top-class racing pigeons.
The idea of the Day of Champions came from Ray Knight after he had witnessed a similar event in Holland. The success of the first such venture by the NRCC suggests that it could become an established part of the calendar for a long time into the future.
Winners of all the races, and Diplomas of Merit, all received bouquets.
The Day of Champions was not the only success of the weekend.
On the Friday evening, a moot was held at Spalding Football Club, chaired by Ray Knight.
Fanciers of the highest repute, Bob Fenech and Les Green, were on the panel and some 50 people attended. You could have heard a pin drop through the whole evening and it had to be wound up by Ray at 11-40pm or else, according to words issued by Stuart McCurry, double Midlands National Flying Club winner, “we would have still been there.”
That is how good, and informative, the evening was.
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