The North Road Championship Club Blue Riband race winner for 2021 is Dave Brackenbury of Boston, Lincolnshire

Dave Brackenbury
120 members sent 646 pigeons to Lerwick to compete in the North Road Championship Blue Riband race for 2021. In a difficult year for pigeon racing in the UK, the one hundred and fifth winner of this prestigious race is Dave Brackenbury of Boston Lincolnshire.

The North Road Championship Club was one of the few clubs in the United Kingdom that was able to hold its Blue Riband race as usual in 2021. Given that channel racing was ruled out by Brexit complications, being a north road club came into its own and their race from Lerwick went ahead without problem. The birds were liberated at 09.15CEST. and the very first verification that came in was from committee member Dave Brackenbury of Boston for his two year old cock bird that was timed at 17.38hrs UK summer time on the Saturday. Dave's brave pigeon lead the field right up until hours of darkness on the first day, so he could sleep easy that night knowing he couldn't be caught out by some of the longer flyers. 

The NRCC transporter at Lerwick

Dave has been second open in the Lerwick race twice in the past. He has also won the clubs young bird race from Berwick against 2,500 pigeons and was first open from Fraserburgh against over five thousand birds. However, this is the highlight of his pigeon career, as he considers that getting his name on the Kings Cup from Lerwick is the peak of his achievement with regards to the pigeons. 

The Lerwick Blue Riband winner

His winner is a two year old cock bird flown on the natural system and it was paired up on 12th March. None of the race birds are allowed to rear a youngster, but the pairs were pot egged and were allowed to run their eggs. They were basketed for the first race from Driffield (73 miles) and then on to Whitby (108 miles) and Seaham Harbour (141 miles) after which the birds were separated. Dave had every intention of flying them on the round-about system from then on, but as he lives on his own he found the system too labour intensive. So after the last federation race from Whitley Bay (156 miles) he left the birds together and proceeded to race them on the natural system. 

The wing of Priory JDA

Priory JDA, as the winner is known, was then basketed for Perth (276 miles) with the NRCC and finished a respectable 20th open. After his trip to Perth he was given complete rest for two weeks flying around the loft. During this time, in preparation for Lerwick, Dave says spent a lot of time among the birds, observing them around the loft etc. In the mornings he would let them out at 7am for exercise and call them in for a light feed and then take them training every day in the car. On their return the traps would be left open and they’d be left to their own devices, leaving them on an open hole until they were given their feed around 4pm and then the loft would be shut up.

The head of Priory JDA

Priory JDA was basketed for Lerwick sitting 14 day eggs and although Dave prefers them sitting a little less, it most definitely worked for him and his new star, who he says will be going to Thurso in 2022. Dave also clocked a second pigeon at four minutes past six from his entry of seven birds followed by another two before the day was done. 

The sire of the winning pigeon was bred by Andy Smith from Northampton. Dave attended Andy’s sale at Blackpool and purchased two hens. At the close of the sale there were four birds that hadn’t sold and Dave asked the auctioneer what he’d take for a large framed cock bird. The auctioneer replied £20 and Dave, always liking a bargain, handed over the payment. This cock was paired to a daughter of his friend Terry Winterton's hen, Lady Margaret, the winner of 26th, 17th and 2nd Open Lerwick when she was coupled to Terrys Champion Pure Pleasure a winner of 16 x 1st prizes. Terry himself is also provisionally 7th open.

Congratulations Dave on your achievement. 

North Road Championship Club