The North Road Championship Club’s third race of the season was another tough one, from Arbroath on June 7th, and was won by Mr and Mrs Dave Evans, of Alford, whose well merited success has been highlighted in a previous article.
This report puts the spotlight on the outstanding performances of the section winners although, unfortunately, it has been delayed by the football World Cup, the Tour de France, Wimbledon, Test cricket and the Commonwealth Games, to name just a few distractions and excuses, in addition to heat and aged-induced lethargy, and a forlorn attempt to cajole my own pigeons to compete with a little respectability alongside the stars of the NRCC.
As usual, this is an article written with not a little envy . . .
SECTION ONE – MICK WILSON, BRINSLEY
Behind the success of Mick Wilson winning Section One NRCC Arbroath is a story of extreme generosity which reflects great credit on the sport – and he is keen to put the spotlight on a man, previously a stranger to him, who helped him towards success in this very competitive section.
Darren Barton is that man, no stranger to NRCC members but, sadly no longer competing with the club in which he was frequently a section winner himself and, as part of the Barton and Elston partnership, won the young bird national in 2005 with Top Dollar.
It was thanks to a stray youngster that the two fanciers came into contact in 2007 when Mick had re-started in the sport after a long absence.
The young bird which went into his loft belonged to Darren who was all set to collect it when he had car trouble and was unable to make the trip from his Hykeham (Lincoln) home.
He asked Mick if he wanted to keep it and added “Give me some rings and I will breed you half a dozen youngsters.”
Mick visited Darren who gave him ten pigeons and “loads of eggs”, and loaned him a red pied cock bird which, unbeknown to Mick at the time, turned out to be Pancake, a star of the Barton loft. It wasn’t until Mick returned the pigeon that another visitor told him what it was.
“It was the best pigeon in his loft,” said Mick. “Pretty well every pigeon that bird has bred has won. I can still hardly believe the man’s generosity. Even when I insisted on paying for youngsters I asked for on another occasion, he charged only a few pounds.”
On his re-start in the sport, Mick said he tried to obtain top north road pigeons, and another NRCC ace, Dennis Taylor, was a big help in breeding him youngsters, along with other good local fanciers.
He did fly from the south, with reasonable success, but never really enjoyed it, when the Selston club turned south, but now he flies north with the highly competitive Eastwood club where he is the shortest flyer and had not won a race all this season until this Arbroath success.
Mick feels that his best chance of success is often with the NRCC and so it proved when the four-year-old red pied cock appeared, bang on line, at 12-23, and had his usual fantastic trap. He was flying on widowhood, and this was his first major success.
Not a bad day on which to shine, especially as he was also second open. In a strong, less-than-favourable, west wind.
It was a welcome boost, too, for 54-year-old cabinet maker, Mick, as he had not won a prize up to that stage of the season. “I am the shortest flyer in our club and the birds tend to go over,” he said. “My best chance appears to be in the NRCC.
This year he has raced with 11 widowhood cock birds and six natural hens.
After the two hard races from Berwick and Perth, he had not intended to send to Arbroath and, in fact, put the birds on barley for three days before getting the urge to send and entering six birds. He missed the section winner’s arrival because he was doing the family shopping.
His best previous NRCC performance was 4th section, 44th open from Perth, but he enjoys north road racing with this famous old club.
His birds enjoy an early start to the day as they are let out for exercise at 5-30am to fit in with Mick’s working schedule.
He sent six to Arbroath and got them all home, putting another one in the clock.
Early positions in Section One from Arbroath: 1 M Wilson, Brinsley 1140, 2 G Bell Calverton 1130, 3 W Bearder and Son, Nottingham 1115, 4 Walton Bros, Ollerton 1114, 5 F and T Salt Bros and Son, Kimberley 1110, 6 G Bell, Calverton 1095, 7 M Wilson and Dtr, Calverton 1091, 8 W Poll and Son, New Ollerton 1088, 9 K Lawson, Ollerton 1079, 10 J Parker, Eastwood 1075.5972, 11 Riggott and Richardson, Newark 1075.0823, 12 M Wilson and Dtr 1067, 13 Nuttall and Son, Nottingham 1065, 14 H Taylor and Sons, Eastwood 1063, 15 L Lawson 1055, 16 Riggott and Richardson 1054.6019, 17 W Bearder and Sons 1054.4016, 18 M Wilson 1044, 19 Mr and Mrs J Kirkpatrick, Nottingham 1040, 20 MA Rickett, Weston 1036.
SECTION TWO – Mr and Mrs DAVE EVANS, ALFORD
Winners of Section Two and open were the husband and wife partnership of Dave and Pat Evans, of Alford, Lincolnshire, on a velocity of 1146 yards per minute, thanks to a four-year-old blue roundabout hen bred by their Belgium friend Guy Eveart.
It was no fluke for this pigeon to be at the front as she has had plenty of success in the past, including topping the Peterborough and District Federation twice.
“She is a good pigeon,” said Dave. “She is never out of the first four or five pigeons to the loft.”
Dave, a retired 69-year-old engineer, and Pat share their hobby. “I could not do it without her,” said Dave. And they have made many friends from their social involvement in the sport.
Their introduction to the Guy Geveart pigeons came on the trips to Belgium organised by the man who helped, and inspired them so much, the late Frank Tasker.
They have since become friends with Guy and now have six pigeons from him every year, invariably with a successful outcome.
Dave first had pigeons as a boy and, after a break while he was an apprentice, he re-started in 1983 and he and Pat are enjoying them more than ever now that they are retired.
Dave finds that the roundabout system works well for them, and utilises the hens to full advantage. They don’t train after the first race, and he says the hens, in particular, exercise well, flying at least an hour each morning and evening.
Section Two first 20: 1 Mr and Mrs D Evans, Alford 1146, 2 D Perry, Alford 1124, 3 R Mamwell, Louth 1111, 4 T Bennett, Boston 1109, 5 Wright and Newbold, Louth 1105, 6 LR Manning, Boston 1104, 7 Mr and Mrs Kingswood and Hannah, Alford 1103, 8 Mr and Mrs P Newbold, Friskney 1094, 9 Turner and Watson, Louth 1088, 10 Mr and Mrs Evans 1086.759, 11 Wright and Newbold 1086.6785, 12 R Mamwell 1079, 13 Mr and Mrs B Garnham, Boston 1071.8428, 14 R Mamwell 1079, 15 A and J Pinner, Wainfleet 1066, 16 Mr and Mrs D Evans 1065, 17 R Mamwell 1055, 18 Mr and Mrs K Wagstaff, Louth 1048, 19 A and J Pinner 1041, 20 Upsall and Frost, Boston.
SECTION THREE – Mr and Mrs B GUILFORD, LONG EATON
Last year we asked: Has it been done before? Is it a record?
We were talking about Brian and Christine Guilford’s success in two successive Fraserburgh races. In 2012 they were winners of Section Three and second open, and last year, again, they were winners of Section Three and second open!! But the amazing thing is that the pigeons were full brothers bred in the same year – one in the first nest, and the other in the second nest.
This year the Guilfords were first and second section again – and it could have been a Fraserburgh hat-trick but, instead, it was from Arbroath because the committee decided to have a change of racepoint after some difficult experiences from Fraserburgh. This time round they took 22nd and 25th open.
Section winner from Arbroath was a three-year-old chequer cock, Wildermeersch x Janssen, which had never won before but which had picked up plenty of second and third cards.
Two minutes adrift, and second section, was a Janssen which is brother to the two birds which were second open in the previous two years from Fraserburgh.
What would you give for a family of that quality in your loft? “There are loads of them in the shed,” said Brian.
The birds were flown on widowhood, and Brian says that they have not raced hens for the past 20 years.
The parents are still in the loft, being a Janssen hen obtained in a swap from David Oakes of Eastwood, and one of their own Janssen cock birds.
The Guilfords have been a name to look out for in NRCC racing in recent years and, for a long time, have been outstanding competitors at club, federation and amalgamation level.
They were denied an open win from the testing Fraserburgh race last year, by three yards a minute, by Ernie Gregory, of Eastwood.
There is a long history to Brian’s link with pigeon racing because both his father and grandfather were fanciers.
Always looking to maintain high standards, Brian quips “There is an inquest if we are not in the first four. There has been some good competition in this area. Once the NRCC season starts the birds go every fortnight. I think you need a cleverer pigeon for NRCC racing where there are some good fanciers and the birds are spread over a wide area. We have been members of the NRCC for a long time, but it is only during the past five years that we have sent regularly, and now we enjoy this competition.
“We only fly widowhood cocks because that is the easiest for us. They always come back to the hens, even for every training toss. We feed a mixture of widowhood mixes. We also feed some seeds.”
Brian has held various offices over the years, particularly as a clocksetter in the old days, but he has now welcomed ETS which he feels is a Godsend.
Loyal supporters of the NRCC, who have never flown from the south, the Guilfords compete in all the races except from Lerwick, and have been consistently prominent in the results.
On the same day that they took 1-2 section from Arbroath, they were also 1-3-7 with the Coalville Federation.
Brian says, however, that they have lost some good pigeon in NRCC races this year which has been far from easy.
Section Three first 20: 1 and 2 Mr and Mrs Guilford, Long Eaton 1088 and 1083, 3 J Bellerby, Spalding 1081, 4 D Parker and Son, Grantham 1064, 5 K Hurworth and Son, Cotgrave 1060, 6 Mr and Mrs L Gilbert, Grantham 1029, 7 A Smith, Spalding 1008, 8 D Bird and Dtr, Chesterton 1001, 9 DG Cardall, Bourne 1000, 10 PJ Palmer, Stamford 996, 11 and 12 F Bristow, Sleaford 990 and 989, 13 J Bellerby 988, 14 A Bennett, Peterborough 985, 15 R Carlton and Sons, Bourne 984.7424, 16 D Parker and Son 984.6616, 17 AF Parkinson, Spalding 983, 18 Mr and Mrs Guilford 981, 19 Mr and Mrs Gilbert 978, 20 F Bristow 976.
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