Gladwin, Jarvis & Family (all photos courtesy of Chris Sutton)
It was not going to be an easy task as high temperatures were forecast for many days prior to the race and the heatwave was setting records in France. Many fanciers held their breath waiting for news of a liberation when the international from Agen held over due to light rain and poor visibility, but when they were liberated the next morning, the real test of endurance and tenacious spirit began.
Tip Top Tora
At the end of the first day, just six birds had been recorded home in the north-eastern area of France, but a few brave birds that were with them had a little further to go and were compelled to roost for the night. A week previously, when speaking to Mark Gilbert, he explained that if a second day bird in the UK was over the channel before nightfall it would be timed in before 7.30 in the morning. Those that has rested in France would be after 10.30 to his loft which is forty miles from the coast. So, when I saw John and Teresa had timed early along with three other members, it became apparent just how special these birds were in the international race.
Tip Top Tora in the hand
All four pigeons must have been with the leading French pigeons and forged ahead, out to open sea, as the daylight was fading into darkness. Such endurance and fearless pigeons are rare and as if to give a lesson in patience, the winner took one whole week to home from the same race the year before, so she had rewarded her owners for not condemning her abilities too easily.
Wing of Tip Top Tora
The lines of "Tip Top Tora" are pure Frans Zwols, with her sire being "Frisian Boy", a grandchild of "Boy" and "Queen" which has proved to be a very useful breeder, easpeciall hard day birds. A yearling daughter flew the program and won first from Perth, second from Ripon and seventh from Thurso, she also won fourteenth federation and twenty-third amalgamation from Ripon, forty-fifth combine Perth and fifty-first combine from Thurso. In just four weeks she flew from Thurso at 510 miles, flying twenty hours and fifteen minutes in a very hard races when only seventy-nine birds made it home by the end of the second day. She had also flown a very hard Perth, a distance of 372 miles, flying nine hours and forty-two minutes and Ripon, 195 miles flying three hours and twenty-nine minutes.
Tip Top Junior
Her full sister, also a yearling hen, won first section, second open BBC national, third Hullbridge club and third open Thames from Salisbury, having been beaten by a loft mate by one second, thirteenth section, seventeenth open BICC Guernsey OBs and of course now first and thirtieth open BICC Agen national and fifty-sixth open Agen international. Their dam is "Tip Top Goldmine" an inbred daughter of "Top Top Junior" when paired to his own daughter.