Midlands National One Loft ‘Hotspot’ 1 Race

 OLR1  OLR2

 Competitors arriving to view the hotspot race

The arrival of the pigepns from the Hotspot 1 Race flown from Tewksbury Wednesday 16th August.

The first training race of the 2017  series was flown from Tewkesbury on Wednesday the 16th August when the birds were liberated at 9.30am into a moderate Southerly breeze. In view of the losses that all fanciers country wide have had to endure the entry of 310 birds for the race plus another 10 which were deemed as unfit to race as they had only returned in the last couple of days and so it was felt quite wisely by the Management team to allow them to rest and recuperate for the challenges that await later in the series. When one considers that the birds have received over 30 preparatory training flights and there are still nearly ¾ of the original entry still in the loft it is a good indication to both the quality and general condition of the birds. This is testimony that Snook and Alan the Management team are doing an excellent job in their first year in the job.

It was pleasing to see so many entrants and their friends come to watch the birds arrival for this first 72 mile race and many were calculating their arrival time after Snook reported that the birds had taken just half a turn and headed off for home bang on line. With this in mind it was expected for the leading birds to get close to speeds of a mile a minute. They were not to be disappointed when they spotted a large batch of pigeons at 10.40am sky high but they were pipped by a small clique homing below them and it was one of these that went over the pads first at 10.41.17.55 This bird entered by Mr & Mrs John Pratt  achieving a speed of 1777.466 and lifting £681 in prize and pool money. Followed by a Chequer hen belonging to Forge Loft A less than 3 seconds behind taking the £250 prize.

The remaining prize winners were 3rd Paul Lockley £150, 4th P Robinson £100 and Mylie-Jo, David Paine, Mr & Mrs McLaughlin & Son and Connor & Son each winning £50 in prizemoney. It is worth noting that these birds were only split by less than 3 yards with several only a hundredth of a second apart! In total 86 youngsters were clocked in less than a minute behind the leading bird. With over 200 birds back home before 11.00am just 19 minutes behind the leading bird.

A humorous moment was when Alan phoned Beverley his good lady who had accompanied Snook to liberate the pigeons to tell her that the first birds were back and said to her ‘When you get back get straight in the shower and put your perfume on!’

Over the next couple of hours small kits of pigeons arrived home and quite a few that had obviously enjoyed themselves so much that they had flown passed were coming back out of the North. Perhaps these birds will have learned plenty from their mistake and be amongst the leaders from the next ‘Hotspot’ race which is planned for just six days time from Hullavington. By nightfall a mere handful of birds were still AWOL.

This was another big stepping stone leading up to getting as many birds as possible to the Grand final on the 10th September from Coutances in good shape and well prepared and then it will all be down to the ‘weather gods’ and the birds to conquer the severe 277 mile test. Stealing a phrase from the football managers, the one Loft team can also say ‘we train and prepare them but when they cross the white line it’s down to the players’.

Mike Lakin

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Another new starter

The success of the Homing Pigeon Starter Pack. This is part of the 'Flying Back to Naure' project set up by the MNFC. The following video has been produced by Tommy and his family. Apart from the free loft, birds, corn and equipment to get started, there are a number of small fun educational projects to complete as part of the package. Tommy is currently breeding his first pair of birds and generating a presentation to document the life cycle of the birds. This provides a fantastic educational experince which he will be able to use in his English and science lessons. It also helps us display to parents the benefits of having an active hobby based on safe nature in the back garden.  We are currently dealing with several new starters with late breds being sent out to get them up and flying pigeons. Our Secret Messages project in schools has had excellent feedback from staff and it generates lots of interest by young people. I'll add an update of this year's school visits and the responses from schools. The usual response is that pigeons are cool and where can we get some from?  More details of the project can be viewed at http://www.secretmessages.org.uk/untitled/rpra-display-materials/the-homing-pigeon-starter/