Perth, which, for the second successive time, was dominated by fanciers in Section C, aided and abetted by some from Section F – all well to the east of Roger’s Nottinghamshire Roger Hallsworth is one of the top flyers in the North Road Championship Club. He has proved this time and time again, often against the odds.
He has just enhanced this reputation by winning Section A in the NRCC’s second race of the season, from loft at Selston.
The south-west wind, strong at times, gave the 1827 birds, sent by 175 members, a testing race, especially as most had encountered only helpful winds up to that point of the season.
Roger’s section winner is a two-year-old blue widowhood cock which was third section Perth as a yearling last year. It is one of six young birds he bought from Belgian fancier, Johan Van Herck after taking a liking to what he saw on his stand at the Doncaster show.
Another of the six won the NRCC young bird national on Roger’s return to NRCC racing in 2017.
What happened to the other four? “I lost them,” said Roger. But – just like any other fancier would be – he was happy at the return of two top winners out of a kit of six young birds.
The section winner was 14 minutes clear of the second bird to the Hallsworth loft, and the whole entry of 14 was home on the day and all set to form the basis of the team to compete in NRCC 2019 race number three from Fraserburgh.
Apart from doing so well in the classic races, Roger is also the man to beat in club racing this season. An example of this came on the very day of the Perth race when he took the first four club positions from Berwick, a particularly pleasing feature being the fact that the first two were yearlings.
Roger has just survived the scare of a young bird flyaway when a large flock of birds overflying the loft took his young birds with them but, although seven were still missing when we spoke, sixteen had returned on the day and another six the next day.
Could be his lucky season?
Rob Walton, of Ollerton, is within a whisker of being in Section A but, in fact, competes in Section B which he won from Perth, being the first fancier to interrupt the monopoly of Sections C and F competitors, and taking a highly commendable 29th open position in the provisional results.
Rob, competing as Walton Brothers, timed a two-year-old chequer widowhood cock bird to take the section win.
A consistent performer during its racing career, it was 25 minutes clear of the next arrival at the loft, and was one of a six-strong team sent by 59-year-old Rob who has been a stalwart member of the NRCC for many years and is best known for his King’s Cup win from the Lerwick Blue Riband race in 2009. Since then, though, there have been plenty of highlights in both club and classic racing, including a section win from Thurso last year.
Rob races only widowhood cock birds and likes to keep it simple. The same team will be aiming for more success from Fraserburgh.
He says that birds in his loft nowadays descend from his King’s Cup winner, and he felt that the Perth race was a good, fair test for the birds.
Section C was won by the outright winners, Richard Mamwell and enthusiastic grandson Tom, of Louth, with a celibate cock bird brought out of retirement after two years in the stock loft, a dark chequer descending from the Jannsens of Richard’s brothers, the Mamwell Brothers, the scourge of rivals before the untimely death of one of the partners.
This win by popular fanciers has already been fully reported, and is one of many successes by Richard who, in recent years, has been delighted to share the sport with his grandson.
When the Peterborough father and son partnership of Graham and Michael Britton win anything in pigeon racing, it appears that they do it in style, and such was the case when they clinched top place in Section E, as voice of the partnership, Michael explains here:
“We are delighted to again to have won the Section from Perth this year making it back to back wins of such. In fact this year we look to have provisionally taken the first six places in the Section on a day when we had such an excellent team performance of 33 home out of 42 in the first hour of clocking and, as I sit here on Sunday night typing this, being only just the one short.
“Firstly congratulations to Richard Mamwell and Grandson Tom. They were very good earlier in the year getting one of our pigeons home to us that had gone off course, and this was appreciated.
“On to the details of our winners. First in the clock, and provisionally 1st Section E, 46th Open NRCC Perth, is our blue bar cock GB16X00852. This is a pigeon off one of our top breeders which is a Deweerdt X Brockamp. In fact he is a grandson of Geoff and Catherine Cooper’s now famous Farm Boy. On this occasion he was paired to a daughter of our 1st Open NRCC Thurso (431 miles) winner Thurso Queen. I will be honest he had done nothing of note up to this point, in fact he never came until early the next morning out of Dunbar just two weeks before.
“Second in the clock is GB15X41622 blue bar cock which is out of our number one pair of Deweerdt X Brockamp pigeons, the same sire as the first pigeon, being our grandson of the Farm Boy when paired to a Deweerdt hen off Magnus (4th International Dax) crossed with a hen from Hans Peter Brockamp.
“Again this pigeon had only had minor positions up to this point, having flown both Perth and Lerwick last year in good time. However, a full brother was 3rd Section E, 13th Open NRCC Lerwick 521 miles (12h 33mins on the wing) last year and the full sister has a host of NRCC positions including winning the coveted Diploma of Merit out of Lerwick with her best position being 2nd Section E, 21st Open NRCC Lerwick 521 miles. “Third in the clock is GB15X33522 blue chequer hen and is our Lerwick winner from last year, when eventually she finished up 1st Club, 2nd Section E, 10th Open NRCC Lerwick 521 miles. She is actually off our old family of John Lovell pigeons when crossed with a hen from Perry Brothers from Kings Lynn, and is off their NRCC Lerwick winning pigeons.
“Just a couple of thank yous, firstly to Bryan Clary who, until emigrating recently to Canada was one of the country’s best ultra runners. We worked with Bryan in the close season on nutrition and, with the team’s performance that we had at the weekend, his knowledge certainly paid off. If only he was a pigeon he would definitely, like Armando, be worth a million pounds!
“Secondly to both Darren and Merv whose convoying skills are unsurpassed. As always, the birds arrived home in excellent condition
“We may yet send to Fraserburgh, depending on wind direction. However, we really now look forward to NRCC Lerwick and are crossing all fingers and toes that, with the lateness of this year’s race from the Island, the westerly winds are not too strong and that, as a club, we get a successful race from this iconic location.
“Please find attached a photo of me and Dad holding the 1st & 2nd Section E pigeons, along with the NRCC Trophies that we won at Perth last year. Although with the wind being where it was, we had little chance of winning them all again this year and having such a high open position as 4th like last year, we are delighted to have provisionally won the Section E Rose Bowl again.
Woods and Batch Loft One, of Norwich (that is Kevin Batch) won Section F and were a commendable eighth open in the provisional result.
The section winner is a German-bred two-year-old blue widowhood cock bird which is one of the consistent stars of his highly successful loft, and a previous winner.
Kevin, well-known for his love of buying pigeons, bought two youngsters from a German fancier at the Holland show in 2017, and this was one of them. It made a mistake as a youngster and spent some time away from the loft, but after that has done nothing wrong.
The other youngster, a hen, bought at the same time, was third to the loft when Kevin was first and second section in the 2017 NRCC young bird race. Now she is not racing and is paired to the Perth section winner.
The latest NRCC success was a continuation of Kevin’s successful season to date, with six wins to his credit in his battle with partner Andy Woods (Woods and Batch Loft Two) who has four wins.
He sent five to Perth and had three in the clock; the other two were home when he returned from clock checking.
Because the birds had competed in the whole programme, they had no training in the week before the Perth race. He concentrates mainly on sprint and middle distance racing.
Now 57, and a self-employed plasterer, Kevin has been racing pigeons since the age of 17, and is always selective in the birds he sends to NRCC races. “You have to send only your best,” he said.
Kevin said they had had good racing into Norfolk this season and gives a lot of credit for that to convoyer Leroy King. “Leroy looks after the birds, and gives us the best races he can,” he said. “That rubs off on the NRCC because then we can send more birds to their races. The NRCC convoyers also look after the birds well, and they always look good when they come home.”
The partnership between Kevin and Andy, in which they share stock birds among other things, does not ease the fierceness of their friendly competition, Indeed, it probably makes them try harder.
There is one phase of the sport in which Kevin appears to be fighting a losing battle, however, and that is in keeping his oft-repeated resolution to reduce the number of birds he keeps, because he cannot resist the temptation to buy in new stock.
A new name emerges to ease to one side the illustrious fanciers from the London area who have made NRCC headlines over the years, and that is 59-year-old Eddie Emms, from Walthamstow, who is Section H winner. And – understandably – he is delighted.
“I am over the moon,” he said. “It is hard to beat the quality of fancier we have here, so you have to make the best of it when you do.”
Facing a south-west wind, it was, of course, a tough race for the birds into London, but Eddie sent six and got them all home safe and sound.
His section winner is a chequer pied widowhood cock bird bred by former neighbour and old school pal, Bernie McDermott, who is among a number of fancier friends Eddie says have been a big help to him. These also include such well-known personalities as George and Steven Chalkley, and Keith Davison who persuaded him to join the NRCC six years ago.
A porter at Spitalfield Market, he competes in the strong East London North Road Club, and says his performances have started to improve over the past two years as he has come to terms with the sad loss of his wife.
“I have done nothing spectacular,” he said, “but I think I am beginning to get things together a bit. I have been helped a lot by other club members, and the last two years have been better.”
Eddie was not planning to send to Fraserburgh as there was another Perth race with his club, but he may compete from Thurso in the NRCC.
Meanwhile, he is just enjoying the good feeling brought by his first section win with the NRCC.
In another long-flying section – Section I – the first place is taken by another partnership who are no strangers to success in NRCC races. Mr and Mrs Barry Laws have numerous successes to their credit and won the section from this year’s Perth race – 354 miles to their loft – with one of their own breed, a two-year-old Van Reet-cross widowhood cock bird, a blue but with some grizzle mysteriously appearing in its feathering.
There was a 20-minute gap between the loft’s first and second pigeon, but the section winner was well in front of the first bird into Ipswich, the home of many past NRCC triumphs.
“It has been in the prizes before and is a consistent pigeon,” said Barry who sent 12 birds and had nine on the day, and the remaining three next day.
The section win saw the continuation of this season’s successful performances in the Saxon Valley Federation and the strong Combs Ford club at Stowmarket, where, Barry says, every member is capable of winning on any given day.
Wife June is very supportive of Barry’s efforts in his pigeon racing.