NFC Coutances Old Hens/Young Bird Nationals flown 7th September
After a very mixed racing season which is fast becoming the norm in our Sport, we arrived at the final National race from Coutances with the Old Hens event flown in conjuncture with the Young Birds. In the last few seasons Sportsman members have put up some excellent performances in both categories and whilst we were expecting a decent turnout of old hens the young bird entries were thought to be problematical. This was because of heavy losses experienced across the North East both in training and early races. Plenty of, so called experts have vocalised their opinions for these losses which is not simply a UK phenomenon but Europe wide. I will refrain from adding fuel to the fire except to say “start looking outside the box at your approach to young bird racing” otherwise get used to more of the same probably worse. Climate Change will only bring further erratic weather conditions and the Peregrine issue is not going away.
As usual the Section N birds were race marked on the Wednesday night at Toft Hill with everyone happy to play their part and get the job done quickly and smoothly. Next morning myself and Tom Cuthbertson left North East at 5.30am and drove the 120 miles down to Sheffield where the crates were transferred to the NFC Transporter.
8 members who would be flying between 350 and 410 miles entered 35 birds in the race. Despite the lateness of the race the birds were all in good feather and expectations were high for a decent show.
As anticipated the turnout was low with 3 lofts mustering 30 youngsters between them. They were all in excellent fettle as you would expect for this very challenging race.
When Saturday morning came we expected an early liberation albeit the north westerly winds forecast would make it a testing challenge. As the day progressed and the early times appeared on the NFC website our members were encouraged by some of the brave performances being achieved by Yorkshire lofts. However, it was not until early evening when word filtered through that Brian Wiemer & Son at Hartlepool had timed their 6year old Grizzle hen at 19.31 pm recording a velocity of 914 ypm to take 1st Sportsman and Section N for their second Section win of the season. This bird eventually ended up 94th Open a very brave effort given the race conditions and having spent an extra night in the basket compared to their competitors.
Mr & Mrs Allan Walker at Stockton timed a brave yearling in the dark at 8.12 pm to grab 2nd Sportsman & Section. This young hen should have a bright future in front of her building on this effort.
Next morning there was a trickle of birds arriving with McSween & Sexton at Sunderland taking 3rd club and Brian Wiemer, timing 3 more birds to take 4th, 5th and 7th club rounding off a really good performance from his team of 8 entries. Bob Mckie grabbed the 6th spot.
It was not until 11.26 am on the second morning that Dave McSween & Jim Sexton timed the first of 2 young birds doing 651.75 ypm with their second bird timed at 6.30pm. Raced on the Dark their youngsters win 1st & 2nd Sportsman & Section N. and were the only birds recorded in race time which simply highlights how tough an event this was. Their family of birds are bred down from Wearside Lass & Lionheart, two UNC Bourges greats. They are no strangers to success when tackling this distance with youngbirds. This years winner is from the section winner of the same race three years ago & their second bird is from last years section winner.
Brian Wiemer and Mcsween and Sexton win the sponsorship prizes of Vanrobaey feed and a range of their excellent products. On behalf of our members I wish to say a big thank you to Vanrobaeys for their continued support of the Sportsman which is much appreciated.
Sportsman Presentation Evening
This will take place at the club’s HQ on Wednesday the 23rd October. Doors open at 7 for an 8 pm kick off. Our main guest this year is Peter Virtue from Cockburnspath. There will be free buffet prepared by our host Belle whom always does us proud. So, if you are interested in distance racing why not come along and enjoy a great night with likeminded enthusiasts-all are welcome. If you need more information just give us a call.