The Tarbes winner for B & P Winter - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
B & P Winter from Howden were first section K and first open on 1070ypm. The partnership fly seven hundred and twenty eight miles from Tarbes. Barry had seen Mark Gilbert's timer on the computer earlier on in the day and reckoned he needed a bird before seven fifteen in the evening to be in with a shout of winning the race so he was very pleased to see his timer home back to the loft at 7.02pm BST. Barry's winner is a 2010 cock which started the season on widowhood with his other loft mates but he then came back from an early training toss having been very badly hawked and needing serious stitching up, both inside and outside. Consequently he was left in the loft to recover for a few weeks before being sent to sent to Tarbes where he obviously repaid the kindness he had been shown.
Mark and Karen Gilbert
The Winkfield Wizard, Mark Gilbert, had to make do with first section E, second open this time on 1051ypm. Mark clocked a second bird to be second section and seventh open on 1014ypm. His loft flies nearly 589 miles from Tarbes. Mark's first bird is a blue hen whose sire is a son of Southfield Supreme, which was first international Dax, when paired to a daughter of Brockhamps George which was the sire of Euro Diamond. Mark's second in the clock was a red cock, the sire of which is a son of Brockamps Pau 06 when paired to a daughter of Euro Diamond.
Close behind on the result were Mr and Mrs Moody from Portmouth who were first section B and third open with a velocity of 1041ypm. The partnership flies 529 miles from Tarbes. Their timer was from their old family of Maurice Mattheuws birds and is now named Shirley's Girl. She was sent sitting an eight day old squeaker. The partners race their older birds on the natural system and the yearlings are raced on the roundabout.
The Hailsham loft of R Spiers flying 526 miles from Tarbes, clocked first section A and fourth open on 1032ypm.
T & J Bernard
T & J Bernard of Waterlooville timed second section B and fifth open on 1022ypm. The partnership have 529 miles to cover before clocking from this racepoint. The majority of their birds are Southwell based pigeons that they obtained from Albi Deacon and Jimmy Shepherd. Their winner from Tarbes however, was a Jos Thoné bred bird coming from Brian Long via Albi Deacon.
Brian Denney of York was second section K and sixth open on 1016ypm. Brian's pigeons have to cover over 748 miles to reach their home from Tarbes so this was a fantastic performance from them. Brian clocked a six year old, pied widowhood cock on his third time racing from Tarbes having previously been seventh and second section, fifty second and sixth open. Brian has his own family of birds and his prefered selection method is the basket.
The Bordon loft of Pete Fyfield took second section A and eighth open on 1011ypm after flying nearly 547 miles. Peter clocked a blue chequer cock normally flown on the widowhood system. For Tarbes however, he was paired up again and sent sitting seven day old eggs. Prior to this race he had seven inland races and two from across the channel. Peter's winner was bred from stock obtained from the Eric Cannon bloodlines of his club mate Mick Tuck.
Ricky and Dick Brindle
Ricky & Dick Brindle of Blackburn were first section L and ninth open on 1002ypm. The partnership fly 736 miles from Tarbes and clocked a blue hen that has flown Tarbes twice before and was sent sitting fourteen day old eggs.
Completing the top ten we have Andy Parsons of Salisbury with third section B, tenth open on 1000ypm. Andy's two year old hen flew just over 550 miles to reach home. She was shown her cock and a nestbowl full of straw the night before basketing as motivation for the race. Andy clocked seventeen out of his thirty three entries on the winning day with more arriving the next morning.
Around the sections...
Mel and Sue King of Blandford Forum were first section C with a three year old Vandenabeele hen which was second section from Tarbes in 2012. Bred from M & D Evans bloodlines its sire is a grandson of Golden Boy and Amber Louise x Jester and Carrie, whilst the dam is a full sister to Eros, the partner's 2002 national winner. Runners-up in section C were Kevin and Christine White with a three year old hen raced on the widowhood system.
Mr and Mrs Spear
In section D Mr and Mrs Spear took the top spot with a Jan Aarden cock raced on the natural system and on its third channel race of the year. Second section was clocked by Colin Bacon of the C & F Bacon partnership. Colin sent the same cock to Tarbes in 2012 but fell asleep waiting for the birds so missed out on the section prize when he woke to find the cock on the trap. Thankfully this time he was awake when his pigeon returned!
The section F winner was K Palmer with a red hen bred from a Jan Theelan cock purchased from Brian Williams of West Marsh in Kent. Mr Palmer clocked a second pigeon to take seventh section F as well. Second in the section was Mr and Mrs Kendal with a four year old widowhood cock named St Nicholas.
Luff and Walker
The Luff and Walker partnership from Dursley in Gloucestershire were first in section G with a cock named Hardy as it is always at its best in the tougher races. Of Busschaert x DeWeerdt bloodlines, Hardy's dam is one of the partner's best breeders and was bred by Ivan Hofton of Gloucester. The sire of Hardy is a son of Stan Dangerfield's Jude's Boy. Second section was won by the Padfield family of Cwmtillery.
Crick and Son's single bird
First section H was won by C Crick and Son whose name is Adam, from Stotfold on a velocity of 972.7ypm over a distance of 597 miles. The partnership only sent the one bird to Tarbes as they were confident they had picked the right one and so it proved. Their pigeon was a two year old which was purchased as part of a batch of six from Louella Pigeon World. Second section H went to N & J Callaghan.
The section I winner was Alwyn Hill, this being his third year at the top of the section from Tarbes. Alwyn sources birds that are closely related to Primus Inter Paras birds as these have the tried and tested Barclona genes in Europe. His pigeon was a German rung bird that was originally intended for stock but first had to prove it had earned its place in the loft. Second section was taken by Keith Bush with a two year old, chequer hen racing to a small squeaker.
Mr and Mrs Lewis from Kempsey won first section J and twenty first open with a six year old clocked on 624ypm. Bill and Beryl fly 624 miles from Tarbes and actually took the top three in the section. Their first bird home was named Freelands Gem and was second section in 2010, fourth in 2011 and then first section last year. Freelands Gem was sent to Cholet prior to Tarbes and was then rested in preparation.
That concludes the report of the Tarbes race for the National Flying Club in the UK. Please remember that after the distances these birds have covered they still have to negotiate the English Channel before they can make for their home lofts. Congratulations to all who timed in in this most prestigious race.