Jason Ross - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
In first section B and first open we have the Portsmouth loft of Jason Ross. Jason timed a yearling on 1164ypm. This pigeon must have been battling the wind for much of the race, especially across the channel. Jason led the race from the start, as he has done four times previously only to be knocked off the top spot by a pigeon flying further. This time however, he held on to first prize and as a result the pigeon has now been named Lucky Five. Jason re-paired his roundabout team a couple of weeks prior to this race and he sent them to Saintes sitting eggs. The winning pigeon is a Gaby Vandenabeele and a full brother to the loft's second open Cholet winner, being a grandson of Feddy. Jason timed a second pigeon to take third section B and twenty eighth open and this one was the second Cholet winning cock.
The Saintes winner - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
Richard Goodier and Sons
Richard Goodier and Sons of Marsh Green were first section D and second open with a three year old on 1133ypm. The partners clocked a Jos Thoné hen racing back to a seventeen day egg. It already had a number of first prizes from across the channel and just missed out on the big one from Saintes. The loft races roundabout at the start of the season before re-pairing the team for the later races.
Mr & Mrs Anthony
Second section D and third open went to Mr and Mrs Anthony of Camborne in Cornwall with a yearling on 1129ypm. Unbelievably this was only the second race for this cock, its first being from Lamballe two weeks previously. It is a Marriott x Arie Visser pigeon which will no doubt be one to look out for in future seasons.
Andrew and Julie
A Lloyd of Wrexham was first section L and fourth open with a two year old on 1124ypm. Andrew clocked a Huybrecht hen named Julie which was gifted to him by M & J Thomas of Wrexham. Brothers and sisters to this hen have taken numerous prizes. In preparation Julie had the first and last inland races, followed by two channel races and then into Saintes sitting fourteen day old eggs at the time of basketing.
First section C and fifth open was clocked at the Crewkerne loft of Mike Staddon and was a five year old on 1104ypm. This is the thirty fourth section win for Mike, both in partnership with his brother and since going it alone a few years ago. Mike calls his method of flying naturalhood. The section winner is named Crystal Blue and like all the team, this winner was fed on the cheapest Versele Laga corn. It is a Marcel Aelbrecht x Chris Gordon cock, with the sire coming from Frank Tasker and the dam gifted to Mike by Roland Thresher. This pigeon was third section from Tarbes three weeks previously.
First section J and sixth open went to David Taylor of Kidderminster with a two year old on 1097ypm. Dave clocked a dark chequer Vandenabeele x Wille Thas cock which was bred by C & L Lofts from Cleobury Mortimer.
R & R Wilton from Street in Somerset were first section G and seventh open, timing a two year old on 1095ypm. Rob is a tireless worker for the sport and also a very accomplished fancier having previously won first section G and second open NFC Saintes with his champion cock named Bob after his late father. This winner has been named The Saint and this season it has been to Carentan, Cholet and Messac with the NFC and then into Alençon with the British International Championship Club two weeks prior to Saintes. The Saint contains Van Loon bloodlines originally obtained from Spracklen and Thomas and a little of Brian Long's Red Barcelona in the mix.
Ian Crammond (l) & Nigel Langstaff (r)
Crammond & Langstaff from Fontwell in Sussex topped section A and were eighth open with a two year old on 1092ypm. The partners clocked a blue chequer Vandenabeele cock which trapped back immediately although bizarrely it was covered in seaweed. The sire of this winner was bought from Mark Gilbert, being a grandson of James Bond and the dam is a daughter of M & D Evans' famous Golden Gaby. Ninth open and second section L was clocked by K Morris and Son of Congleton with a four year old on 1088ypm.
Preece Brother and Sons
Completing the top ten and in second section G we have Preece Brothers and Sons from Abertillery with a two year old on 1086ypm. This partnership consists of brothers Colin and Henry and Colin's two sons John and Leigh and over the years they have won the Welsh national thirteen times plus two Queen's Cups. Their timer from Saintes was a blue roundabout cock called Gwasted Thin Bars and this was its fourth channel race of the season.
Around the sections
Second section A was timed by M P Morter from Midhurst (65th open). Mick flies birds based on his father's strain that successfully competed on the north route in previous years, including through to Thurso at 550 miles, the same distance that Mick now flies from Tarbes. He races on the natural system and likes to concentrate on the long distance national races. Mick timed a three year old cock that was racing back to a week old squeaker. Second section B went to Wearn Brothers and Neilson from Ramsdean (17th open).
Second section C went to NFC committee member Mick Wiffen of Dorchester (14th open). Mick clocked a five year old cock with a lot of distance racing experience. It is bred down from the top breeding hen of Scott Storie from Poole and it was third section from Tarbes last year. This season it has had five channel races before going to Saintes.
Section E was won by Steven Buckle from Northwood (37th open). Flying into a less than favourable position, Steve clocked a two year old mealy cock which is of Soontjen x Janssen bloodlines. Steve's Soontjen stock were bought from Alan and Janina Jenkins and they have been excellent breeders for him, throwing quite a few mealys, despite this not being a colour associated with this strain.
Roger Lowe of Reading took second and third section E (45th and 46th open). Roger had two yearling widowhood cocks arrive within fourteen seconds, the first being a grandson of Mark Gilbert's Darky. His second pigeon was a Daniel Aerens.
Section F was won by Cosmin Talas from Oxford (34th open). Cosmin has been developing a reputation in the Oxford area for his success at national racing and his timer this time is a two year old, widowhood cock named Dinan. This cock was his first bird home from NFC Cholet this year, earning him eighth section after ten hours on the wing.
Second section F went to the partnership of Peter and son James of Reading (38th open).
Mark Donovan of Thaxted topped section H (81st open). originally racing into London, Matt relocated to Spain before returning to Essex to build up a team to compete in the nationals. When he came back to the UK, he sourced Brian Denny lines and also birds with George Bateman's blood as he knew they would mature into a team that would be able to compete when the going got tough. With this section winner from Saintes he has proved he was right in his choices.
Second section H was timed by Collishaw and Johnson of Sleaford (197th open). The partners clocked a five year old hen known as The Seagull due to her colouring and which has had three channel races this year prior to Saintes. The grand-dam on both sides of this pigeon goes back to the old Wescott based lines.
First section I was T Durrows from Birmingham (26th open). Trevor clocked a three year old widowhood cock that has always been a consistent performer having already won eight x first club prizes and twice being first federation.
Second section I was clocked by Rob Rome of Cheltenham (56th open). Rob timed a three year old cock which in 2010 broke both legs during young bird training. As a yearling it had a second club and then another injury meant it was out of action for the rest of the season. A similar pattern in 2012 meant more recuperation but it then came back to win a first prize in the club. Rob's patience in this cock has now paid off with a second section win from Saintes. Perhaps he should call him Sicknote?
Section K was won by Hall and Hibbert of Dinnington (75th open). The partners clocked a consistent five year old cock known as the Corn Nom. This pigeon is a Luc Coppencolle x Roger Maevart which had four inland races prior to Saintes.
Second section K went to T Hadley of Rotherham (101st open). Terence clocked a yearling Eric Cannon x Peter Hagland hen that was paired to an older hen and was sent to her second channel race sitting eggs.
The 2013 Saintes race was a hard race that saw fanciers across the country pulling out top performances from their birds once again. Apart from the hens national in September that concludes the old bird race programme for the National Flying Club this season.