Les started the season with a race team of fifty-four pigeons, half hens and half cocks. He had made the decision to retire all eight of the 2015 combine winning pigeons to the stock loft. All eight had either won the combine or been beaten only by loft mates. This meant there were eight less winning pigeons in the race team, which consisted mainly of yearlings and two year olds. Les' first race of the season was Worcester on the 20th April, a distance of almost eighty-five miles to his loft. Prior to this he had only trained the team four times to seven miles each toss. Nevertheless, fifty three pigeons were sent and they were liberated into warm, sunny weather and an east-north-easterly wind. After one hour and thirty seven minutes Les had nine drop together taking...
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Club
- 17, 18, 19, 18 Federation
The following week Les worked hard at improving the fitness of his team of pigeons with heavy exercise around the loft. The following weekend he sent the whole team back to Worcester, this time entering them into two different federations. This time eleven pigeons dropped together but they came from the back of the loft rather than the front. This could be due to a peregrine that had set up nest some six hundred yards in front of Les' loft and which detered the pigeons from flying directly over the top of the nest. This time, however Les' results were improved and he took...
- 2, 3, 4, 5 Club
- 6, 9, 10,11 Federation
- 4, 5, 13, 20 Federation
- 4, 5, 25, 34 Amalgamation
The next race was from Tewkesbury, a distance of one hundred miles and once again Les had a batch of pigeons drop together following by another batch just a minute later. First to time was a Dirk Van Den Bulck hen that has already bred Les three winners. The final results being...
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Club 144p.
- 1, 2, 4, 6 Atherton Fed 712p.
- 3, 4, 5, 6 Altrincham Fed 968p.
- 3, 4, 5, 6 Combine Section 1,136p.
- 3, 4, 5, 6 Combine Open 4,209p.
The winner was UK Kittel. Take a look at the pedigree of UK Kittel here...
Hullavington was the liberation site for Les' fourth race of 2019, a distance of one hundred and thirty-three miles, and once again he sent the whole team, half and half in each federation. This time the first batch dropped in from the east-north-east direction rather than on line but after twenty minutes Les had all but one of the team home and had won...
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Club 200p.
- 1, 2, 3, 5 Atherton Fed 818p.
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Altrincham Fed 898p.
- 1, 2, 4, 5 Amalgamation 1,107p.
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Combine Section 1,072p.
- 1, 2, 4, 5 Combine Open 4,509p.
The winner was Harriet. Take a look at the pedigree of Harriet here...
The dam of both Harriett and UK Kittel is Belg16/6245057 Inbred Kittel, bred by Dirk Van Den Buick
There are strict rules in the combine that a fancier is only allowed to have four birds on the final result, but had all Les' pigeons been allowed he would have taken seven out of the first eight positions. The winner on this occasion was a two year old hen that had topped the federation twice before and also finished third combine against 4,581p. The dam is the same as the yearling cock that was third combine the week before (and would have been eighth combine this time if it had been allowed on the result), whilst the sire is another direct Dirk Van Den Bulck.
The following week the combine was racing from Frome, a distance of 156 miles for Les' pigeons. Tis time he sent fifty as one had been lost and three others were recovering from injury, one of which had been hit by the nesting peregrine. This time there was a lot of north in the wind and the weather was not so great with heavy dark clouds and very little in the way of sunshine. Many fanciers struggled to get piegons home but Les' team made pretty light work of the race as his first six home were six minutes clear of anything else other than their own loft mates. The results were incredible...
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Club 203p.
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Atherton Fed
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Altincham Fed
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Amalgamation
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Combine Section
- 1, 2, 3, 4 Combine Open 4,160p.
Had all pigeons been allowed on the result, Les would taken the first fourteen on the result and have had twenty-two pigeons in the first twenty-three against 4,160p. The winner was the yearling cock that had scored so well in previous weeks and second was its half-sister that had topped the combine a week previously. Les feels that this performance goes down as one of his best ever, especially when considering how many good fanciers had long gaps between the arrival of their first and subsequent pigeons. It is certainly a result which he will remember for a long time.
Les' believes that his current team of pigeons are a very special lot of birds, particularly the Van Den Bulcks and the Stefaan Lambrechts. He is also crediting Beyers with providing excellent feed to keep the birds in condition. Les' next big test is the charity open race from Frome...so watch this space. Our congratulations on such an excellent start to the season Les!