Geoff & Clayton Preece (all photos courtesy of Chris Sutton)
I had been to this loft before in 2014, when they timed “Wiggins” to be the second bird ever to be timed on the day from Perpignan, a record which will always be held by his loft mate “Jack Jones” as the first pigeon to do so, racing to the same loft in 2010. Amazingly these two pigeons feature very prominently in the pedigree of “Nellie”, with “Jack Jones” being her direct sire and her dam being a direct daughter of “Wiggins”.
“Blood will tell” and with a pedigree like that it is understandable that they were confident in timing her, indeed when the French fanciers were timing in the evening around 5:30-6pm it looked very possible, was not for the sea crossing at the end of a 520 mile fly. But she did not let them down, and an hour later she dropped on the landing board at eight minutes past seven, to record a velocity of 1273 ypm. Out of 18094b she was just out of the top 100 in the International result, being 121st, and yet another fantastic performance for a UK loft against the very best in Europe, with the added obstacle of the English Channel.
Narbonne winner - Nellie
Their hen GB 17 D10238 now called ‘Nellie’ is a blue pied hen initially raced on the widowhood system, but she had paired to a hen and was sitting eight day old eggs in the corner of the hens section. As a yearling she flew the channel ten times but only up to 250 miles, and this year she had flown the channel three times before being sent to BICC Cholet 300 miles and was rested for two weeks before being sent to Agen International 502 Miles when she was 46th National and scored in the top 25% of 22,768 International pigeons. She then had a three week break before going in the basket for Narbonne International at 559 miles. A great National win for her with the addition of being the only pigeon on the day in the UK and a super International position being provisionally 121st out of 18,094 pigeons, less than an hour away from winning the International.
Clayton with Jack Jones
She is a daughter of “Jack Jones” which scored in 13 Internationals including 1st BICC Perpignan National 2010 flying 596 miles on the day and the dam is an inbred daughter of “Wiggins” which scored in 12 Internationals including 1st BICC Perpignan National 2012 and 1st BICC Perpignan National 2014, flying 596 miles on the day. They timed the second of their three entries very early the next day at 7:50am to be 6th BICC National with GB17D10251, a chequer cock raced on a widowhood system. This cock had exactly the same training as a yearling as ‘Nellie’ and the same prep for Narbonne this year. He was their first pigeon from Agen 19th National and scored in the top 25% of 22,768 pigeons. His sire is a 50% Morsnowski and 50% “Jack Jones” and “Wiggins” with the dam being direct from Bernd Morsnowski. They also timed their third and final entry, a French late bred hen which came home at 13:20 on the third day to add yet another International to her schooling. At the end of day three around 50% of the BICC entries were recorded home with non flying less than 559 miles which is a return rate that most long distance races would be very happy with.
The winner's wing
The Preece loft