It is fair to say that across all organisations racing has been choppy. However for the avid distance flier June and July is the business end of racing and many will have nursed their main charges through early events hoping for a supreme effort in the main Nationals. Additionally one or two unexpected candidates will have pushed themselves into the frame and with extremely warm conditions forecast in late June and July there will be surprises. Wishing you all good fortune in the remaining old bird Nationals.
With our members flying between 490 and 523 miles to Ancenis which really does test the calibre of our stock.
Marking took place on Wednesday the 13th when 44 birds were entered by 13 members which may seem low but this simply reflects the very tough national programme we have already experienced. Several lads remarked how birds continued to drift in from Messac with some carrying the odd injury indeed I have at least 4 latecomer’s all of which I suspect have sustained damage from overhead power cables. However their recovery rate is swift and hopefully they will carry no long term ill effects.
It was welcome news on the Saturday that the birds had been liberated at 6.10am in very favourable conditions at the front end of the race. Followers of Solar Activity/Magnometer data would have been aware of the weather frontal changes being predicted. Well this was certainly the case for the longer flying lofts in the top end of Section K and North East where we experienced thunder storms and prolonged heavy showers in the crucial final 60/70 miles. However it was no surprise when word came through that Jeff & Matthew Walton at Coxhoe had timed at 16.55 pm to win the Sportsman FC and their second Section N win in two weeks with a 2yo hen flying 509 miles & sitting 14 days eggs, Having only her second competitive race. She flew NFC Coutances four weeks ago. Her sire is from Peter Virtue of Cockburnspath & grandson of Virtue’s Pride 2010 SNRPC National winner & her dam is a Jos Thone’ hen via Brian Long flying 509 miles.
Close behind taking 2nd and 3rd positions in the Sportsman and Section N was yours truly, Bob Mckie at Chopwell with 2 celibate cocks at 17.26 & 17.45 pm flying 523 miles. (Longest flying loft in overall Open result) The first bird Timba a 4 year old Chequer Cock from the best of Brian Denney x Peter Virtue lines. Racing only in national events Timba has scored in 4 out of 5 races. I had actually set him up for Tarbes but 10 days before Ancenis he seemed very fresh with “Hot Feet” and booked himself a ticket. My second bird, Virtue a Jan Aarden is a grandson of Virtue’s Pride another brilliant racer/breeder for Peter, the dam being bred by Patrick Bros. Virtue along with Timba will be prepared for Sigogne if they hold their form. My 3rd bird on the day is a son of the Driver x with another excellent Virtue stock hen & was 6th Club.
In 4th club were Malcolm, Heslington & Jones of Wingate with a celibate hen that was previously 2nd Sportsman Coutances. These lads are having a cracking season winning the NE Greater Distance Club Le Mans race a couple of weeks ago with “the Quiet Woman” the hen that was 1st Sportsman out of Coutances this year.
Taking 5th place we have Barrie Blackett from Butterknowle who timed at 18.23 pm. Barrie also had two early morning arrivals on the Sunday. Brian Caley from Framwellgate Moor takes 6th club timing at 20.29 pm
In the final analysis we had 7 birds home on the day from the 44 entered which after 3 nights in the crates was a great outcome. Several other members also recorded arrivals on the second day. Also in Section N Ray & George Anderson at Washington entered a strong team of 14 birds and take 4th Section N with another four good birds home on the day. Top flying all round.
Jeff & Matthew Walton win the £100 sponsorship prize from Paul Stobbs of Stonehaven Lofts fame in addition to taking the Vanrobaey Feeds prizes of corn (their new line of Lady Mix No 56) and a range of various products. These will be well received as Jeff is a firm advocate of Vanrobaeys Premium Power range of feeds. Many thanks again to both these generous sponsors.
Peter lives in the delightful village of Cockburnspath which is situated on the east coast a few miles in front of Dunbar. He is another loyal supporter of the Sportsman donating young birds to our Annual Sale and I can say without fear of contradiction that with 15 National wins he is in the elite brigade of Scottish distance fanciers. Indeed there are many successful lofts across the UK using his bloodlines which can be traced back to the 1960’s. And it is fascinating to talk Doo’s with him, being a fountain of knowledge and straight talking. He believes in keeping loft management simple and retaining a keen eye on the team during exercise sessions. His bloodlines run through most of my own loft and the Sire of Jeff Walton’s 1st Section winner was bred at the Virtue establishment with the dam being a top quality Jos Thone hen. Furthermore this loft keeps on turning out winners, despite several breeding pairs of Peregrines living within a 10 miles radius of the lofts. Strikes are regular causing havoc with many top class birds having succumbed to their talons in recent years.
Up North Combine (UNC) Bourges 2018 / West Durham Amalgamation (WDA) Tours 2018
Over the weekend beginning Friday June 22nd these two North East Classic races from France took place. Both were difficult because of the extreme heat with reports of strong head winds over the continent and on the channel. Unfortunately returns on the day of liberation were thin and the 1st bird timed wins the UNC with 1360 birds entered. This brave little gladiator was in the clock at 19.59pm to the delight of its owner Eric Wilson at Hartlepool. Simply brilliant performance.
Sportsman club members Jim Nicholson and Ian Stafford & Mark Wilson both timed cracking birds early next morning taking strong top 10 positions in the Combine. Many congratulations to both lofts.
In the WDA from Tours it was a similar picture with only one gallant bird home on the day. This was timed at 9.22 pm at the loft of Dennis Mckenna at Esh Winning, Durham. Maurice Jenkins from Cockfield and another one of our members timed on the second day winning the Federation and a top 10 position in the WDA. Well done Maurice.
Annual Pay-out Night
Just a quick reminder to all members and friends of the club that our Prize presentation will take place on Wednesday the 16th October (Doors open 7pm)