David Impett of Blackpool.

While in Blackpool for the B.H.W. ‘Show of the Year’, I had the good fortune to visit the long distance loft of David Impett, who I have known for some 15 years, originally through our mutual friendship with Eric Cannon. Dave is a dedicated long distance fancier and in recent seasons has put up some wonderful performances, with his Jan Aarden based, Brugeman Brothers of Holland pigeons.

Dave Impett has put up some brilliant performances in the National Flying Club in recent seasons and since 2005 he has won 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 18th Section L, 12th, 13th, 19th, 59th, 62nd, 66th, 97th, 118th, 149th, 174th, 177th, 267th, 273rd,373rd open Tarbes (748 miles), 1st Section L. Alencon, 8th, 14th, 16th, 20th Section L. Saintes (571 miles), 10th, 19th Section L. Angers, 12th Section L. Bordeaux, 13th Section L. Herstal. Many premier trophies have won over the years including: ‘Lancashire Rose Trophy’ for best average Section L, ‘Roy Gough Trophy’ best individual pigeon Section L, ‘The Burton Trophy’ first bird in to Lancashire and Merseyside (won twice), ‘Best Average in Section L. from Tarbes’ and several RPRA and Meritorious Awards have been won. A fantastic achievement in long distance pigeon racing!

The Blackpool loft has housed many champion long distance racers in recent years and some them are: ‘Katie’s Star’ winner of 1st section L, 12th open NFC Tarbes (4,066) flying 748 miles to the loft in Blackpool: ‘North Star’ the fantastic blue pied hen, winner of 6th section L, 62nd open NFC Tarbes, flying 748 miles and clocked on the day of liberation. As a young bird in 2005 she recorded 184th open NFC Fougeres, being clocked at nearly 400 miles on the day of liberation. 16th section L NFC Angers. The champion racing hen! ‘Paula’s Star’ 14th section L NFC Saintes, clocked at 571 miles on the day of liberation, 18th section L NFC Tarbes (748 miles). Daughter of ‘The Golden Hen’: ‘Christine’s Star’ winner of 6th, 11th North Ashton Open Saintes (571 miles), 5th section L, 13th open NFC Tarbes (748 miles): ‘Linzi’s Star’ winner of 3rd North Ashton CC Niort, 4th North Ashton CC Saintes (571 miles). Winner of over £1,000 in long distance racing! ‘Lee’s Star’ winner of 8th section L, 19th open NFC Tarbes (748 miles), 11th section L NFC Bordeaux (630 miles), 15th section L NFC Tarbes.

Dave started racing pigeons with his father in the 1960’s and at that time met up with premier National long distance flyer, the late Roy Mundy of Bolton. Dave says, Roy was a brilliant fancier and taught him every thing he needed to know about racing pigeons on the long distance. He spent a lot of time with Roy Mundy, serving his pigeon racing apprenticeship with him and maintains he owes his present day success to this very gifted fancier and dear friend. In the 1970’s, Dave resigned from the NWHU and joined the RPRA so he could compete at National level, but unfortunately was only accepted as a guest member because his loft was 5 miles north of the boundaries. The base pigeons in the early days were bred down from, ‘Vale Lady’, winner of 1st Open Lancs. Combine Marrenes, 2nd Section, 30th Open Pau,   also winner of the ‘Osman Memorial Cup’, and ‘Vale Princess’, winner of 1st Section Pau. Another good line was Roy Mundy’s, ‘Rossall King’, winner of 1st Section, 49th Open Pau. With these outstanding bloodlines, success came straight away for the Impett loft, but this was short lived, as the young Dave retired from the sport over ‘pigeon politics’. This action cost Dave, 20 years pigeon racing, however he says this time was not wasted, because it made him a wiser person. He restarted with the Pedley & Impett partnership in 1998 and the two fanciers raced with two lofts, one sprint and the other long distance. In 1999 they joined the North West Classic and were successful from the outset, winning 2nd Section, 8th Open (£508), 1st Section, 7th Open, 1st Section Yearling Derby and 5th, 6th Section, 35th, 36th Open. The partners did well in the NFC races, including 20th Section, 268th Open Saintes (571 miles) in a North West wind. Dave decided to start racing long distance on his own and started up his present loft at Trapp Farm in 2001. He told me it was a good move, as the pigeons are in a natural environment, which he thinks is a must for successful long distance racing. Due to the foot and mouth, Dave only had one channel race in 2001 and recorded, 13th Section L from Herstal with the N.F.C. The following season he recorded 21st, 27th, 29th Section L Saintes (571 miles) N.F.C. In the 2003 season he joined the North Ashton 2 Bird Championship Club, racing against the very best fanciers in the north west of England and quite often if you don’t time in on the day from the long races, you don’t get on the result sheet. In his first season in the North Ashton, Dave, recorded 3rd Niort, 6th, 9th Saintes (571 miles), winning the best 2 bird average from Saintes. 2004 saw him win 20th Niort, 4th Saintes, lifting the best average Niort / Saintes in the North Ashton and 8th, 14th Section L (only 14 birds on the day in the section), 155th, 288th Open NFC Saintes, flown in to a very hard north west wind.

The 2005 season was one of his best and saw Dave put up some really outstanding performances in the National Flying Club, the best being from the Tarbes Grand National, when he recorded 1st Section L, 12th open (4,066 birds), plus 15th and 18th. Section L, flying a fantastic 747 miles. The first pigeon on the clock from Tarbes was his good three year old blue chequer natural hen, “Katie’s Star” and she was sent to the race sitting 12 day old eggs. This game hen was bred from a direct Brugeman Brothers cock, which is a half-brother to the famous “Sutra” and her dam is a stock hen bred down from “De 16” of Albert Simmons. In NFC he won several trophies, including ‘The Lancashire Rose Trophy’, for the best average Section L. all NFC races and won an RPRA Award. Dave had an outstanding pigeon from the 2005 Young Bird National, when his game blue pied hen, ‘North Star’, recorded 184th open, flying just under 400 miles on the day. A brilliant season!

David Impett keeps his pigeons in a wonderful natural environment, at Trapp Farm and races 36 pairs on the natural system, with 500 mile plus racing in mind. The main racing loft is 40ft. long, with open door trapping and he has never used deep litter. Dave told me he had visited many premier lofts that use deep litter, including Brugeman Brothers in Holland, but it’s not his cup of tea and likes to scrap out regularly. He maintains the most important factor in good loft design is good ventilation and the lofts must be dry. The old birds are paired up in mid-March and get very little training, as they are given an open loft a lot of the time. Dave normally gives them three 50 mile training tosses prior to the race he is setting them up for. His feeding system consists of a good balanced mixture, with an additional fat mixture being added for the long distance events. The old birds have raced outstandingly up to Saintes, 571 miles, but Dave tells me, the 2005 season will see him have go at Pau which is well over 700 miles to his loft in the north west of England. The 50 young birds are housed in a 20ft. loft and they are given about eight training tosses, up to 30 miles before their first race. There is no ‘darkness’ system, with the youngsters being raced naturally to the perch and they are only given four races to train them. They are fed a good mixture similar to the old birds, but with a higher proportion of Maple peas. Dave doesn’t race his old birds or youngsters inland, they are only sent to the short events, every now and then, for training.

Dave says, long distance pigeon racing is for him, because he likes a challenge and sprint racing is not a challenge! Anyone with a good loft position can win sprint races.

His family of Brugeman Brothers and Eric De-Meulmeester pigeons only perform well over 500 miles and Dave is very proud that his loft houses seven different pigeons that have scored at 571 mile races. Dave told me, his most thrilling experience in pigeon racing was meeting the late, great Eric Cannon, who he says, is possibly our greatest fancier.

The 16 pairs of stock birds are housed in two 8ft. lofts, with flights and the breeders are paired up in mid-February. These birds are fed on a heavy mixture and when feeding their young are given 80% Maple peas. Dave rates Brugeman Brothers of Holland one the best lofts in Europe and says their record in long distance International racing is second to none. He visits the Dutch loft once a year and most of his stock team are direct from the brothers. The Brugeman pigeons are an inbred family and are Jan Aarden based, being medium long cast in the hand, with wonderful feather quality. Dave maintains, that when you bring in new stock birds they must conform with what you have already, especially if you have a good inbred family. For example, Dave recently purchased two pigeons from premier National flyers, Padfield Family of Wales, off their famous ’63’ pigeon, which is Jan Aarden based, from the best of  Wim Muller. Brugeman Brothers famous pigeon, ‘Orhan’, winner of 8th International Barcelona, is bred down from Muller / Aardens on one side. Every pigeon in the Brugeman loft contains the ‘Orhan’ bloodline and Dave’s top breeders are grandchildren of this champion pigeon. Another Brugeman bloodline which is very strong in the Impett loft is that of, ‘Myra’, winner of 8th National Barcelona and 45th National Barcelona. Dave Impett’s best stock pigeon is, ‘The Golden Hen’, and she is the dam of the loft, being a champion producer. This wonderful dark chequer hen is direct from Brugeman Brothers and is a granddaughter of ‘Orhan’ and ‘Myra’.

Dave maintains that sadly our sport has declined in the past 20 years, because we live in a lazy society and pigeon racing needs hard work and dedication to make it thrive. Very few young people are coming in to the sport, as we live in a the Computer age they are more interested in Electronics than the old fashioned hobbies, like fishing and pigeon racing. He thinks the management at top of our sport should channel their energies in to trying to get the fancy back to what it was year ago, when clubs and birdage were big. Dave says, if it was in his power he would introduce a rule, that clubs would not have radius’ and all decent fancier had to be accepted in to the membership, and not rejected because they are good flyers. The best advice that Dave can give a new starter in the sport is try and serve a ‘pigeon apprenticeship’, by spending as much time as they can with an outstanding fancier and learn. It was what he did all those years ago and it is the quickest way to the top. Line and inbreeding is practiced at the Blackpool loft and Dave says you must do it to maintain quality in any live stock. An occasional cross is required to spice up an inbred family, but you have to be very careful when bringing it in, as the wrong one can ruin every thing. He also thinks the moult is very important and good food and rest bring the pigeons through this period of the year.

Well that’s it for this week! I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight in to David Impett’s loft. I can be contacted on Tele. 01372 463480 or my new email address: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)