The RPRA OLR final on Sunday 27th August 2012 - a report on the winners

One thousand two hundred and fifty birds were originally entered in the race and seven hundred and thirty nine made it to the final race which was held from Hexham in the north of England, a distance of just over two hundred miles.

Hulse Brothers, Steve (L) and Glyn (R)

In first place and winning the top prize of £20,000 was a pigeon entered by the Hulse Brothers from Winsford in Cheshire. The brothers can't race pigeons where they live so they purchased a few stock birds in order to breed youngsters to enter one loft races. This is their fourth year entering the Royal Pigeon Racing Association race and they consider it to be one of the best in the UK. The Hulse family has been involved in the pigeon sport for generations, going back to the brother's grandfather, Harold, who was loft manager to Howard Cornes in Manchester in the 50s and 60s. The winning pigeon was bred from a Michael Van Lint, red chequer cock, bought from Louella Pigeon World when paired to a Lefebre Dhaenens hen, the parents of which were bred by Steve Plummer of West Sussex.

The winning pigeon, GB12J24484

The wing of GB12J24484 with the RPRA lofts in the background

Who Shot JR syndicate members, John Wheatcroft (R) and Ralph Jepson (L)

Second place went to a syndicate called Who Shot JR, composed of John Wheatcroft and Ralph Jepson from Nottinghamshire. The partnership picked up a cool £10,000 plus £459 in pool money. The bird was bred by Ralph from a Patrick Brothers cock when paired to Ralph's good silver chequer hen which won four x first prizes as a young bird including the Nottinghamshire federation gold medal from Perth. As a yearling she won from Elgin and took the federation silver medal.

W Gray and Son

Third place and £5,000 was won by a pigeon bred by W Gray and Son from Coldstream in Scotland. Ian and Wullie particularly enjoy one loft racing, participating in many races throughout the UK and beyond, as far as the Sun City Million Dollar race. Their pigeon is bred down from their successful one loft and Scottish National Flying Club winning family which they have been building for the past twenty years or so, with introductions from Paul Bamford and Kees Boshua.

Tony Bevan from Bristol

Tony Bevan from Bristol took fourth place and £4,000 in prize money. Tony enjoys the social side of pigeon racing, especially one loft races and breeding and gifting pigeons to other fanciers. His pigeon was a Jan Aarden, the dam of which was gifted to him by Bob Thompson of Barry, South Wales and the sire was bought at Gary Inkley's sale at Paulton. When his pigeon is sold at auction, Tony intends to donate the proceeds to the Great Western Air Ambulance Station at Wotton under Edge.

A syndicate from Fazakerley Social Homing Society from Liverpool was in fifth place, winning £3,000.

Dan (L) & Pete Clarke (C) with Bryan Bunney (L)

Sixth place and £2,500 prize money went to the Pete and Bryan syndicate, consisting of Pete & Dan Clarke and Bryan Bunney from Taunton in Somerset. This pigeon was a Gaby Vandenabeele from TC lines and was bred by Pete & Dan Clarke. The sire of this pigeon was second open in the final of the Somerset One Loft Race in 2009 and the dam is of National Fideelle lines.

Auguust Savijn from Anglesey, North Wales was in seventh place, picking up £2,000 in prize money.

Brian Holland

The Bri-Tom syndicate took eighth place and £1,500. This syndicate consists of Brian Holland and Tom Berry, both members of Keighley and District HS in Yorkshire. The parents of this young bird are mainly of Staff Van Reet origin and almost every youngster bred from them has scored either at club, federation or open race level. A full sister was entered into the RPRA 2011 one loft race and came fourteenth. They are hoping for an even better result next year!

Another syndicate, that of the PigeonChat forum came in ninth place, picking up £1,250 in prize money and £819 in pools. PigeonChat is a UK based website on the pigeon sport and the syndicate entered fourteen birds. Their first bird home was only eleven seconds behind the winner and was bred by John Hughes of Wortley Lofts in Manchester, being a Wall, Lunt & Green Camphuis Janssen whose sire has bred winners and breeders of winners. The dam is Drapa, again bred by Wall, Lunt & Green of Manchester.

Finally tenth place and £1,000 in prize money went to Paul and Jayne Newbold from Boston in Lincolnshire.

Two Bird Average Award

This is awarded to the fancier with the two best pigeons in the final race and was won by Mike Chadwick who says that the two pigeons winning 22nd and 23rd are a nest brother and sister. He purchased the parents of them from the Dr. Brockamp auction on PIPA and both parents are bred down from Perpignan 06 which makes them half brother and sister. Over the years, Mike has had a lot of success when pairing selected half brother/sister birds. The grand sire to the winning birds is also Perpignan 06 who won 1st national ace bird 2006.

Daughter of Perpignan

Half Brother Golden Barcelona

Ace Pigeon Award

This is for the best performance over the three hotspot races and the final race and was won by a syndicate named Brens Loft. The dam of this bird is a Lambrecht through the lines of Terry Dukes and the sire is a Freddy Van Den Heede through Ken Pountney (the sire of this pigeon topped the federation from Exeter 1,307 birds and won 6 x 1sts.) The partnership is made up of Leslie Dowen and Barry Humphries. Les has been involved with pigeons all his life as his dad, Len Dowen, was a pigeon flyer at the same club that both partners fly in today, Walsall Wood Flying Club. Barry has been flying since 1970 and describes himself as a down to earth, back garden loft flyer.

Les Dowen and Barry Humphries

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association have a yearling race into which all young birds entered into the one loft race are able to compete so long as their owners agree to the terms and conditions. All other young birds will be auctioned off on the RPRA website shortly.