NFC Messac National flown Saturday 1st June
It was a depleted group of members who attended Toft Hill marking station on Wednesday 29th May. In total 12 had entered 81 birds with many still licking their wounds from Fougeres. As we all know there is nothing certain in pigeon racing and flying nationals into the North East is no different. You must ensure that your charges are well prepared and hope that the prevailing winds are favourable. We certainly need some luck on our side for Section N birds to figure in the top end of the result. The weather forecast to hand on Wednesday gave our members much room for optimism and another chance to dream.
Flying between 450 and 500 miles from Messac meant it would still be a tough gig for our birds after a minimum of 3 nights in the basket. Experience has shown however that with the quality of NFC transporters, returning birds are invariably in good condition and fast to recover even after several nights in the crates.
When word came through that the birds were up on the Saturday morning at 7.15am expectations and excitement remained high. As the day progressed times coming in from other organisations indicated that birds liberated in the UK at various race points were doing fast times albeit returns were gappy. Around midday in the North East there was much heavy dark cloud and a few spots of rain but it remained warm with decent visibility. The prevailing wind was for the most part a fresh South Westerly so it was not unrealistic to anticipate that the leading birds would touch the 1500 ypm. When the early times in the South/South West started to trickle through it simply re-enforced the chance of fast birds elsewhere in the country although they may be few and far between. And this is exactly the case and what a race it ended up being for our club member Brian Wiemer and Grandson in Hartlepool flying 475 miles. They timed in 3 excellent birds doing 1507,1417 & 1347 ypm simply top flying and what a way to break their duck in the Sportsman. Their first bird a 3year old cock wins 1st Club & Section N and 107TH Open with 4043 birds entered. They also take 3rd and 4th Sportsman & Section with their 3rd bird winning our club show race and picking up £240 for good measure. Brian flies a free and easy style and his “Van Wiemers” have certainly responded well.
Splitting Brian’s birds and grabbing 2nd Sportsman & Section N was the loft of Brian Hopper & Son at sunny Greenside flying 492 miles. Having moved loft location last season these lads are flying broken birds so another cracking performance.
Taking 5th & 10th Club & Section was season’s top prize winners Dave Mcsween & Jim Sexton at Sunderland, flying 487 miles doing 1289 ypm. These lads are past winners of the UNC and always hard to beat and have a tremendous team of distance pigeons which they have cultivated over several years. Tom Williams, down in Kent flies their bloodlines and he is really doing some damage with a small team of widowhood cocks. He has scored well in every BICC race this season and is the provisional winner of Section ES and 20th Open Cholet from 2859 birds on Sunday the 9th June. The winner is steeped in winning Up North Combine bloodlines from Dave & Jim.
In 6th place with another of his super team of yearlings comes Barrie Blackett at Butterknowle, Co Durham, doing 1252 ypm from 470 miles. Barrie will openly tell you that he has developed his own “chaos” system and the birds are fed on local farm beans, peas, wheat and barley. His timer was a sweat little Mealy hen from a blend of his Scottish bloodlines and was well fancied. She will take the second prize of £110 and £21 pools in the club show race. Barrie had another couple of birds on the clock when opened.
Several other lofts also timed including Jeff Walton & Son, Bob Mckie, Mr & Mrs Walker, John & Stephen Best (picking up £60 pools from the show race) and Tom Cuthbertson and his partner.
Brian Wiemer also picked up wins the Vanrobaey Feeds sponsorship prizes of Corn and a range of their top Pigeon Supplements.
Next up it’s the Cholet National and this will be another real test with members flying between 500 and 550 miles. When we marked on Wednesday the 12th June 11 members entered a total of 36 birds. Best of luck to everyone in the NFC competing.
Sportsman Prize Presentation
Would all members and supporters of the club please note their diaries that the Payout will take place at our HQ on Wednesday the 23rd October 2019.
Chief guest and making the long journey down from across the Scottish Borders will be Peter Virtue who needs no introduction to our members.
NFC Inquiry Meeting held 5th June
Jim Sexton and I made the long journey down to Alverley for the Inquiry Meeting (13 hour day for us).
Chris Sutton has already issued a briefing note on the meeting. And I would just like to say that there was much constructive and challenging debate. The Chairman Paul Naum kept the meeting focused and gave every official the opportunity to contribute before the new process and those involved were agreed. Both Jim and I were impressed with the genuine concerns from all officials that the NFC must do better to improve race management procedures as well as maintaining the standards of our bird’s welfare. In this respect we were also confident that having listened to Dom McKoy our Convoyer our birds were in safe hands.
However there is no room for complacency and we should not forget the untold damage BOP can cause along with the unprecedented impact of Climate Change on weather conditions.
Bob Mckie/Jeff Walton