Andrew Kirkman (Frieston, UK) wins the North Road Championship Club race from Thurso 2019

One hundred and forty-six members sent one thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven pigeons to Thurso with the North Road Championship Club. After a one day holdover, it was always going to be a tough race and the winner was Andrew Kirkman from Frieston.

Andrew Kirkman

Andrew Kirkman hails from Frieston, which is near Boston in Lincolnshire and he still flies as Andrew and Keith Kirkman, in memory of his late father. In a twist of fate Andrew won the North Road Championship Club race from Thurso twenty-one years after his father timed the only bird on the day with the same club from Saxa Vord. Keith's winner then was Unique Lady, flown by the Kirkman and Mooney partnership and recording a velocity of 1122ypm over her 543 mile journey. Andrew's winner from Thurso was a small yearling hen of Janssen x Lambrecht breeding and bought from another Boston fancier, Tim Appleby.

She was raced as a celibate hen earlier in the season but was sent to Thurso sitting on four eggs after the celibates had been allowed to pair together. Working long hours, Andy was considering his future in the sport and started his season with just fifteen yearling hens which had had four races as youngsters before they were deep in the moult. They were prepared for the season with a few training tosses but were confined to the loft during the week because of problems with cats, only being allowed their freedom and a bath on a Sunday. After six races the fifteen had been reduced to eight and as the Thurso race approached their diet was augmented with plenty of peanuts, as a result of which they had some weight on them by the time they were basketed. This could have been no bad thing given the testing nature of the race. Whilst sitting they were tossed from Brigg and prior to the Thurso race they were given a few more local training tosses.

The winner came just before six-thirty in the evening and Andy was tremendously excited when she appeared over his shoulder and trapped back to the loft. He had another arrival later that evening and a further one the next morning. One he had verified the winner it was a long, anxious wait to see whether anyone else would overtake him. In the end he needn't have worried and his win was confirmed. There is no doubt that his late father would have been very proud of him.