Brian & Mavis Clayburn (Ackworth, UK) win the French Young Bird Derby 2013

This is the husband and wife partnership of Brian & Mavis Clayburn of Ackworth near Pontefract in West Yorkshire England. They are previous winners of 1st open Sun City one loft race in 2009 and have now pulled off the double with winning the French 2013 Derby.

The convoy was liberated at 07.30 am (French time) on 17 August at Gueret, a distance of 294 miles to the loft in Hernicourt. The Clayburn pigeon was clocked at 13:18:35 to win the race by 13 minutes winning 1st French Derby (1st federation 565 birds; 7th combine 6225 young birds; 12th 10,511 overall young birds and old birds). The nest mate to the winner won 29th French Derby race and the partnership created a record by having all six birds entered in the final race and all six are home from the race. This is a great testament to the management skills of John McGee and his team at the French Derby lift and this should give confidence to other fanciers to enter the French Derby race.

Sire of the winner is known as Clyde. He is a grandson of Euro Diamond raced by Dr. Hans Peter Brockamp, one of the best long distance racers having won:

2007: 1st Olympic pigeon Ostend 2007
2006: 1st national Carcassonne 2.719 birds
2006: 2nd international Carcassonne 10.323 birds
2006: 3rd national Perpignan 1.452 birds
2006: 5th international Perpignan 17.900 birds
2005: 5th international Bergerac 3.180 birds
2005: 5th national Perpignan 2.019 birds
2005: 12th international Perpignan 17.654 birds
      9th national Marseille 3.575 birds
      21st international Marseille 13.390 birds
      23rd national Perpignan 2.210 birds
      58th national Marseille 4.928 birds

The dam of Clyde is a daughter of Marseille King, 1st international Marseille 13,930 birds.

Brian purchased Clyde from Jutla Brothers who were attending the Doncaster show and had two cocks and a hen for sale. Brian picked the 2012 bred blue cock. The dam of the French Derby winner is Bonnie, a late bred pigeon from 2011. She was bred by Darren Peters who had purchased her. Sire Max is the only double national winner in the Midland National Flying Club history with a 1st national Torres 361 miles and a 1st national Bergerac 534 miles. The dam of Bonnie is Phate, a winner of 1st Midland national Bordeaux 537 miles in 2011. She also won 23rd Midland national Bordeaux in 2010.

The owner of Phate was giving up the sport and Darren purchased her and asked Chris Sutton, the well-known photographer, to deal with the sale. An advert was placed in the fancy press, Brian phoned the number and was quietly surprised to speak to Chris who was coming to Brian’s to photograph some of his birds the following week and agreed to bring the six babies with him for Brain to have a look at. You can imagine what babies at 6/7 weeks old look like. However, he did like the look of a 'bonnie' young hen. Hence the name and she was placed in Brian’s aviary for the winter. She was allowed to grow and develop during 2012 and was not bred from until this year. The French Young Bird Derby winner and its nest mate are the first babies she has bred. Brian was not sure if these birds were going to be fast enough for the Derby as they are bred from distance winning stock. Nevertheless, they have proved that in good health and condition they can win at any distance.

Brian Clayburn was born in 1941 and has kept pigeons since the age of 7 years old. Over the years, he has seen the sport develop and can remember when within a 10 mile radius of his house there would be 60,000 pigeons racing on a Saturday from 10 different federations. At the present time, there are now four federations in this radius. Brian has not raced in a club for the past 12 years. He prefers to compete in the National Flying Club and classic races to test his pigeons against the cream of other lofts from all over the world. I asked Brian which of the two one loft race wins had given him the most satisfaction and he said the race that gave him the most pleasure to win was the Catteralls Nantes race of 1980, when 28,000 pigeons (the biggest convoy from that distance) were liberated at 06.30 am into a northwest wind. Brian timed in at 06.29 pm (one minute under 12 hours) flying 442 miles and won the race by 15 yards per minute with a blue Delbar cock. He was so excited that he could not sleep for a week until it was confirmed that he had won the race.

Many congratulations to Brian & Mavis on winning the French Derby and for having their six entries home and I wish them all the best for the future.