Martin, Clare and Jack Norman of Mannor Lofts (Southampton, UK) win 1st BICC/BBC Barcelona 2013

The international pigeon race from Barcelona each July arouses hope and expectation amongst the long distance enthusiasts and their pigeons who, each year, strive for national and international success.

The event from the Catalan capital poses many obstacles for the pigeons navigating their way home and so it is only the very best that arrive at their lofts in good time. Clare and Martin Norman entered just one special pigeon into the 2013 race; that being their well fancied grizzle cock Olympic Ric. Ric was worthy of his owner’s confidence for he obliged by taking 1st British section and a remarkable 57th placing in the international result.

Martin and Jack Norman with Olympic Ric
(photo: Chris Sutton)

A family team

The partnership consists of Martin, Clare and son Jack. They come from a pigeon family as other family members also partake in our great sport. The Normans have been racing at their present address since 1998 and since this time they have had just one goal: to achieve consistent success in national and classic channel racing.

Aiming at the long distance

Like many of their long distance-minded counterparts, Martin and Clare have tried to blend their own family of long distance birds. They have sourced stock from long distance ace Andy Parsons, some Delbars from Graham Matthews and a selection of birds have been introduced from two of the UK’s premier national and classic racers, namely Brian Sheppard and John and David Staddon.

The old bird racing team fly only a handful of club races each season as the over-riding aim is to keep them as fresh as possible for the middle and long distance races. The old bird racing loft measures 7 metres and can accommodate a team of 32 pairs however the Normans usually start each season with 40 birds. They race their birds on the roundabout method with one important alteration for it is the hens that stay with their nest box during the week and the cocks being housed in a section containing v perches. The 60 young birds are housed in a separate 6 metre loft and are raced on the sliding door method. These methods have helped the partners achieve the following results in British national racing:

1st section 4th open CSCFC Tarbes 2008 536 miles on the day
32nd section 191st open NFC Tarbes 2008 536 miles on the day
21st open CSCFC Tarbes 2012 536 miles on the day when only 
36 birds were timed on the day of liberation
1st section 1st open CSCFC Bergerac 2009 429 miles beating 
the whole convoy of 2,500 birds by 20 ypm
16th open CSCFC Bergerac 2009 429 miles
39th, 56th, 77th, 86th, 99th open CSCFC Bergerac 429 miles
19th, 48th, 61st, 64th, 55th, 61st, 86th, 127th, 133rd open BBC Bordeaux 418 miles
20th and 87th Open BICC Agen 477 miles

Racing loft of Mannor Lofts

The 2013 season

The team of pigeons at Mannor lofts had been in impressive form all season. Before their Barcelona victory, Martin and Clare’s birds had won 25th and 39th open NFC Carentan 8,319 birds, 27th open BICC Alencon, 86th open NFC Cholet 6,462 birds, 59th open BICC Tours and 51st open BBC Messac. The performance of 1st open Barcelona BICC/BBC 57th Open International 25,382 birds was merely the icing on the cake!

Olympic Ric 1st British section Barcelona 2013

The pedigree of Olympic Ric has many top class pigeons running through it and just goes to show that especially in long distance marathon racing, quality breeds quality. On the morning of the second day, the Mannor Lofts team were watching the international race unfold on PIPA and saw that a pigeon had been timed near to the French coast opposite London at 10.25 (GMT) and calculated that in 2-3 hours the birds would begin making their way into the UK. However one hour later, at exactly 11.25 (GMT) Olympic Ric was clocked to win the Barcelona national. Olympic Ric had already recorded some excellent results for Martin and Clare and got into a very good habit from long distance races of being clocked on three occasions early the following morning; this made him a perfect candidate for Barcelona. His previous results include 6th section 73rd open BICC Carentan 2012, 481st open NFC Cholet 2012, 27th section 223rd open NFC Tarbes 2012 winning just over £1,000, 6th section 16th open BICC Perpignan 2012, 20th section 91st open NFC Cholet 2011 8,745 birds and 57th open BICC Agen 2011 648 birds. Their win from Barcelona confirms what Martin and Clare have always said: quality breed quality.

Olympic Ric 1st open BICC/BBC 57 international Barcelona 2013