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A report of the National Flying Club race from Tarbes on 7th July 2014.

The pigeons entered into the National Flying Club race from Tarbes were heldover from the expected Friday liberation until 1.30pm BST on the Monday when they were liberated into clear skies with a light west wind. The following is a report on the provisional result according to members' verifications.

Trevor Hazell of Sandown (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

First open and first section B went to T J Hazell of Sandown on the Isle of Wight. Trevor timed a three year old hen on 1141ypm over 515 miles. With the holdover, Trevor couldn't be home to clock his pigeons so he had to entrust their arrival to his daughter, Georgie and her partner, Sean. A quick lesson on how to operate the ETS and how to verify an arrival and Trevor was off to work on the Tuesday morning, no doubt with niggling doubts in the back of his mind. Georgie and more importantly the hen, didn't let him down however, although he had no idea he had won the race until it was all over bar the shouting. What a way to win a Tarbes National, none of the nail biting and anxious waiting for a further flying bird to overtake yours! Especially as Trevor is on the Isle of Wight, one of the most southerly racing points in the UK. Trevor's Tarbes winner, now named Alivia Rose after his granddaughter, was bred from Jackie's Girl which won the section from Tarbes in 2010 and was bred by his good friend, Vince Sheedy of Middlesex. 

Andy Parsons

Andy Parsons of Salisbury timed second open and second section B with a four year old hen on 1125ypm over 550 miles. Raced on the roundabout system, this hen is a cross of Cannon Burgess blood with Mark Gilbert's Deweerdts. Always a good fancier from the distance, Andy believes in letting the basket do the talking and for the Tarbes race he sent thirty five, his whole race team except one old hen, his yearlings and anything that was earmarked for racing the following week. From this thirty five, he had fourteen on the clock. He believes in testing his pigeons at the distance and then breeding a family around those that return in good time, good pigeons paired to good pigeons should breed better pigeons and in his case that is certainly true, as Andy has built up a formidable distance family over the years.

Kevin King

K King of Havant was third open and first section A with a three year old hen on 1089ypm over 529 miles. Kevin purchased six latebreds from Graham Matthews of Fareham in 2011 and his timer was one of the hens, which he describes as unpredictable, temperamental and difficult to get right for racing but when you do, she gives her all and this was obviously the case from Tarbes. Raced on the north as a young bird, she was then turned south as a yearling where she proved better at classic and national racing than club races. Sent to Tarbes sitting chipping eggs, this was obviously the motivation she needed.

Merv Gray of the Wyatt & Gray partnership

Wyatt and Gray of Bristol clocked first section G and fourth open with a three year old cock on 1088ypm over 582 miles. Flown on the widowhood system this dark chequer pigeon has been a consistent racer this season having had four inland races and five from over the channel in preparation for Tarbes. Last year he was the partners' second bird timed in from Bordeaux. The sire is a Jan Aarden bred by Louella Pigeon World and the dam was purchased from the late Keith Nethercott.

Eric Neilson of the Wearn Brothers and Neilson partnership

Wearn Brothers and Neilson of Ramsdean timed the next two birds from Tarbes to take third and fourth section B and fifth and sixth open on 1067.5 and 1067.4ypm respectively after 538 miles. Jimmy Wearn oversees the care of the partners' pigeons which fly to what must be one of the best loft set-ups in the country as they timed three more in quick succession and then had a steady stream of pigeons back over the course of the race. From over five hundred miles and with the channel to contend with after a three day holdover, that is no mean feat.

Chambers Family

The Chambers family from Cannock were seventh open and first section J with a two year old cock on 1060ypm over 660 miles. Now named Dutch Thunder, this cock was raced on the widowhood system crossed with a roundabout system after having been raced natural earlier in the season. His name comes from the fact that he was clocked in during thunder and lightning at the home end. Dutch Thunder's bloodlines include the family's Midlands National Flying Club diploma winner, The Bergerac Hen, when paired to The Don, which won fifth section and eighteenth open Bergerac in 2005.

A E Shepherd from Emsworth was second section A and eighth open with a two year old cock on 1055ypm after 529 miles. Bert obtained direct Ko Nipus stock through Ken and Marjorie Kippax in the late seventies and supplemented them with other Ko Nipus birds from Tony Cowan of Southampton. He later added Jan Aardens from his good friend Bob Short. These lines have been interbred to produce a family that excel on the widowhood system and at the distance.

Joe Raeburn

Ninth open and second section G went to Joe Raeburn from Melksham with a five year old on 1054ypm over 572 miles. Joe timed Alex, a cock bred from the very best of the Vandenabeele families from Mel and Sue King of Blandford Forum and Formula One Lofts of Essex. A consistent racer for a few years now, Alex has previously won first section and first open Lamballe with the British Barcelona Club as a young bird. Last year he was timed from Tarbes with the NFC to take tenth section G and sixty-eighth open. Flown on the widowhood system, his preparation for Tarbes this year was two inland races and then twice to Carentan before being rested and flown around the loft daily.

Fagg & Nicholas

Completing the top ten in the open result we have the partnership of Fagg and Nicholas from Sitttingbourne with a five year old on 1041ypm over 560 miles and which was also first section E. This blue cock contains Frans Laerman bloodlines, Frans being a good friend of the partnership. Flown on the widowhood system, it had a couple of inland races followed by a channel race and then plenty of flying around the loft, supplemented by regular training tosses from twenty five miles on its own, before being sent to Tarbes. Previous performances for this cock include seventy-ninth open from Agen with the BICC in 2012 and twenty-fourth section and seventy-eighth open with the NFC from Tarbes in 2013.

Around the sections

Third section A was timed by Mr W Cable of Petworth and was a two year old on 1031ypm over 541 miles.

Mr & Mrs Hodges

Mr and Mrs Hodges of Templecombe clocked first section C and eighty-sixth open with a two year old on 918ypm over 550 miles. The husband and wife partnership timed a dark chequer cock bred from a pair of pigeons from Preece brothers of Abertillery. Spracklen and Thomas of Dorchester were second section C with a four year old on 905ypm over 530 miles. Neville clocked Redder, the same pigeon he clocked from Tarbes last year and which is a son of Lisa Lou, who in turn is a daughter of Roger Lowe's My Little Diamond. The sire of this pigeon is Silver Fox, a son of Mark Gilbert's Southfield Pau. Mel and Sue King from Blandford Forum were third section C with a two year old on 868ypm over 535 miles.

Section D was won by C & F Bacon of Exmouth with a five year old, chequer cock on 893 ypm over 539 miles and which was the partners' only entry. Second section went to Mr/s J McClements from Portsmouth on 828ypm over 530 miles. This partnership also clocked a second bird to take third section D on 795ypm.

R & N Steptoe

Second section E was timed by R & N Steptoe of Oxted and was a two year old, latebred hen, on 1036ypm over 553 miles on the first channel race of her life. Not raced as a young bird, this hen had six inland races last season and was then put on the widowhood system for the early part of 2014 and then paired up in time for Tarbes. Mark Gilbert of Dorking was third section E with a three year old on 1033ypm over 553 miles.

Eamon Kelly & Jamie-Ray

Section F was won by the partnership of Lloyd and Kelly from Abingdon with a yearling cock on 861ypm over 583 miles. This cock was bred for Eamon by his good friend Roger Lowe. Second section F was timed by P Badnell of Oxford with a three year old on 831ypm over 587 miles. Third section F went to Mr and Mrs Newman of Aylesbury with a three year old on 768ypm over 591 miles.

In third place in section G is T F Emery from Radstock with a four year old on 1019ypm over 569 miles.

Andy Smith

A Smith of Wellingborough was first section H with a three year old hen on 998ypm over 630 miles. This hen was bred from a cross of the loft's established Van Bremen bloodlines when crossed with the Busschaerts of Alf Jones of Northampton. Second section H was Mr and Mrs I Raper from Stetchworth with a three year old on 914ypm over 619 miles. This pigeon was bred from Chris Gordon and Brian Denney bloodlines and was flown on the natural system. T & J Stygall from Norwich were third section with a five year old on 936ypm over 652 miles.

Mr & Mrs Ashfield's pigeon

First section I went to Mr and Mrs J Ashfield and Son from Birmingham with a three year old cock on 1002ypm over 649 miles. The sire to this pigeon was purchased from J & T Barnett of Telford. Second section was timed by Max Hawthorne from Leicester and was a two year old on 919ypm over 650 miles. Third section went to K Bush of Cossall on 911ypm over 676 miles.

Mr and Mrs Lewis of Worcester were second section J with a seven year old on 972ypm over 624 miles. Third section went to Mr and Mrs A Shore from Crewe on 925ypm over 685 miles.

R & J Hardy

Section K was won by R & J Hardy from Huddersfield with a three year old cock on 937ypm over 719 miles and which flew Carentan and Cholet before being entered for Tarbes. The sire of this cock came from Brian Denny of York and the dam was bought at a club auction. Second section K went to Nicholas Adshead from Selby with a yearling on 873ypm over 730 miles. Third section K went to R & N Dennett from Meden Vale on 774ypm over 692 miles.

R Geary & friends

First section L was taken by R Geary and Son from Macclesfield with a four year old cock on 925ypm over 699 miles. Bred from direct Ponderosa bloodlines this cock's pedigree includes Zwart Jeff and Magic Hero. Second section L went to Fletcher and Gobin from Runcorn with a four year old on 923ypm over 706 miles. Third section L went to John Clements from Stockport on 895ypm over 709 miles.

That concludes the report of the National Flying Club race from Tarbes.