NFC Messac Winner’s Report

Category: NFC, Pigeon Racing 01.08.19

The second race of the season for the National Flying Club took place on the 1st of June from Messac, France. A total of 5128 pigeons were entered by 602 members from Scotland, Wales and England which were liberated at 7:15am into a clear blue sky and light south east wind.
Recording the fastest velocity on the day were Underhill & Prettejohn in Plymouth with two sibling hens that are raced on the natural system. Both bred from the very best of long distance bloodlines, these hens share the same parents and are being prepared to race the Tarbes Grand National in a few weeks time. Arriving together and clocking just seconds apart, they won both 1st and 2nd Open for the partnership who had previously been 1st Open National Flying Club Fougeres in 2017.
After rearing a youngster the race teams are separated and the partners practice widowhood for the cocks and natural for the hens. They used to race the roundabout system but Mike felt the hens were not happy and moped about a little so they switched over to natural for the hens team. The hens were obviously very well motivated as one was sent sitting a ten day old youngster and the other had been incubating her eggs for fourteen days.
With Tarbes in mind the long distance loft is populated with some of the very best long distance breeding in the UK today, with an emphasis on two day racing. “Wingdown”, “Little Gem”, “True Grit”, “Legacy”, “Rainy Day Boy” and “Incredible” all feature very strongly in the race team, as only direct children will suffice in the select breeding loft. Indeed the sire of the two hens is “Imperial” a direct son of Louellas “Incredible” a 10 times a National / International prize winner from 997km to 1276km
Including 3 x Barcelona 1276km, 46th National Barcelona 8,042b, 48th National
Montauban 8,346b 997km, 115th International Barcelona 27,566b 1276Km
183rd National St Vincent 6,621b 1107Km. When paired to his own daughter with “Amazing Grace” who flew six times Barcelona and Perpignan 698 miles to 798 miles. The dam “National Treasure” is a hen bred by Alwyn Hill direct out of “Wingdown” 1st sect 2nd Open Tarbes 2808b, 1st sect 4th Open Tarbes 3290b, 2nd sect 7th Open Tarbes 3808b from a distance of 676 miles, when paired to a direct daughter of “Isla’s Rainy Day Boy” 1st sect, 1st National and 1st International Pau. He in turn was paired to the “Rozenbrabd Hen“a direct daughter of “Champion 19” 1st Long distance Champion.
So all in all, the two sisters are extremely well bred for the long distance races but failed to get the memo this past weekend. They obviously broke immediately for home, a trait passed down from their illustrious ancestors no doubt, but in doing so they had to cross 120 miles of sea in order to take the direct line to Plymouth, a leap of faith also demonstrated in their pedigree. The winning hen “Rose”, albeit by a few seconds, was entered into a club show in the winter of 2018 which was judged by Andrew Mabin, who himself is a previous winner of the NFC and was given the grand title of “Best in Show” and “Grace” was given second in the Channel Hens Class so “Andrew really can pick ‘em” said Mike.
Mike and Robbie would like to thank everyone for all the many telephone calls of congratulations and Mike’s neighbour John Vincent who will help with the birds if ever needed.
A long but enjoyable trip for myself on the day after the race and I must say the reception for me in Devon was very warm. They are out on a limb for most of the National races and it is easy to forget just how far west they actually fly. Third open were Mr & Mrs John McClements who arrived to congratulate the boys with Terry Lee also giving out hugs and kisses. I managed to dodge those but received a very nice phone call from committee member Paul Pym to point out the hard work the partnership put into the local clubs and their latest National Flying Club win is well deserved.
Chief Convoyer Dom McCoy sent me the following report of the race liberation; “Firstly, I would like to introduce you to one of our permanent convoyers Nik Booker who will be collecting birds from the EAST side of the country. Nik is very experienced, and I have known him for a good few years. We have worked together on numerous occasions at both federation and combine level and I know everyone will be very happy in the way he will care for your pigeons, he will prove an asset to your NFC convoying team.
A total of 5158 birds were collected from various marking stations with the team working from Tuesday delivering crates to the marking stations, and collecting them full on Thursday whereon both transporters met at around 9.30pm ready to board the Ferry. Unfortunately, at that time we were not able to top up the drinkers before we boarded due to traffic, but as soon as we docked the birds were all given fresh water on three sides of each crate. We waited at the docks for well over an hour to allow all the birds to drink, before we made our way down to Messac, which takes around three and a half hours. As soon as we arrived at Messac Marina the lorries the transporters were reversed down a narrow strip between open fields and the boat marina, which gave us the perfect liberation point. All the eighteen electric fans on both trailers were switched on and were soon doing their job of lowering the temperature and monitoring the humidity. This ensured the inside temperature was around 24 degrees compared a rather sticky 26 degrees outside.
All birds were given plenty to eat early so they would have lots of time to digest their food before the race and afterwards the water was once again filled up to all three sides. The birds were monitored from a short distance and were all seen to be drinking so we left them to relax and had a well deserved coffee ourselves. On regular occasions the water levels were checked and temperature readings were taken which were found to be good, so around 8pm fans were switched off. With the sun going down the birds were left to rest for the night.
Saturday at 4.30 am myself and Nik were up checking for any drinkers that needed to be topped up although as this year we are giving birds water on three sides all crates had water available at all times. 5.45am we made our calls to and from the weather team and various other contacts including our chairman, who was overseeing the race, from who we received valuable reports from various parts of country, along with information from Tony Adams in Southampton, we had a perfect sky for liberation with the channel clear and a light SE wind. We liberated the birds at 7,15 am into a bright blue sky all birds cleared together after two minutes, heading towards home .There were French officials at site taking photos before and after our liberation and they were very happy with the way everything went. Many thanks to all involved in liberation. Dom McCoy and Nik Booker.”
I will of course following up with a comprehensive report of the eighteen sections and if you are in the top five of your section please respond by sending details along with any photos to me Chris Sutton at [email protected] or call 01530 242548.

Amazing Grace
GB17N68002 Head
GB17N68002 Underhill
GB17N68002 Wing
GB17N68047 Head
GB17N68047 Grace
GB17N68047 Wing
GB13Z57598 Imperial
GB11N43052 National Treasure
Underhill and Prettejohn
Underhill Best in Show 2018
Underhill Hen on Youngster

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