Mark Gilbert (Windsor, UK): Performing at St. Vincent International

Only two days before the St. Vincent International I had the privilege of making a visit to the famous lofts of Mark Gilbert, with my good friend Mick Bunney, Life vice president of the BICC. One could describe it, as the complete pigeon day.

Another national victory for Mark Gilbert

What a wonderful experience to be able to preview birds that were about to be raced, and, those who have already achieved in the International events. Speaking with Mark gave me an insight into this interesting man, and I came away feeling I had learnt more about the approach to International racing in the UK.

I have reported before, that Mark is a phenomenon. This year though he is literally Captain Kirk of the pigeon sport and “boldly goes where none have gone before!” Therefore it is no surprise that I can report once again on another UK National victory for Mark Gilbert, and this time, from St Vincent.

The 9,548 birds were released on 13-07-18 at 07:00, and Marks first arrival came at 08-45-26 on day two. Mark clocked his first arrival to take 1st National, 1st Section (provincial) UK with a G/daughter of Southfield Darkie, a double National winner, from grandparents who have scored 1st Nat Pau - 2nd Int Nat Tarbes - 1st Int Nat Agen. The winning pigeon is GB14J06118, Southfield Dark Star. Previously she scored from the Pau International 2018, and his second bird was the UK winner at Pau International 2018. Click here for the pedigree of Southfield Dark Star.

Southfield Dark Star, 1st National St. Vincent

This was only the beginning of another fantastic performance as Mark’s birds proceeded to make it a 1-2-3-4-5-8-9-11 Centre Section UK and 1-2-4-8-10-16-17-21 British International Championship Club St Vincent 2018. What a team performance!  

Forgive me, but I must include Marks long time friends and mentor GG & CJ Cooper who were 3rd National 1st & 2nd West Section (Prov) in this race, continuing to be the Wizard of the west.

During our visit it was clear that Mark eats, sleeps, and breathes, pigeon racing. His lofts abound with talented pigeons that are his pride and joy. His advantage must surely be that he has, “quality in numbers” and he has the resources to gain the best, but it has to be understood that he is dedicated to achieving top results and to reach his goals his birds have to work extremely hard to make the grade.

It is uncanny how familiar he is with a big team, by UK standards. Each character though is known to him, but they all have to work, work, and work! Therefore, one can conclude, these are supreme athletes of the sky, treated as if they are competing in the Olympic Games. International racing into the UK for most fanciers is a daunting task, having to cross at least one hundred plus miles of the English Channel at the end of their journey. Regardless though, Marks birds have proved their unprecedented talent at International racing.