Mark Gilbert (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)
The international birds from Pau were held over from the Friday to the Sunday due to inclement weather across Europe. When they were finally liberated at 07.20CEST on the Sunday morning the three hundred and ninety-one UK pigeons had the worst racing conditions of all. The channel was fogged out and on the Sunday evening heavy rain set in. Nobody expected there to be anything home on the first day in such weather and indeed there wasn't. Some pigeons weren't far from home though and must have braved the channel in near darkness as Mark Gilbert of Windsor clocked the UK winner of the race at 4.59.22BST (5.59.22CEST) on the Monday morning, despite the fact that it was still raining heavily and would continue to do so for much of that day.
The lofts of Mark Gilbert (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)
GB13J11060 was first home to Mark's loft in Windsor. A three-year-old blue cock, this pigeon was bred from a son of Southfield Supreme when Supreme was mated to a daughter of Euro Diamond. The dam is a direct daughter of Brockamp's Perpignan 06 that won first national, second international Marseille. This dam is, in fact, a full sister to first international Marseille and has now bred two winners in international races for Mark.
It would be another five hours before Mark saw another pigeon arrive, this time GB13J11456, a three-year-old cock. Incredibly this pigeon would be second centre section and third open in the result. The sire of this pigeon is a double grandson of Carteus' George, whilst the dam is a direct daughter of Southfield Supreme.
Next to make it back was GB13J11112, another forty-nine minutes after its loft mate, it was third centre section and sixth open. This was a three-year-old hen whose sire is a direct son of Golden Verguel, whilst the dam is a daughter of Euro Diamond.
Mark clocked another six pigeons to take thirteenth, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-third, twenty-sixth and thirty-third open in the result.
Congratulations once again, Mark.