Fraserburgh becomes Dunbar

After collecting all 1337 birds from the marking stations on Thursday 13th June, the NRCC transporter made its way up to Ecclefechan where the birds were fed and watered. The driver and convoyer continued their journey on the Friday morning, arriving at Fraserburgh early this afternoon. On arrival, the birds were given fresh water and fed later in the afternoon and according to the locals, the day of arrival had been the best day so far that week in way of weather. Saturdays forecast told a very different story and with the forecast looking unsettled, rain at Fraserburgh, Fife and into the north east the convoyer had no option other than to call a holdover. With no change likely at Fraserburgh and the forecast showing no different for the coming days and, with the bird’s welfare in mind, the decision was made to move the birds shorter to a location where the chance of a Sunday liberation would be favourable. Dunbar was the best option for this so the convoying team made the journey back down, with a view to arriving in Dunbar by the afternoon, in good time for the birds to settle, be fed and watered and have a rested night before a liberation on the Sunday. Waking up to a kinder weather forecast at the Dunbar liberation point and with light scattered ‘hit and miss’ showers further down the line of flight, the birds were released at 07:00 hrs in a fresh North West Wind. As the birds began dropping in and times began to be verified and uploaded onto the NRCC pigeon line site, Martin Sharpe was the name that sat at the top of the list and as the day wore on and the further distanced birds were timed in, there were no other clocked times that pushed in front of him to claim the number one position.

Martin Sharpes Loft
Inside the Sharpe Loft

This win was later confirmed by Ian Bellamy and a time was set for the verification of the NRCC’s third winner of their 2024 race programme. On arriving at Martins home I was warmly greeted and without any hesitation, shown the hen that won for Martin. A cracker of a bird bred by Martin and which has originated down from three pairs of Gaby Vandenabeele’s originally purchased from M and D Evans in Whitely Bridge in 2011. I am told that near enough everything in the loft, other than the odd one or two, has come down from these three pairings. After having a cheeky hold of her I handed her back to Martin for release. Having been kept in, she was going to make us wait, having a stretch of her wings and a couple of laps of honour before going back through the trap. Not born into the pigeon racing, Martins interest was sparked by a couple of his friends who were fanciers. It was that what led him into getting his first team of young birds in 1995 and joining the Candlesby RPC and in Martins words, he did ‘pretty well.’ He then went on to join the Alford Racing Pigeon Club after moving house and has been a member for the last five years or so where he again says he’s done ‘pretty well.’ For those of us that know Martin know that ‘pretty well’ is a huge understatement, being an NRCC member for as long as he has raced pigeons, he has been Open winner on two previous occasions, first in 2011 when he won Fraserburgh against 3151 birds and again in 2022 when he won Perth against 2300 birds. This Dunbar win now takes Martin into NRCC 1st Open hattrick territory with his name also previously appearing on the NRCC section winner list. This is as well as being no stranger to the Peterborough fed, regularly stamping his name on many of the top positions. His NRCC Dunbar winner is a late-bred who didn’t see any racing as a baby however, she has built herself a super scorecard leading up to this win topping the fed three times in her racing career to date and adding multiple club positions to her list of achievements she has certainly proved herself to be a top bird who has traps well and on the day of the race she came like a rocket! Martins’ dedication and hard work with his team of well tried and tested pigeons have more than paid for their corn and are an absolute credit to him

Wing of the 1st Open winner

Racing natural the birds are let out morning and evening for a stretch and taken twice a week up to Marshchapel, roughly 15 miles or so from the loft, and no further. Martin feeds to appetite and will give the birds a bit extra when he’s preparing them for a longer race and on return from a race, they are fed a bit lighter with multivitamins and glucose in the water. For the babies, once taken away from the nest, Martin puts them on the dark and once ready for training they are started off at five miles and let go in batches of five or six. Only moved a bit further up the road when they beat him home. They are also only taken as far as Marshchapel and no further. It was an absolute pleasure to see Martins set up and birds and would like to thank both him and partner Annie for their hospitality and welcoming me into their home. On finishing up, Martin would like to thank Annie for her support and help. Well done, Martin, I wish you all the best for your future racing and look forward to catching up again in the future. Moving onto the section winners now and in their own words

Barry Pearce 1st Sect A

Section A winner Barry Pearce: After a disappointing NRCC Perth with all my birds coming out of the South, like most of the Northern section a flyers,I still managed 8th section a with my old favourite ‘young rocket.’ He was last year’s NRCC Fraserburgh winner and I was hoping he was getting into form for his next mission, Fraserburgh again. I was disappointed when the birds had to be brought back to Dunbar but it had to be. I thought about 48 – 50 mph for the section A birds, that would have been about 11:30 – 11:40 but, it was a pleasant surprise when I saw a bird diving for the loft at 11:19. There were builders on the roof next door that made him go round for a bit but not for to long and he went in and clocked at 11:20. It was a yearling I call ‘Big Bob.’ Three minutes later, another one then three more came together and so on. All the birds home bar one. What a sport this is! Every race day is a delight even when you are behind. Big Bob is bred out of the stock loft from birds from the great, late Dean Skuse from Newstead Village, Notts. His sire is a blue cock inbred to Rocket from a son of Granger x Miss Rocket and his dam is a Smokey blue daughter of Kannibal x Miss Rocket. Section B winner Shane Betts & Son: Timed at 11:52, distance 240/872 with a velocity of 1446.9815. Section E winner Rob Pateman: She was gifted to us by our good friends John & Peter Norris of Grantham, we started the season racing roundabout then paired them up for the longer races she was sent sitting 10-day old eggs. Section F winner Gordon Cockaday & Son: Timed at 12:06, distance 277/808 with a velocity of 1595.4087.

Mick Tuck

Section G winner Mick Tuck: Firstly, I would like to congratulate the open winner and the other section winners and thank the marking team and conveyor for the excellent condition of my pigeons after a long hold over in the crates. My section winner is a 6-year-old Cheque Pied cock named “Pretty Boy” named after winning best in show a couple of times. Not only is he a good looker but also a top racer having won on both the south and north roads: – 1st club, 5th Solent Fed Bordeaux, 1st Club, 4th Fed Perth and 3rd Section BBC/BICC Hexham. His breeding is half my old Eric Cannon blood crossed with a Van Geel and was sent to this race sitting eggs 10 days.

Adrian Wilson

Section H winner Adrian Wilson: We are Trevor and Adrian Wilson of Manuden near Bishops Stortford. We have 2 lofts 1 & 2 and our timer (Twice Lucky) a dark chequer yearling cock. This was only his 4th race of the season due to him being hawked twice during preseason training. He had two fed races then NRCC Perth 344 miles where he achieved 2nd section H. He is a home breed his sire being our “68” winner of 6 x 1st for us, and is a direct son of our good friend Alan Wicker’s “Magic Man” winner of 5 x 1st Combine’s 6 x 1st federation and has filled every position in the top 20 of the combines. A magnificent pigeon where a lot of our pigeons have his blood. Twice Lucky’s grand dam is “Fatty” 1st section BICC Berwick. Fatty a daughter of “68” paired to “Sonia” a pigeon purchased from our other good friend Mark Bulled and herself a winner of 3 x 1st and 2nd UBI Combine for us. We want to thank the convoyer race controller and the committee as our pigeons arrived in perfect condition as always.

Alex Mariea with his family
The wing of Alex’s pigeon

Section I winner Alex Mariea: First, I want to congratulate all the fanciers who sent to Fraserburgh/Dunbar. My Section winner cock is called “Knoxy” after my oldest son. I usually expect from my pigeons, in races up to 400 miles, just to be constant, as they are mainly distance and don’t do high velocities most of the time. This year, my yearlings have done well so far with most of them being clocked from all NRCC races and also managing from Perth 3rd Section as well. Looking at the forecast I knew it would be a tough race with some rain and the wind changing on route. Myself, my wife Abby and our four children like to pick our favourite before the NRCC races a couple of pigeons each and have a race between ourselves as well which, is very entertaining for all of us. This week my oldest son Knox had the pigeon who came first and that is where the name has come from. The cock’s father is one of my Jellema breeders and the mother is a Busschaert hen gifted to me by Mr Richard and Mrs Sheila Mayes of Stowmarket. I am racing my pigeons on the natural method as I think for distance it is the best in my opinion. I am very observant and plan what nest positions I would like them to have for certain races, which I enjoy very much doing. Keeping them healthy is one of the most important things for me and I like them to have as supplements, only natural products to maintain a good natural immunity. I also check their water pH and after I add apple cider vinegar accordingly, which is good for sinus infections and a total natural organic, anti-bacterial, anti coccidial that is effective in killing the 0-157 strains of e-coli bacteria and salmonella. I want at the final to say a big thank you to Terry and Jacqui Ivatt for running the Ipswich Marking station. I wish everybody good luck and to have good returns in the coming races!

Carl Upsall

This weeks behind the scenes man is Carl Upsall. Carl was born into a racing family which began with his Grandad. He first started racing with his dad in 1966 and now races with his grandson Reece. He has raced with NRCC for all that time and can be found on basketing day at the Wyberton marking station helping out with the marking and basketing of the members jobs, along with mucking in with pretty much anything else that needs doing. No stranger to winning himself he has won 1st Open NRCC from Thurso and Perth and told me that it is the standard of competition and the love of the sport that will hopefully see his name on the Kings Cup Lerwick Trophy one day. He has always flown North and is a member of both of the Boston clubs but currently races in the Boston & District RPC. Carl and grandson Reece race widowhood cocks but, Reece races celibate hens. As always, on a final note, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has provided me with the information and pictures to make this article possible either through WhatsApp or email. Well done to all who sent and timed in and for everyone who helped behind the scenes at the marking stations and on the committee for getting the season of to a great flying start…. literally! Good luck for the rest of the race season.