Archive for the ‘long distance pigeon racing’ Tag

Fred van Lier RIP.   1 comment

It is with both sadness yet honour that I write this account of the life of our good friend Fred van Lier and his involvement in pigeon racing in Auckland, New Zealand.

I first met Fred in 1992 and my first short conversation with him was interesting. He may well have been long haired, with a beard and resembling a middle aged hillbilly dude, I can’t remember for sure! I’d been back in the sport two or three years and we were both flying the Henderson Classic race from Christchurch to Auckland, or should I say our pigeons were! It was the hardest Christchurch race I can remember in 25 years or more of pigeon racing.

My pigeon, a yearling homed sundown on the second day after enduring gale nor-east winds (a headwind and a dangerous wind from that racepoint to Auckland lofts) and rain for much of the weekend and Fred’s (which came second) around mid morning on the 3rd day. Fred’s comment to me at strike off was a blunt ‘prick’ and at the time I thought that he was serious having not got to know the man yet at that stage.

I guess that memory sums Fred up fairly well; he had a sharp albeit dry wit and was well liked around the New Zealand pigeon racing community. Many pigeon fanciers around the country were very gutted with his recent passing.

Fred loved to drive either of the Federation’s two trucks and after he and Bronie partnered up they would go down together to the South Island with Auckland and other Federations and clubs’ pigeons. Both he and Bronie enjoyed this activity immensely and Fred always looked forward to it.

Fred always kept many different sorts of animals and had an affinity with them, especially those that you could race, such as pigeons and grey hounds. He liked growing vegetables including giant pumpkins for showing and in recent years started bee keeping. His father Wouter started van Lier Nurseries which a younger brother Theo, (another pigeon man) has run for quite some years now. Fred learnt the nursery trade and later on had his own nursery in Hobsonville. There are accounts of Fred’s goats getting into glass houses both there and other places of abode, I guess not a good outcome for the flowers usually!

When Fred shifted to Hillsborough I got to know him quite well. Soon after in April 1998 my wife and I, almost having given up on buying our first home, managed to find one we could get finance on, a state house up for sale in Three Kings under the then National Government who were selling off a few. It had the potential for development and in late 2002 a doctor bought our house and plot of land and developed it thus allowing us to shift into our beautiful 3.5 Ha block and home here in the hills of Onewhero.

Fred built the bulk of my new loft in Three Kings which about four years later got shifted south to my current address in Onewhero. Like Fred, I did shift it with a few pigeons inside but unlike Fred, I paid professionals to shift it and didn’t have problems with the wind enroute and no pigeons escaped, unlike one of Fred’s loft moving experiences……

Fred liked me because I was a straight shooter; we had a lot in common and had some good conversations on many topics. We didn’t always agree on everything, including my philosophy on racing pigeon welfare here in New Zealand and how to go about changing the system within pigeon racing and yet he could see what I was trying to do. I guess that’s what friendships are all about, true friendships are democratic rather than autocratic in nature and free speech is to be encouraged within them.

Around that time I recall one pigeon tossing expedition which I went down with him in his flat deck pickup with our boxes of pigeons tied securely on the back. We got to Pirongia and it was overcast but still bright and we released Barry Wilson’s pigeons. We wanted to go further for ours, somewhere near the start of the Kawhia Road. It was very murky with light rain; we had young birds in our boxes so they needed at least some bright patches in the sky to help get a bearing. Fred said it might be better at Kawhia Harbour so to Kawhia we drove, but the weather was no better there, so we parked up by the Kawhia Maritime Museum and went in for a look-see. After some time and probably some food etc Fred said that we would head back home and see how the weather was enroute.

Back in the pickup we must have headed north up the coast to Raglan which is the harbour two up from Kawhia. We couldn’t let them go anywhere there and headed back east over the Four Brothers hills enroute to Whatawhata. There was a short passing lane in those hills but it was on a windy bit and Fred gunned it to get past a car that was holding us up and I heard a box or boxes fly off the back, across the road in the air and when we had stopped I was relieved that the two boxes in the ditch upside down were both Fred’s and not mine! Fred rushed across (no swearing if I remember rightly); a blood red cock got out as Fred righted the painted wooden boxes which Fred told me later had come home through all the murk. I guess it’s not usually ‘a given’ to share a joke about the departed but Fred and I had talked about that trip a few times and laughed, probably I more than him! After that he took his pigeons all the way home and mine went up at Whatawhata, as they’d been there before and there was one at home when I arrived, a vandie cross cock looking fresh as a daisy and others dribbled in the rest of the afternoon and some the next day.

Our conversations also included religion and for many years Fred wasn’t a believer in the Great I Am, but having terminal cancer can make a lot of people reassess their position on these matters and I believe ex Apostolic pastor Laurie Bull had an input there and I believe that he was also there at Fred’s home when Fred passed on.

Fred was cut down way too soon, only 63, while I being a little younger struggle with my own health issues Ad infunitum. He had a rock solid constitution and would be one of the few who would wear shorts all year around since I have known him the last 25 years or so. That type of resilient constitution is something to be envied by people like myself.

Fred was a bit of a jack of all trades and would give anything a go. He was likable, loved nature, animals, plants and people. He wasn’t a perfect man but that is one thing I liked about him, he didn’t live his life as a facade, was thick skinned in the pigeon racing scene here in Auckland, resilient, durable and very likable. He also worked tirelessly in many club, Western Union and Federation positions.

During his less than a year’s time of diagnosed terminal cancer he lived his life in many ways the same as before. Still helping his aged father Wouter in the veggie and flower garden, driving the Auckland truck down the South Island for our liberations with Bronie his partner whom he married two days prior to his passing and his pigeon racing career terminating with the winning of the last pigeon race he flew, the Old Bird National from Christchurch, a tough one.

Fred lived and died the same sort of person in many ways. I don’t know what his vision for the future was prior to his diagnosis but I do know that likely it would have included pigeons, poultry, plants, friends, family and others whose lives he touched and made a difference in.

Just like Mac Armstrong who passed on also with a terminal illness aged 85 prior to Christmas last year, Fred was a pigeon man who is well worth remembering. Those two were indeed generous with their love for their fellow human beings and I remember them both fondly and with a high degree of admiration. They both won their fair share of pigeon races and loved the long distance racing but really they must primarily be remembered for the quality of people they were and the lives they touched and that they loved people genuinely as the unique individuals they both were.

Some of the catch phrases of Fred.
‘The long and the short of it’.
‘At the end of the day’.
‘For all intensive purposes’.
A funny reply from Fred when we were discussing races where pigeons hadn’t trapped well.

‘If the dog hadn’t stopped for a crap it would have won the race’! He would say that with a big infectious laugh and a beaming smile and eyes asparkle like precious stones as if to say, “Stop making excuses Mr Elley!” He always, for some reason, called me Mr Elley, but whether that was out of respect or contained a glint of satire, one will never know! He loved reading about the likes of famous New Zealand icon Barry Crump and quite naturally they had a lot in common, perhaps I hear a few chuckles…..
Fred passed away at home on the 7th of March 2016, father of Walter and Marie and husband of Bronie, he will be greatly missed!

Now something that I’m sure Fred would laugh at, as he was always looking for the comedy in life. I got this from boardofwisdom.com it’s credited with an ‘unknown’ as the author.

On the first day God created the dog. God said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years.” The dog said, “That’s too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten.”
So God agreed.

On the second day God created the monkey. God said, “Entertain people, do monkey tricks and make them laugh. I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.” The monkey said, “Monkey tricks for twenty years? I don’t think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that’s what I’ll do too, okay?”
And God agreed.

On the third day God created the cow. “You must go to the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years.”
The cow said, “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty and I’ll give back the other forty.”
And God agreed again.

On the fourth day God created man. God said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. I’ll give you twenty years.”
Man said, “What? Only twenty years? Tell you what, I’ll take my twenty, and the forty the cow gave back, and the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back, that makes eighty, okay?”

Okay,” said God, “You’ve got a deal.”

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, and enjoy ourselves; the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family; the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren; and the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.
RIP Fred; see you at the great party at the end of time! Thank you for being part of my life and of others who read this. We salute you for the good example you gave for us to follow and emulate.

Brian’s Brit Blog 2015.   Leave a comment

Brian Batchelor.

Well a lot can happen in a year since I last tapped the keyboard with a report on pigeons from the UK and it certainly has been an eventful year at least for me anyway. Last year I wrote that I had to sell up my pigeons having been diagnosed with pigeon fanciers lung, however, as it happened this was not the end of the story. I ended up making several trips to the hospital for various tests and consultations with the specialists. To put it in a nutshell the results eventually showed that I did not have pigeon fancier’s lung after all but suffer from asthma with a touch of emphysema but it is not that serious and hasn’t stopped me from doing all the activities I normally would. The main cause of my condition is due to allergies such dust mites, moulds, grass and grass pollen but no allergy to common animals, cats or dogs and no allergy to feathers. New bedding with anti allergy covers has improved my condition. I am still sensitive to dusty or smoky conditions but the good news is that there is no reason not to get the pigeons back again providing I keep them in a relatively open type loft and use a good quality mask and protective clothing. Anyone interested to find out more about pigeon fanciers lung I recommend to visit http://www.pigeon-lung.co.uk.

This year I also recently retired from full time work. I’m only doing part time work now and we have put our house on the market, so I will not be restarting with the pigeons until we resettle, hopefully early next year. I have kept up my membership of my local club and have been actively involved with it and I have kept a note of a few more notable performances this year including some of the national channel races. Generally the weather this year has been kind without extremes providing for some good flying conditions with few hold over’s resulting in good returns. The Barcelona International was perhaps the exception due to a heat wave in southern Europe and thunder storms in northern Europe. The small British contingent struggled a bit, however the winning British pigeon bred and raced by well known long distance stalwart Dave Delea was timed at 10.50am on the second morning, many birds have continued to return after the race closed which often happens in these conditions as the pigeons entered into this race are all seasoned campaigners.

Wicky Bullen and son pulled off another stunning win taking the honours in the BICC National Poitiers against 2696 birds, I have mentioned this partnership before when they won the PAU International with “Islas Rainy Day Boy”. This year it was another remarkable victory in that their pigeon named “Sienna’s Cloudy Day boy” beat the drag and the wind. It was expected with the westerly wind that the prizes would be won in the east section and the majority were except the Bullen’s widowhood cock racing into the central section to take the top slot. What is even more astonishing is that this game pigeon was only a late bred yearling on his 3rd ever race of his life. He had already shown his potential with 30th open Tours on his 2nd race. He was a gift pigeon bred by R.Roberts & Son, whether he can repeat these performances in future only time will tell.

A second brilliant performance was that achieved by Bobby and Anthony Beasant’s “ Noble Dream” in winning the Agen International against 10510 of the best in Europe. The dam of this pigeon was bred by my good friend Keith Mott, it is bred down from Keith’s Brian Denny family of distance pigeons which are well known in the UK, you will find the Denny pigeons in the pedigrees of many top UK distance pigeons including some of the legendary Mark Gilbert’s pigeons.

The National Flying Clubs Blue Riband Grand National from Tarbes was again an early afternoon liberation following a one day hold over due to adverse weather at Tarbes. I happened to be holidaying a few miles from Tarbes on race day and there was a moderate head wind for the birds to face on release and throughout their journey but otherwise the weather was fine and clear which continued into the second day when the pigeons were arriving home. It turned out a steady race and was won by a yearling hen raced from the loft of Lloyd & Kelly, another great effort by a yearling.

Another performance that caught my attention at local Combine level, was one of those exceptions that make us question what we really know about pigeon racing. This was that of a Blue hen owned by Mick Tuck. In order to make up the numbers to get enough support for the Combines longest race from Bordeaux 450 miles, Mick was asked by our club secretary to enter as many birds as he could. Looking through his loft he spied a three year old stock hen that was a gift pigeon that he bred plenty from but she had never been trained or raced. Nevertheless Mick decided to try her and in the week before the birds were marked for Bordeaux she had two tosses from the coast about 35 miles then went into the race basket. Much to Mick’s and everyone else’s surprise, this little hen was his 2nd pigeon home taking 3rd club and 5th FED/Combine.

We are now just at the tail end of young bird racing, the usual problem of raptor attacks has created havoc and caused some heavy losses on a few occasions. The worst case I heard about was a local fancier who had 46 young birds missing on one occasion; these were well trained youngsters that already had three races under their belt. A few were reported having been scattered to the four winds and the carcass of one of his missing youngsters was found in a peregrine nest by an attendant who cleans out peregrine nests that have been erected along many of UK’s motorways. This is one aspect of the sport that has made me think twice about starting up again as I will only have facilities to manage a small team and this sort of loss can set you back years.

Last year I did a loft report on Wally Cable and his top pigeon “Joe 90”, at the time I interviewed Wally I said Joe 90 was one of the best pigeons I have ever handled, as his performances were outstanding I said to Wally if he were mine I would put him straight into the stock shed as anything could happen to him. However Wally said he is still a young pigeon with a lot more racing in him. Anyway Wally put him back on the road again this year with the channel Nationals in mind. In the first National Joe 90 was the first bird into our area by a good half hour, however in the second National Wally sent 23 birds and at clock reading had 22 home, yes Joe 90 was missing and Wally was beside himself with grief. However, that is not the end of the story, ten days later when Wally went down to close his loft there was one hell of ruckus going in the loft and when Wally opened the door there was Joe 90 battling with a pair that had occupied his nest while he was missing. On inspection Joe 90 had suffered a nasty knock down his keel and breast, enough that would put him out for the rest of the season. The day he went missing it was a very strong wind and he must have hit something probably early in the race. Anyway the good news is Wally has been able to get some more youngsters from him including two late breds that he has kindly offered to me.

There you have it from me from UK, good luck to all with your racing down under.

Brian Batchelor
Elstead, Surrey,UK

Keith Mott from the U.K.   Leave a comment

Enjoyed it.

ferguspigeonman

KEITH MOTT (CONVOYING). Special thanks to Keith Mott and our U.K. expatriot NZ friend Brian Batchelor for forwarding this.

At the end of the 2008 season Keith retired after eight good years as chief convoyer of the London & South East Classic Club, which took him to all the major race points in France, including twice Tarbes (560 miles) and six times to Pau (550 miles). He says he loved convoying and could write a book about his experiences while driving the pigeon transporter on the continent, but maintains he would never go to Guernsey for a holiday as he took the Classic young birds there 15 times and has had enough of the place. He has been writing in the fancy press since 1972 and enjoys doing his regular pages every week in the pigeon fancy press. Keith has appeared eight times on the television with the pigeons, the…

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Invercargill, Timaru and Christchurch Old Bird National results.   2 comments

ARPFInvercargillOpen2Dec2014

 

ARPFOBNatChch6Dec2014

 

ARPF Old Bird National West.

 

ARPFTimaruOpen6Dec2014

Waikato 4 races in 2 days and ARPF Old Bird National Christchurch and Timaru.   4 comments

It is always a pleasure to announce good race results from the South Island. Last Friday and weekend the Waikato Federation flew four races from the South Island. The Timaru and Mosgiel were released early Friday morning, the Invercargill pigeons at midday Friday and Stewart Island early morning Saturday. The Auckland Federation flew two races from the South Island on the Saturday, Christchurch and Timaru.

I have the results from the Waikato Federation and to me they are very good, I’m sure that you will agree. Perhaps some of you reading will be able to add more info about the fliers and their top position scoring pigeons in the comments section.
Unfortunately the returns for the Christchurch to Auckland race were extremely poor and are a big concern for the fancy here in Auckland. The West Section did a bit better than the East Section with returns. The Timaru race although going up at the same time had a better percentage return.
Weather conditions for the ARPF Christchurch National and Timaru races were headwinds in the South Island and over the Cook Strait and the lower North Island. In fact the early morning forecast for the afternoon in the Cook Strait was a gale warning of nor-westerlies rising to 35 knots i.e. around 65 kmph and likely gusting double that at times. The conditions for the Ferry returning to Wellington from Picton were pretty rough with many people vomiting.
The unfortunate thing was that the nor-west winds of some significance were forecast for the Cook Strait until some time during Sunday afternoon so that any pigeons which hadn’t crossed on the day had a pretty big ask ahead of them.
However, further up the North Island from Waitomo it was mainly south-westerly on Saturday and Sunday with a fairly steady westerly wind pattern below this to the lower North Island’s moderate to strong nor-westerly.
One of my Christchurch pigeons was reported on the ARPF website, see email below.
Hi Emma

Many thanks for reporting this pigeon – we really appreciate your having done so. The pigeon belongs to Mr Fergus Elley, who is also receiving a copy of this email, and who will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Kind regards
Jim Cater
Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation
—–Original Message—–
From: Emma [mailto]-email addy removed
Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2014 8:44 p.m.
To: Jim Cater
Subject: Found Pigeon

Message body:
Hello,

We have found what appears to be a racing pigeon on our farm. It has two tags, one reading ‘TAURIS 2000’ and one that reads ‘NZ PUKE 2012 0339’.
We have caught it and are giving it seed and water, but we would like it to get back to it’s owner as soon as we can. Any help you can give us would be great. We are located in Tiraumea in Northern Wairarapa. You can reach us through email or on -ph num removed.
Regards, Emma.
This pigeon of mine was dropped off in Palmerston North the next Friday at a friend Earl Hautapu’s place who is a fancier down there having not been back in the sport that long. This pigeon is a bit of a pet of mine; otherwise I would give it to him as he likes it! Thanks both Emma and Earl. Now I have to find out a way of getting it back here that is not too expensive. The pigeon should have been on the west coast of the North Island but has likely been blown off course, although it is great it got over the Cook Strait and hopefully many pigeons in this race did and they will work their way home in the next few weeks or so.

You’ll find the East Section and West Section results below and normally I publish the first 20 in the East and first 10 in the West, but since the returns are so sparse I have included the whole result.
The Timaru returns are a bit better even though it is almost another 140km. This could be because it is said to be an easier race point to orientate out of and also because fanciers are more likely to send out and out long distance pigeons which are in general more experienced.

East Section Old Bird National Christchurch 6th December 2014 6.30am liberation. 26 lofts. 294 pigeons.

Plc Loft No Distance Day Clock Var Flying Pigeon Metres/Min KM/Hour Needed
1 K Frazer 33 722880.0 1 19:40:49 2 13:10:51 ARPF-11-1119 BC H 914.0545 54.8433 0:00:00
2 Craig Gray 23 714048.1 1 20:21:23 – 13:51:23 MKU-12-2722 BC H 858.8675 51.5320 0:50:12
3 Craig Gray 23 714048.1 1 20:37:57 – 14:07:57 MKU-12-2755 BC H 842.0875 50.5253 1:06:46
4 B Roud 4 740196.8 2 7:10:02 1 16:14:03 MKU-11-1470 BC H 759.9166 45.5950 2:44:15
5 Tui Lofts 18 739349.2 2 7:35:40 – 16:39:40 EU-13-0330 BB C 739.5957 44.3757 3:10:48
6 Tui Lofts 18 739349.2 2 7:39:04 – 16:43:04 SARPC-11-2300 BB C 737.0888 44.2253 3:14:12
7 J and G Lofts 8 727962.7 2 7:36:09 1 16:40:10 SARPC-13-3132 BC H 727.8414 43.6705 3:23:45
8 David Moors 15 742623.0 2 7:59:05 1 17:03:06 ARPF-12-2457 GRIZ C 725.8557 43.5513 3:30:39
9 R & P Gramov 11 760466.2 2 8:26:58 -4 17:30:54 HARB-13-3356 BC C 723.6333 43.4180 3:38:56
10 R & P Gramov 11 760466.2 2 8:39:37 -4 17:43:33 HARB-13-3374 BCWF C 715.0263 42.9016 3:51:35
11 Tui Lofts 18 739349.2 2 8:24:24 – 17:28:24 SARPC-13-3422 BB C 705.2167 42.3130 3:59:32
12 Mac Armstrong 8 752294.6 2 8:49:49 1 17:53:50 MKU-13-3325 BC H 700.5692 42.0342 4:10:48
13 Camray Lofts 8 770156.0 2 9:19:55 2 18:23:57 HARB-13-3429 BB C 697.6367 41.8582 4:21:23
14 J and G Lofts 8 727962.7 2 8:44:40 1 17:48:41 SARPC-13-3105 BBP H 681.1772 40.8706 4:32:16
15 Race Duranski 11 760528.7 2 9:57:02 1 19:01:03 HARB-13-3381 BC H 666.5165 39.9910 5:09:01
16 K Frazer 33 722880.0 2 9:01:17 2 18:05:19 ARPF-13-3457 BC H 666.0545 39.9633 4:54:28
17 K Frazer 33 722880.0 2 9:01:39 2 18:05:41 PUKE-13-3182 BB H 665.8295 39.9498 4:54:50
18 K Frazer 33 722880.0 2 9:12:37 2 18:16:39 PUK-11-1239 BB H 659.1711 39.5503 5:05:48
19 S and M Archer 6 753277.5 2 10:21:43 1 19:25:44 PHAK-13-0012 BB C 646.1834 38.7710 5:41:38
20 Tui Lofts 18 739349.2 2 10:04:40 – 19:08:40 SARPC-13-3275 SLT H 643.6586 38.6195 5:39:48
21 Craig Gray 23 714048.1 2 9:36:45 – 18:40:45 MKU-11-1494 BC C 637.1163 38.2270 5:39:34
22 K Frazer 33 722880.0 2 10:11:30 2 19:15:32 PUKE-13-3341 BBP H 625.5813 37.5349 6:04:41
23 Craig Gray 23 714048.1 2 10:00:47 – 19:04:47 MKU-11-1294 BC C 623.7408 37.4244 6:03:36
24 Paul Millar 10 741214.5 2 10:55:18 1 19:59:19 SARPC-11-2053 RC C 618.0307 37.0818 6:28:24
25 Paul Millar 10 741214.5 2 12:10:20 1 21:14:21 SARPC-12-2009 BCWF H 581.6412 34.8985 7:43:26
26 Sterling Lofts 13 739740.4 2 12:07:52 1 21:11:53 SARPC-13-3161 DC H 581.6103 34.8966 7:42:35
27 K Frazer 33 722880.0 2 11:47:52 2 20:51:54 ARPF-13-3436 BCP H 577.4263 34.6456 7:41:03
28 Dave Brough 6 749830.9 2 12:42:13 -3 21:46:10 PHAK-12-2152 BB H 574.0698 34.4442 8:05:50
29 Craig Gray 23 714048.1 2 14:09:18 – 23:13:18 MKU-12-2767 BC H 512.4870 30.7492 10:12:07
30 S and M Archer 6 753277.5 2 15:34:49 1 24:38:50 ARPF-12-2461 SLT H 509.3728 30.5624 10:54:44
31 T Thum 10 754726.7 2 16:15:49 -1 25:19:48 PHAK-12-2042 SLT H 496.5961 29.7958 11:34:07
32 J and G Lofts 8 727962.7 2 16:47:58 1 25:51:59 SARPC-12-2425 BC C 469.0532 28.1432 12:35:34
33 S and M Archer 6 753277.5 3 9:35:19 1 34:14:20 PHAK-12-2194 BC H 366.6773 22.0006 20:30:14
34 Dave Brough 6 749830.9 3 13:16:28 -4 37:55:24 PHAK-13-0120 BC C 329.5381 19.7723 24:15:04

So what do we learn about pigeon liberations from last weekend’s racing in the ARPF? Firstly, we need to breed more pigeons off the lines of pigeons which returned from these races in race time and their parents and close relatives. The hen I got around 8.40am Sunday from Timaru scored 3rd Federation Timaru and had she not flown into the Rimu tree next to the loft, sitting there for a good three minutes, then she would have been second. However, the winning pigeon from Tui Lofts was on the day, good pigeon, good fly, well done pigeon and owner Alan Smith. My hen 301 will be paired to the cock which won the hard Timaru on the day in 2011 in 14 hours and six minutes. 301 was off a love mating; only two bred off them in the race loft and she flew Christchurch fairly well last year as a yearling.

Also congratulations to Kerry Frazer for his win in the National 1st OPEN and he also won the ARPF Invercargill. The West Section National being won by John Stavert i.e. Airforce One, he also was second Invercargill.

ARPF OPEN Race from Timaru on 6th December 2014. 6.30am liberation. 20 lofts. 89 pigeons.

Plc Loft No Distance Day Clock Var Flying Pigeon Metres/Min KM/Hour Needed
1 Tui Lofts 3 877978.1 1 20:04:55 – 13:34:55 SARPC-12-2323 GP C 1077.3839 64.6430 0:00:00
2 Craig Gray 15 854147.8 2 8:46:23 – 17:50:23 MKU-13-3150 BC H 797.9831 47.8790 4:37:35
3 Elley Family 3 848887.8 2 8:43:50 1 17:47:51 PUKE-12-0301 BB H 794.9504 47.6970 4:39:56
4 Craig Gray 15 854147.8 2 8:56:57 – 18:00:57 MKU-10-0227 BBP C 790.1825 47.4110 4:48:09
5 Tui Lofts 3 877978.1 2 9:46:04 – 18:50:04 SARPC-11-2317 BC C 776.9259 46.6156 5:15:09
6 Jim Cater 3 885600.2 2 10:46:14 – 19:50:14 HENAK-12-0115 BC C 744.0560 44.6434 6:08:15
7 K Frazer 4 862072.5 2 10:18:08 3 19:22:11 PUKE-13-3317 BCP C 741.7698 44.5062 6:02:02
8 T&M van Lier 2 887785.6 2 10:54:29 4 19:58:33 HENAK-12-0155 RC H 740.7164 44.4430 6:14:32
9 Colin Chang 5 895963.4 2 11:10:11 – 20:14:11 HENA-12-0227 BB H 737.9144 44.2749 6:22:34
10 Camray Lofts 8 906314.5 2 11:34:07 2 20:38:09 HARB-13-3408 BC C 731.9909 43.9195 6:36:56
11 B&F van Lier 8 885321.4 2 11:14:48 -7 20:18:41 PHAK-13-0265 BB H 726.4573 43.5874 6:36:57
12 B&F van Lier 8 885321.4 2 12:06:10 -7 21:10:03 WUAK-12-0284 BB H 697.0760 41.8246 7:28:19
13 Craig Gray 15 854147.8 2 11:22:46 – 20:26:46 MKU-11-1300 BC C 696.2594 41.7756 7:13:58
14 Camray Lofts 8 906314.5 2 14:40:01 2 23:44:03 HARB-13-3413 SLTW C 636.4345 38.1861 9:42:50
15 R & P Gramov 4 897283.9 2 17:19:03 -4 26:22:59 HARB-11-0787 BB C 566.8309 34.0099 12:30:09
16 Forest Hill Lofts 2 881936.0 2 17:55:28 3 26:59:31 WUAK-12-0211 DRC H 544.5674 32.6740 13:20:56
17 Craig Gray 15 854147.8 3 17:30:02 – 42:09:02 MKU-10-0226 BB H 337.7369 20.2642 28:56:14

West Section Results National. 10 lofts. 146 pigeons.

Plc Loft No Distance Day Clock Var Flying Pigeon Metres/Min KM/Hour Needed
1 Air Force One 20 744416.7 2 6:59:52 -2 16:03:50 ARPF-13-3438 SLT C 772.3500 46.3410 0:00:00
2 BMW Lofts 22 747606.3 2 7:40:33 -2 16:44:31 WUAK-13-3590 RC C 744.2448 44.6547 0:36:33
3 Jim Cater 20 749712.1 2 8:01:18 – 17:05:18 WUAK-11-0518 BMLY H 731.2124 43.8727 0:54:37
4 T&M van Lier 11 752312.9 2 9:24:21 4 18:28:25 WUAK-13-3557 BB H 678.7275 40.7237 2:14:22
5 B&F van Lier 20 750141.8 2 9:23:42 -7 18:27:35 WUAK-13-3586 BC H 677.2780 40.6367 2:16:20
6 Colin Chang 16 762196.8 2 10:18:21 – 19:22:21 HENA-13-3243 BB H 655.7378 39.3443 2:55:30
7 Colin Chang 16 762196.8 2 10:26:30 – 19:30:30 HENA-13-3002 GRZ H 651.1720 39.0703 3:03:39
8 Colin Chang 16 762196.8 2 10:26:44 – 19:30:44 AAK-13-3127 BBP C 651.0422 39.0625 3:03:53
9 T&M van Lier 11 752312.9 2 10:30:36 4 19:34:40 HENAK-13-3228 BB H 640.4480 38.4269 3:20:37
10 Air Force One 20 744416.7 2 10:46:10 -2 19:50:08 WUAK-10-0211 BBP H 625.4902 37.5294 3:46:18
11 D&T Campbell 9 760147.9 2 12:07:10 – 21:11:10 WUAK-11-0274 BC H 597.9923 35.8795 4:46:58
12 Air Force One 20 744416.7 2 12:46:25 -2 21:50:23 PHAK-13-0289 M H 568.0908 34.0854 5:46:33
13 Forest Hill Lofts 7 746221.7 2 13:21:58 3 22:26:01 PHAK-13-0255 BBWF C 554.3926 33.2636 6:19:51
14 Jim Cater 20 749712.1 2 13:36:13 – 22:40:13 PHAK-13-0172 BC H 551.1711 33.0703 6:29:32
15 Colin Chang 16 762196.8 2 14:15:31 – 23:19:31 HENA-13-3012 BLK C 544.6143 32.6769 6:52:40
16 Eric Billington 19 754870.5 2 15:05:19 – 24:09:19 HENAK-11-1062 DC H 520.8458 31.2507 7:51:57
17 Eric Billington 19 754870.5 2 15:11:23 – 24:15:23 WUAK-10-0379 LBC C 518.6747 31.1205 7:58:01
18 BMW Lofts 22 747606.3 2 14:58:29 -2 24:02:27 WUAK-13-3589 RSLT C 518.2892 31.0974 7:54:29
19 B&F van Lier 20 750141.8 2 15:11:11 -7 24:15:04 ARPF-13-3509 RC C 515.5378 30.9323 8:03:49
20 Air Force One 20 744416.7 2 15:44:04 -2 24:48:02 ARPF-12-2311 SLT H 500.2688 30.0161 8:44:12
21 BMW Lofts 22 747606.3 2 16:06:08 -2 25:10:06 WUAK-13-3596 BC C 495.0707 29.7042 9:02:08
22 Jim Cater 20 749712.1 2 18:21:48 – 27:25:48 WUAK-13-3488 BC H 455.5305 27.3318 11:15:07
23 B&F van Lier 20 750141.8 2 18:23:02 -7 27:26:55 WUAK-10-0467 BB H 455.4825 27.3290 11:15:40
24 Colin Chang 16 762196.8 3 7:12:45 – 31:51:45 HENA-13-3010 BB H 398.6906 23.9214 15:24:54
25 Eric Billington 19 754870.5 3 8:00:11 – 32:39:11 PHAK-13-0248 BC H 385.2986 23.1179 16:21:49
So genetics is the key because we never know when these races are going to come along, a bit like a thief in the night! You shouldn’t worry if you are in Auckland and you didn’t get a pigeon home in either or both races. Who knows, perhaps a pigeon of yours was doing well on the day and came to grief on a power line etc. There is always an element of luck in pigeon racing, with racing it can be the bad luck that we never know about and in breeding it can be the good luck at conception when the egg is fertilised that produces the fantastic racing pigeon.
Should the pigeons have gone up at Christchurch, that is the question some are asking and others are wondering i.e. exactly what has caused these very poor returns? It certainly seems to be that significant nor-east winds and easterly winds in Christchurch at liberation and to the north along the expected flight path of the flock can lead to poor race results/returns in the ARPF, but not always, hence the dilemma. Further, when a head wind race is anticipated, one of the liberation criteria is to get them released as early as possible or to hold them over. It is possible that the lower light intensity on overcast mornings can influence the pigeon’s navigation system and lead to a reduced confidence of the race convoy to clear the race point or head off in the right direction. A good start in a distance race or even short and middle distance race is essential, but as most of us fanciers know it does not guarantee a good race e.g. heavy widespread rain for many miles or even a ‘weather bomb’ can force pigeons down, thus delaying the return to their lofts.

The nor-east is the most common wind down there in Christchurch and then there’s all the Kaikoura ranges and foothills heading west towards the Southern Alps with blind ends and likely misty with possibly low cloud, these can be treacherous, just ask the pigeon fanciers in Nelson and Blenheim. Some years they abandon racing early due to difficult races through those areas from the south line resulting in the decimation of their race teams. Of course native falcons can upset a pigeon liberation too.
Sun spots are sometimes labelled as a factor also causing poor race returns and are said to affect racing pigeon orientation. However, the Waikato Federations three good races the day before (with the Invercargill not clocked till Sunday morning) may well rule this one out in this instance and their good Stewart Island race was liberated on Saturday too. In that race, as you can see by the results, six pigeons returned in race time from nine released! There were two pigeons on the second day and four on the third, truly tremendous results given the distance is almost 1200km!
The pigeons from the ARPF Christchurch liberation convoy, which made it to the top of the South Island and decided to cross the Cook Strait on the day, could very well have had their work cut out. I think even the earliest crossers had a fair bit of gusting nor-west wind to fly into and it would have been very hard to keep a straight course, as my reported pigeon found out.
These things aren’t planned for when you are responsible for a racing pigeon liberation. So I’m hoping there is a Special General Meeting to discuss this race in the future and perhaps a non Federation Executive working Committee elected to reduce the chances that it could ever happen again. Perhaps a couple of other Old Bird races can be discussed at the same time, such as the wet finish Ward and the very wet Mahunui, both involving weather bombs, a term that Jim Hickey our TV1 weather man likes to use.
I think that its great that we can share with ‘the world’ the proper functioning of a body of pigeon fanciers who are dedicated to their pigeons and at the same time have the privilege of being able to test the genetic potential of what they have bred each year through a fair racing programme with intelligently thought out racing protocols for very well looked after racing pigeons.
I’ll keep you posted with what happens. Thanks for reading. Like I said, if you have some knowledge of the Waikato pigeons and fanciers then please share with us on the site or if you are an Auckland fancier and would like to share something from last weekend, please feel free to do so. They say that ‘iron sharpens iron’ and this is what we do when we debate pigeon welfare concerns in any domain, be it a physical fanciers meeting, a small closed Facebook pigeon chat group or the internet. All are good forums, although I believe some beg to differ and of course that is their human right. However, seeing that the pigeons are not able to speak for themselves the likes of myself are given the onerous task of being their representative and of course I do that gladly and with much passion, after all, perhaps the ‘mighty pigeon’ has saved my life! Thanks to all that support me in this task including my dear wife Helen!

Next part coming soon…….

Please click on the 4 links below for the Waikato Federation great recent racing results from the South Island.

Timaru 5-12-2014

Mosgiel 5-12-2014

Invercargill 5-12-2014

Stewart Island 6-12-2014

Invercargill Race 2014.   7 comments

Mac and dimitri.

Mac and dimitri.

Last night we boxed pigeons at the Manukau Racing Pigeon Club in Auckland. We are looking forward to this prestigious race with much anticipation and there was a good muster of pigeons and fanciers from the Auckland Federation alike.

Everything went smoothly and my wife Helen and I were there just for an hour or so. Of course those of you which follow this blog will have read the articles on Mac Armstrong who has won this race six times, all in a row, an outstanding accomplishment! So he is going for seven in a row.

I have listed the names on the trophy below which have won this race since a trophy was put on it when the late Jack Longville was the Federation President and had won it. You will notice that some years there was no winner or no birds, same thing I think unless there was a year where the birds could not be liberated. Please comment if you know.

Speaking of liberation’s, it was a good decision this year to delay the Invercargill basketing a couple of days as normally we basket them on a Wednesday night and its great to see proactive decisions being made which benefit the pigeons by reducing the time in the basket.

Recently radionz presenter Lisa Thompson documented Mac Armstrong and his pigeons and you can view an article which is a synopsis basically of the show that was aired on the radio and Sky tv. Here is the link radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/spectrum/20141116

The South Island of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

The South Island of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

INVERCARGILL WINNERS.

1995 J.Longville

1996 F. van Lier

1997 J.Edwards

1998 K.Frazer

1999 No winner

2000 J.Edwards

2001 No winner

2002 C.Wilkinson

2003 No winner

2004 Valleyview

2005 No Birds

2006 No Birds

2007 L.Nel

2008 to 2013 M.Armstrong

We are blessed that Bill Beattie has been the liberator down in Invercargill for the last half dozen or so years. He does a tremendous job looking after the Auckland pigeons until the right time when the good to go is given for the liberation.

Joe Edwards who won it twice passed away in the last year and Louie Nel not that long ago.

I had my daughter photograph my 13 entries and will post their photos after liberation, see if you can pick the one or hopefully ones which come home in race time. This racepoint is certainly a great leveler of both pigeon and fancier alike. Like no doubt everybody I’ve tried hard to get my pigeons right for this one and now it is up to the pigeons, the weather gods and lady luck.

I guess the question in everyone’s mind is ‘can Mac make it seven in a row?’ Or can some lucky person and bird get past his pigeons, time will tell.

Look forwards to your comments, best wishes etc.

Mt Cook, known in Maori as 'Aoraki'.

Mt Cook, known in Maori as ‘Aoraki’.

 

 

“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT” Brian Batchelor of Elstead.   1 comment

Brian Batchelor.

Brian Batchelor.

Brian Batchelor has told me recently, he is suffering with a bad pigeon fanciers lung problem and after 50 years in the sport, sadly has to pack up his pigeons at the end of this season. His pending retirement from the sport has spurred him on to have one big final fling with his birds and he has enjoyed a brilliant 2014 old bird season. The highlight of the season was sending three cocks to the NFC Tarbes Grand National and clocking all three on the winning day, recording, 15th, 31st, 40th section A, 90th, 233rd, 308th open. A brilliant performance in such a hard race! The first bird on the ETS from Tarbes was Brian’s good blue Cannon / Van Bremen widowhood cock, ‘The Tarbes Cock’, and he also won 36th section A, NFC Carentan (495 birds) this season. This handsome cock is a direct son of Brian’s foundation stock bird ‘The Old Cannon Cock’, when mated to his good racing hen, ‘Baby’, who was clocked on the winning day from Tarbes and Pau. Brian’s small racing team have won a list of prizes this season, the highlights being: 1st club Yelverton (254 birds), 3rd club, 4th Federation, 5th Amalgamation Bergerac (1,213 birds), 4th club, 11th Federation Messac (1,042 birds), 5th, 12th club, 19th, 37th Federation Nort sur Erdre (632 birds), 74th, 294th open BICC Poitiers (1,934 birds), 36th section A, NFC Carentan (495 birds), 15th, 31st, 40th section A, 90th, 233rd, 308th open NFC Tarbes (2769 birds).

The Tarbes Cock.

The Tarbes Cock.

Brian Batchelor is a ‘hard-core’ long distance enthusiast and in recent seasons has been very successful in the National and Classic races from 550 miles. He races in the very strong Godalming club and the 2012 season has seen him win the longest old bird race from Bergerac (450 miles), and record 3rd SMT Combine. When I recently asked Brian about his family of pigeons he told me, ‘my main family of long distance racers are the late Eric Cannon of Wormley bloodlines, with the sire of the loft being ‘The Old Cannon Cock’, which must be described as a champion breeder having produced a long list of premier racers from 550 miles. This handsome blue cock was bred by Keith and Betty Mott in 2004 from their Number Three Eric Cannon stock pair and he is a grandson of Champion ‘Culmer Sam’ and Champion ‘Culmer Bess’, the NFC Pau Merit Award winner. ‘The Old Cannon Cock’ is a full brother to the Eric Cannon stock cock, ‘Foxwarren Fred’, who is the sire of many premier long distance champions including: 1st Federation Bourges (581 miles), 2nd Federation Bourges, 2nd Federation Bourges, 2nd Federation Bourges, 3rd Federation Bourges, 5th Federation Bourges, 8th Federation Bourges and is grand sire of 1st Amalgamation Bourges (581 miles) in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He is the sire of the champion cock, ‘The Five Times Bourges Cock’, winner of 3rd, 5th, 8th Federation Bourges and sire of 1st Amalgamation Bourges (twice)’.

Brian owns the Post Office in the village of Elstead in Surrey and his very smart little loft is in the garden of the premises. He is only a small team man, about 50 pigeons in all, including old bird racers, young birds and his stock team. The old birds are raced most seasons on a celibate system and the racers only see their mates on race day or returning home from training tosses. Brian says his system is very similar to widowhood, but he races both the hens and cocks. The 2014 season has been raced on widowhood with a couple of spare hens also being raced. Working where his pigeons are kept he can keep to a tight routine, with the cocks getting out for one hour twice a day, the hens getting one to two hours in the middle of the day and young bird team have their fly in the evening. They are fed on Countrywide Super widowhood mix. They also get, G10 Pellets, minerals and Osmonds purifier is added to the drinking water once a week. Brian tells me no medication is used in the off season, but during the racing season he has a medication regime. The team is raced every week up to the second channel race then bi-weekly. In the week between races the birds get one or two training tosses from about 30 miles, if possible into the wind regardless of direction. His young birds receive ten tosses and then three or four races, before being stopped to finish their very important moult.

Prior to starting up with pigeons at Elstead in 2004 Brian had racing pigeon in New Zealand where he had lived most of his life before returning to England permanently, the country of his birth. In New Zealand he had pigeons off and on since he was eleven years old and tells me he had some good success at times. Two memorable races in New Zealand were in 1994 when he was 2nd, 3rd Young Birds National and 1st Section, 2nd overall Auckland Federation Timaru (560 miles), with the same pigeon recording 5th Section, 5th overall in the same race the following year, which was flown on the day in 13 hours 26 minutes. He also still holds the record in one club he belonged to, when his pigeon flew 453 miles in 8 hours 27 minutes. In the later years of his New Zealand pigeon racing he flew in partnership with Digby Reiman, under the flying name of Royal Oak Lofts and scored numerous positions including 3rd, 4th, 6th Auckland Futurity, 3rd Young Bird National on a hard day and 2nd section, 2nd Federation overall Timaru (560 miles).

There you have it, a small team fanciers scoring big in the very hard 2014 NFC Tarbes Grand National. That’s our article for this week! I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

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