On Sunday the 8th of September I had the pleasure of travelling to Birtsmorton, Malvern in Worcester, to watch the pigeons arrive home in the RPRA one loft final race,
The race was flown from Alnwick a race point in Northumberland, the birds fly north to south in the rpra races and this one was the big one 235 miles 898 yds.,
607 birds were liberated into no wind at 8am, and what a day they had… the day was perfect for racing very sunny with some broken cloud and light winds, perfect for all to enjoy ,
On arrival I was greeted by Jeremy and had a nice chat with him and wished him all the very best with the race, I would like to personally thank Jeremy for the work that’s put in to get these birds in tip top condition, I don’t suppose it’s an easy task in keeping all these birds free from health problems especially with them coming in from different lofts from all over the country, not to mention the hawks and peregrines which are a constant menace and threat to the birds.
I had an interest within the race with one of the excelsior pigeons number 21 a blue vandenabeele hen that had been coming very well in the lead up to the final race, she was actually leading ace pigeon in hotspot 3 and 2nd place ace pigeon in hotspot 4,
We was all very excited for her but we didn’t know how she would come because in the final week of preparation a couple of training flights were given to the contenders but on Monday’s trainer the team encountered a problem...
Around 40-50 birds arrived very late in the day from a short 20 mile trainer and making what seemed heavy work of 7 hours…but Jeremy informed me they had arrived fresh back home on the evening, some also nighted out, suggesting a peregrine strike had unfortunately taken place,
The following day another trainer was given, and our good hen 21 again took an extra 10 mins than the leading batch to complete the 20 mile toss, unusual for her, and so must of left its mark psychologically,
We hoped that she would cast this aside and go about her business and gain confidence to deliver the performance that we all wanted…
Only time would tell and so me, my husband and the friends that travelled to welcome her home pulled up some chairs and relaxed in the sun in hope that she would arrive in good time,
Jeremy and his team had put on a great reception for all to enjoy there was plenty of seating for us, the weather was fantastic, soft drinks were being sold as well as having a smashing barbeque on the go which kept us all fed, alcoholic drinks were also taken by many to which we had done the same, including a bottle of champers just in case,
There was a good party atmosphere amongst us all, and a competition was ran amongst us all on ‘guess the time’, this is something we do in our own club where we race and is a great way to win a few quid, and have some banter… well this was greatly received and I think they collected around £430 for the winner closest to the winning time,
As the morning passed, and what a beautiful morning it was... we all chatted away, met some familiar faces and enjoyed the drinks and bbq... well done to all the organisers of that, the food was great.
As we looked up to the sky’s around 12.55 a batch of around 12 pigeons came out of the west, I was intentionally looking northwards, ... after speaking with Jeremy he said sometimes they do that and follow the contour of the land round so it seems that they come out the west side,… there was quite a few crows and we did spot one or two hawks and peregrines whilst we were down at the lofts to the north so maybe the birds spotted something and veered round, the first batch came very well and in a faster time than what me and my husband had thought and the general feeling was thought they would be 5hrs plus.. this first batch came earlier than that and the first to trap was at 12.56.12 so taking 4 hrs 56 mins and 12 seconds … the 12 seconds are so very important for one lady that had entered the guess the time competition because she had guessed it to the very second, and collected a cool £430., well done to you, that was an awesome guess, absolutely spot on.,
Back to the winning pigeon, this bird belonged to Teesside bombers, ring number NEHU2019Z6287 and is a lovely blue hen, Now named Beau,My husband had a lovely chat with Billy, and he’s kindly also emailed more details on the winner of this year’s rpra final race,Hi my name is Billy Calvert I started racing pigeons when I was 14 years old, I was racing successfully by the age of 16 years old, that season I doubled everybody’s win, winning 6 first prizes in a very strong club.
A few years later I flew with my uncle Mr George Thomas and within two seasons we won the federation averages over the channel,At that time it was the biggest federation in ‘the mighty up north combine’I then took some time out of the sport because I started up a fencing business, one day some 10 years later I was busy erecting a fence in a field and my uncle George drove in the field where I was working and asked if I was interested in buying his birds.
That evening I went home and discussed this with my wife, we then agreed a price of £500 for all of his birds, I then bred from them in 2005 as young birds and I won the young bird national, the following season as yearlings I won the inland averages and channel averages against some of the best flyers in the northeast,
In 2007 my dream come true when I topped the up north combine from newton abbot, since starting racing pigeons I have topped the federation from every race point from 46 miles to 535 miles, I could write a book of how successful I have been! I finished in the sport in 2015 with a bang of a good sale!
I then started doing the ‘one loft race’ in 2016 with ‘who dares wins’ and have been successful straight away, in 2017 I won £2700 in pools plus £1600 in the final , that pigeon is a half-sister to the rpra winner and was 17th open, winning 2 gold medals,
In 2018 again winning £1600 and 13th open final,
In 2019 again 7th open, 21st open & 66th open winning £1480.00 plus best 2 bird performance and 1 gold medal.
In 2018 I entered the RPRA one loft race and I was 18th open and went on to win it in 2019!
75% of my birds are from my good friend john soderlund from the partnership of sodurland & Maddison.
John & I have been good friends since he bought a pigeon from me in 2010 that I had advertised in the book,
I now have pigeons from all johns’ champions, national winners these birds are bred to win up to 400 miles but they kick in after 200 miles.
The RPRA winner Z6287 is now named Beau after my beautiful grandaughter, the nest mate Z6288 I bred for john soderlund & Maddison, it was beat on the trap by a decimal and finished 2nd club 5th federation 160+ miles,
John & I entered 10 birds between us this year and I really think this is the start of something special with top quality birds we have in the Tenerife one loft race now.
I also bred my friend golly Pearson a pair , we put one on the dark and one on natural , the darkness yb raced the young bird national and finished 2nd club 12th federation, velocities were around 58mph and I feel that day just a bit quick, again another sister,
Whoever buys the winner I wish them the best of luck, it will breed winners for fun! These are good pigeons.
In 2nd place and trapping 7 seconds behind Teesside bombers was the J J & M Syndicate, with their consistent Blue wf cock, WHU2019A01201 this pigeon has been very consistent from the very start and never being out of the top 72 in races out of the 1400 pigeons that started at the lofts, in hotspot 1 he came 72nd, hot spot 2 8th, hotspot 3 42nd, hotspot 4 27th and in the final it came with the first batch and came 2nd.. That’s a fabulous racing record and a very good consistent pigeon that must be in with the chance of lifting ACE pigeon 2020 well done, The JJ&M are a syndicate of three, John Evans, John Williams and Malcolm Griffith’s. Malcom is a very hard working Secretary of Banwen Homing society club. All three of the guys are retired, they entered the RPRA one loft in 2018 but in the finale race they did not make it.John tells me ‘This year we have tried again with great success, we entered a team of six, five having made it to the finale and up until these notes four have returned. 01201 our 2nd open winner is a VANDER-WOUWER (PONDEROSA UK STUD) cross with HOFKENS (KEV PARSONS NEWCASTLE). This is the first time these were mated together, nest-mate to their 2nd place 01201 has also been successful scoring 4th Epsom 151miles, 1st Maidstone 186 miles and 4th Hythe 211 miles. On the second round a mate of theres G Davies had a 1st and 4th clan in west wales with the same bloodlines.the partnership think that one loft racing is a fair way of testing out pigeons as it’s the same for all the birds, no favourable positions, winds drag etc., it’s the same for every bird. There is an element of luck involved e.g. trapping when small batches arrive together, finally the lads would like to thank Jeremy for all the hard work he puts into the birds, to give us the good racing they enjoy.
*Updated* JJ & M also win the RPRA ONE LOFT ACE PIGEON 2019’
Having a good day out were the four nations syndicate they come as a team and so did there pigeons taking 3rd and 7th places out of the top 10,
There first bird to trap and take 3rd Just missing on 2nd place by a decimal was a blue cock GB19V35204, 3 minutes after this the next batch arrived at the lofts and another one of the syndicates pigeons trapped to take 7th place this time with a dark chq hen GB19N08307, well done guys this helped you secure the award also of winning the two bird average,
The syndicate were kind enough to send me some further details;
Hi Les. Thanks for contacting us. We are a fairly new syndicate consisting of Johannes schoeman, David Will, Debbie Neale. Bobby Rimmer, Tom Williamson, Jonathan Parrot Vincent McConnell Shaun Walker, Liam Watson (aka Ant &Dec) Paul Bunclark ,Rich King Shane Gent and myself Pete Berry . Over last 2 years we formed the syndicate. We have very much enjoyed the rpra race this year. Jeremy had a tough time early on with Peregrines. Which are a massive problem all over now. And losses were higher than usual. We have some great flyers. In hotspot we were 6th with a bird bred by Paul bunclark. We pooled the bird all the way as he was coming so well. Unfortunately he went missing in hotspot 4. In hotspot 3 we were 9th and 15 with birds bred by Tom Williamson and Paul bunclark. The final was a great day weather wise. Good atmosphere. Jeremy was looking very tense about an hour before first arrival. We would like to congratulate the winner Teesside bombers. And 2nd place and winner of Ace bird J J & M. Our bird in 3rd place was bred by Paul Bunclark again. Aka. Wentworth Lofts winner of last year’s final. And winner of this year’s hotspot 4 race from Ripon. So another great year for Paul. Well-done. The birds are all closely related to his original pair of birds. Being the Heremans x Dirk Van Dyck (Di Caprio lines). The 7th place bird was bred for the Syndicate by Anton Astore. Being a 100% busschaert. And good family of birds. Both are 3rd and 7th bird were pooled as well. We also had a bird in 35th place that helped us win the 2 bird average in the final as well. That bird was bred by myself. A grizzle breeding Jos thone bred by Trevor peake that finished well in a one loft race that I purchased. And sire was a red cock gifted to me by Jonathan parrott being off his good bird red rum that was 6th in the final of the French olr. We are looking forward to 2020 and planning already. We would like to thank Jeremy Davies. Great Loft manager. And really nice guy. All his loft helpers. And the convoyer for the final. And four nations were a great team. Let’s go for the 1st next year. All the best everyone. And see you all next year. Thanks again Les. Pete.
In 4th place was Egam, with his blue wf cock, GB19C07449, my husband gave graham a call about his winning pigeon and graham told him that a few years ago a pigeon he had bred a friend had been successful taking 7th place in the one loft race so he thought he would try one this year, the sire and dam to this pigeon had bred some good pigeons over the time , including a pigeon to win the breeder buyer in the anchor / Tamworth fed they had also bred a fed winner from ancenis, the dam was a wildersmeerch and the sire contained some busschaert , he went on to say that neither of the parents cost a lot of money, so it just shows you guys that you don’t need money all the time to buy good pigeons , and these fashion pigeons that fetch huge amounts of money Just good honest pigeons will do the job.
5th place went to Wild West wizard, with a blue hen WHU2019A06665, I gave harry a call and this is what he had to say,
Thanks for your phone call and interest in my pigeon. I have done my best to write a small piece for your interest.
Since the age of 10 years old I have been a pigeon fancier, at the age of 65 I entered my first RPRA One Loft Race. The main reason for me to have a go in the one loft race was the peregrine falcons love to hunt pigeons in Pembrokeshire which led to poor returns.
In 2018 I entered three pigeons in the RPRA One Loft Race, Luckily the three birds made it to the final race. Out of the three, two made it home on the day. The first bird being placed in the 97th position. However the same pigeon was leading Ace pigeon in hotspot 3 and hotspot 4.
Her Brother also made it home on the day. The Sire of the birds is a Paul Stobbs pigeon, half Brother to the "Gypsy" and half Brother to "Modest". This Cock has bred other winners to. The Dam of these two is a Leo Heremans pigeon. I was happy with this result for my first attempt,
I informed Paul Stobbs of my result and he kindly gifted me a Hen from "Proven Pont" and "The Green Eyed Hen". I mated this pigeon to a Syndicate Loft pigeon who is "The Son of Mario" and "Astrid". This pairing bred me the 5th place winner in the RPRA final race in 2019. This result was a combination of good pigeons paired well and a bit of luck. The excitement continues as her Brother is in the Golden Algarve Race,
Fingers crossed this boy is as good as his Sister. I will be in Portugal to watch the final race. I would like to finish by thanking Jeremey Davies and his team for putting on a fantastic race.
See you next year
Harry Evans AKA Wild West Wizard
My husband had the pleasure of chatting with ken Briggs about his 6th place rpra olr ,
He told us,
I had tumblers as a child living in Hockley, Birmingham, it wasn’t until many years later that I kept racing pigeons, I started racing the pigeons in 1980, by a complete accident.
I had a shed in my garden and one day my ex brother in law who had pigeons, was moving house, he asked if he could put the pigeons in my shed until he moved house, I said sure no problem , one morning I accidently left the door open,,,, I went to get some water and when I walked back up the garden they were all walking in the garden, I somehow managed to get them all back in , but the following day I thought I’ll have them out… three weeks later the pigeons were flying round my house, that gave me the idea to race, my 1st race was in 1980 with young birds , over the years I have enjoyed some good wins .
What made me enter the one loft races was the fair level playing field they offer for most of the competitors, I used to race in the Blackheath club in Oldbury, but have become disillusioned with club racing in general, the clubs now have smaller memberships but members seem to send in excess of 30 pigeons and anything up to 60 pigeons, I find the big senders are dominating the clubs, this isn’t good for newcomers coming into the sport,
This is why I believe one loft racing is the way forward, but we have to be careful with that also, with a lot of syndicates now coming in we have to try and keep it fair to the small back garden fancier,
I’ve been entering one loft racing for the last 8 years, the first one loft race that I entered was one held in Scotland,
What I like about olr is that it’s fair for all, it doesn’t matter what the wind is on the day or where the loft is situated because there all racing home to the one loft.
You don’t have to be a pigeon flyer to enter, which is also good for anyone to enjoy,
I’ve entered a few different one loft races over the years including one in Somerset that unfortunately is no longer around, I was lucky enough to win some money out of that one,
I have entered pride of the potteries and the rpra one loft over the last few years,
The pigeon that won me 6th open was bred myself, the strain is a van de poel , off two Belgium rung pigeons I brought in to try out.
Pigeon racing has given me many laughs over the years I remember many years ago I used to transport the club crates to Hockley where the Birmingham Saturday federation would then pick up,
I did that for around 6 years, I picked up from a variety of club headquarters, and along with my brother and take the empties back, for £5 a club,
Some nights the transporter wouldn’t be there till midnight, but whilst we were waiting we had some laughs.
I would like to thanks Jeremy and all the team on the fantastic job he and his team do in looking after the birds,
I can only imagine the banter you had whilst waiting for the transporter ken, we do the same in our club shed, a couple of beers whilst waiting for the transporter, our fed generally comes around 8,30pm – 9pm, If it was to come at midnight we wouldn’t be able to lift the birds on ha-ha, the social side of the sport is one of the most important parts of pigeon racing in my opinion, sometimes this is lacking in some clubs unfortunately,
Well it was lovely chatting with ken, he brought back some memories of when my father used to race in the clubs where ken used to pick up from, and the names we both spoke about of the fanciers that used to race pigeons in those days took me down memory lane. All the best ken, no doubt we will chat again.
In 8th place we have bead rattlers with a light chq cock SU19 NW2602 Andy kindly forwarded me some details,
Hi les. It's Andy McCartney. Our bird that was eighth in the olr is bred of a pair of Geoff Kirkland birds that have bred many winners. This was the first time entering the olr, we entered 4 birds and they all made it into the final race with another bird making the result in 177th place. I have really enjoyed the one loft racing and will be entering again next year.
9th place is Foster Sons & Dtr with their blue hen GB19N42928, miles dropped sent me an email with some information.
My interest in racing pigeons started when I was about 12 years old, and many years ago lived not far from where the RPRA One loft final race was flown from, Alnwick in Northumberland. I now live in Hampshire and after about 30 years being away from the sport, I started up again and raced in partnership with my sons for a few years with the Liss and district club. We’ve been unable to race for the last couple years for various reasons and even exercising the birds around the loft has become difficult with regular attacks by birds of prey.
Over the last 3 years we’ve started racing with some of the one lofts with some exciting results. This latest result, 9th position with the RPRA final from Alnwick. This youngster is off a Blue hen we bred in 2014 from Vandenabeele stock birds. She was so large, we raced her as a cock in the young bird races! She has only been lightly raced since but had good positions racing in the club and classics. She was paired to a small Blue w/f cock we bought as a late bred (hen!) off Foxy Lady, from Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts a few years ago.
The training and general progress of the young birds regularly updated via the news page on the website is also an interesting way of keeping in touch. Jeremy does a good job here of keeping us informed of what’s going on at the loft, and the thorough regular training that he puts the youngsters through.
So a big thanks to Jeremy and congratulations to the winners, Teesside Bombers!
10th place is Kardale lofts with a blue pied cock SU19P2421 Karen newcombe and Ian black kindly sent me some details via email
Kardale loft is well known loft in Scotland first to the late d Newcombe and now is run in partnership Karen Newcombe and Ian black. Now that Karen has other interest in horses the day today running is now Down to myself Ian, In 2015 we entered the wdw one loft race were we finished 2nd and have entered every year since . I bought our bird back in 2015 and in 2017 I bought the runner up in the same race. I don’t go for certain breeds I put winners to winners in this case runner ups to runner ups and that is how this bird is bred , having spoken to a club mate who entered the rpra one loft race in 2018 who spoke highly of this olr I decided to enter three this year,
RPRA SCHOOLS WINNER 2019
Thanks for contacting me regarding Diggle’s pigeon, we are thrilled to have the first school pigeon back but also over the moon with 32nd!
I oversee the school loft as I am a caretaker there and run the pigeon club. We did breed the bird ourselves.
The sire to this pigeon is a red cock GB 18 P25140 owned and bred by myself, he is from a mealy cock bred by Chris Vasey to cheq hen bred by my fellow club member Ste Slicker, he has always been a very consistent pigeon and this year was 5th club, 18th border of Amal, 18th lancs combine 1499 birds, 21st 3 counties combine 3286 birds.
The dam is a pigeon owned by and raced Diggle School, she was bred by Alan Maile who donated her along with another 20 or so to get school started. She again was schools most consistent pigeon. This pigeon herself GB 18 Z 60836 the children have called Brittany as she did amazing for them from messac being 3rd club ,11th fed , 31st combine 1420 birds .
The children really didn’t want to let the baby go as it was the only red bird we bred but as always happens it’s nest mate on the day I was taking the pigeon down to Jeremy had gone backwards so we decided to send the red one and obviously are now so glad we did!
School would like to thank the North West region of the RPRA for giving us the entry. People have been so kind to school and we can’t wait to race again next year.Regards Chris Ryan
JJ & M with their 2nd open winner.
1st place schools winner – Diggle School
Schools top 3
1st - Diggle school
2nd gypsy quay
3rd double trees school
Two bird average winners
1st four nations syndicate 2
2nd team Islwyn
3rd grumpy old men
The application form for entry into the One Loft Race for 2020 will be published in the 15th November 2019 issue of the British Homing World, and will be available online on the same date.
Well that concludes this special one loft report for 2019,
Well done to all the winners, and well done to the rpra team, including the people behind the scenes, my husband also passes on his thanks to Jeremy, he says that Jeremy manages the rpra one loft superbly, with the pigeons interest always paramount, the rpra one loft race for this reason has to be the UK’s leading one loft race.
Bye for now – Sarah Carter (Excelsior Pigeon)