Mark Gilbert (Windsor, UK) takes the top three in the first national race from Falaise

Starting the 2016 national racing season with a bang, Mark Gilbert took the top three section and open positions from Falaise with the British International Championship Club. Mark left the opposition in no doubt as to the power of his pigeons and what a talented fancier he is.

Mark Gilbert (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

The 2016 season started on 9th April for Mark, with the commencement of club and federation racing. Mark flies in the federation serving the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire English counties commonly known amongst UK fanciers as the BB&O. This is a very competitive federation as weekly birdage is on a par with some of the national races. Mark won the first three races of the season and featured prominently in the result of the fourth, as follows:

09/04/16 Yeovil      93 miles   124 / 2,400 b.   1
16/04/16 Honiton    115 miles   140 / 2,816 b.  1,2,10,12,13,14,15,16
23/04/16 Exeter     137 miles   130 / 2,583 b.  1,2,4,5,6,7,8,10,13,14,19,20,21,22,23,24,
30/04/16 Carentan   150 miles   108 / 1,494 b.  9,25,26,28,29,30

Mark's Lofts (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

Therefore, when the first national race of the year came around Mark and his pigeons were in an excellent position to score well from across the channel having been beautifully prepared. This certainly proved to be the case with Mark timing three pigeons in quick succession to take the top three places. First on the clock was GB13J11314 Southfields Sabastian, the winner of the section from Alençon last season. The sire of Southfields Sabastian is a half-brother to birds that won second, third, fifth, seventh and twelfth open from Tarbes with the National Flying Club. He is also a grandson of a Perpignan national winner. The dam is from a Koopman hen that contains Kleine Gerard and Elsie bloodlines. Take a look at its pedigree below.

Second on the clock was a blue hen, GB14J06230 Southfields Sheba, bred from a son of Etienne Meirlaen's Golden Vleugel. The dam of Southfields Sheba was the winner of third international from Pau in 2013, plus thirty-ninth open Perpignan and seventy-second open Tarbes for Mark. This dam contains Smaragd 2 and Deweerdt bloodlines. Check Southfields Sheba's pedigree below.

Finally, third to be timed was Southfields Saxon GB13J11115, a chequer cock bred from a Gaby Vandenabeele sire of Blacky, Kolonel and Bonte Florke bloodlines. This sire was mated to one of Mark's top racing hens, Southfields Karen, the winner of third international hens from Agen and fourth open international overall against over 22,000 pigeons. Southfields Karen contains Drum, Gerrie and Southfield Supreme lines. Carefully examine Southfields Saxon's descent here.

So there we have it, an excellent and well deserved start to national racing for Mark Gilbert and his talented family of pigeons. The rest of the season lies ahead and no doubt Mark will be aiming to build on his achievements thus far, especially in the international races where his pigeons have excelled for many years.

Mark Gilbert's three winners from Falaise (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

Congratulations, Mark, and the very best for 2016.