Press Reports 2017

Race Security and Production of Results

Following normal marking procedure, marking data is extracted from the ETS clock. The marking data is uploaded to the MNFC cloud. At a clock station following the hard copy printout, the data is extracted and sent to the MNFC Race Secretary. The club can process the result much faster and all birds clocked are entered in the full result ensuring ace pigeon results are accurate. The club can run a report which identifies any alterations to chip rings or clock numbers making a very secure race! You can easily produce your own clock station result and upload to your MNFC clock station website. You can login and observe all your performances. If you lose your clock or have it stolen we can identify where and when it is used. This software is free to the MNFC clock stations. If you would like the software please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Outcome of the enquiry after the MNFC race from Ancenis 
' I thought the best way to inform people of what was the probable reason for the recent poor race that the club and it's members birds suffered in our last race from Ancenis.
As you can clearly see the attached report clearly explains that the weather did not turn out in the way that it was forecasted prior to the race. I think that the weather  advisors that we use should be applauded for not attempting to 'gloss over' the actual weather on the day  of liberation. Yes they got it wrong in certain predictions that day of that there is no doubt but this is the first time that they have failed to give the Midlands National an accurate assessment and successful racing over several years of being one of our main weather experts. We all I'm sure wish that in the forthcoming races we once again get back to accurate and reliable forecasts but we should all remember that, a FORECAST IS EXACTLY THAT AND NOT A GUARANTEE OF HOW THE WEATHER WILL TURN OUT.'
Dear All,
Over the course of Friday and the weekend I have attempted to discover from the meteorological angle, why this particular race ended so disappointingly and indeed whether or not it was the weather that was to blame?
I’m going to start with my forecast of the day before and previous to that, because as it turned out it was a pretty well accurate representation of what I subsequently discovered, including the threat of showers forming….  though it did underplay the wind strengths in the Channel. 
Ancenis:  Saturday 1st July 2017:
Current Recommendation – GREEN (AMBER WATCH) – Liberate early if conditions allow at Ancenis. 
Overview:  It’s as it was.  No problems for the UK side of things.  Expect dry conditions here with light and variable winds and broken cloud/sunny spells in all locations.  However, Ancenis is likely to start off cloudy in a light but cool west to north-westerly, which will through the course of the morning mean one or two showers breaking out - light to moderate (not heavy).   Good visibilities for all locations.
Sunday:  Dry and fair.  Only a small light shower risk en-route.  Light NW –W winds.
So, the first thing I can confirm is there were no problems on the UK side of things.  If anything, after a cloudy start to the day for the many it turned out fair to fine, with good sunshine and relatively light winds across the vast majority of areas - though coastal areas did experience WNW/NW/N winds gusting 20-25 mph at times, from mid-morning to the late afternoon. 
The weather in general over the English Channel was fine in terms of it being dry with good visibilities.  I checked Guernsey, Alderney in the west, the IOW and the Greenwich light vessel in the mid-Channel area of the east. The gusty winds were the stand-out (not at all times) but peaks in the morning of 20-25mph and through the afternoon – particularly in the eastern Channel of 25-30mph from the NW > W.  
However, I have saved what I feel was the main contributory factor to the last, not at liberation point but at points north of it.  Ancenis itself remained dry with cloud breaking early to allow for the liberation.  Winds were light W/WSW, but further north things were developing fast and almost as a seemingly organised linear event.  Showers or showery rain/drizzle broke out along an arcing line stretching from Nostang in the southwest to Point-de-Metz and Reims in the northeast – and beyond. Most of this precipitation was light and sporadic, though it was more sustained with some moderate bursts in eastern locations - that is east of Paris. Visibilities however remained good (or moderate at worst). Winds at all stations were not strong, 15mph at their height, broadly from the N or NW – though with some variability in direction.  All areas to the north of this line and to the south remained dry and not in any way hazardous.  
Moving along this line from west to east, here are the reports as I found them (French time)-:
NOSTANG (Brittany):  Light shower 1021-1123 hours. 
RENNES:  Overcast with light rain/drizzle (shower) 0800 hours only. Some mist reported but visibilities no lower than 4.4km. Winds W/WNW 7-12mph.
CAEN:  Shower at 0900 hours only. Overcast. W/WNW winds 10-15mph.  Visibilities no lower than 5km.
LE HARVE: Light rain 0800-1100 hours, Overcast.  Winds NW/NNW 15-20mph. Visibilities over 10km throughout. 
SAINT PHILBERT-SUR-RISLE: Light shower 0930-1025 hours = 0.3mm and Light shower 1120-1215 hours = 0.2mm.   N/NNW winds 5-12 mph.
ORMES:  Light to moderate shower 1211-1217 hours = < 1mm (uncertain data).
ROUEN: Light drizzle 0930-1130. Overcast.  Winds WNW/NW 7-15mph. Visibilities no lower than 3km.
PARIS LE BOURGET: Light rain 0830-1200 hours. Winds W 10-12mph. Visibilities no lower than 4.9km.
PONT-de-METZ:  Rain, on and off 0642-1105 hours 
REIMS:  Rain 0747-1431 hours = 7.1mm (3mm per hour = intensity peak). Winds W/WNW 5mph.
                                                                                       ENGLISH CHANNEL
                                                                                                                                    X PdM
                                                                                         X Le Harve                                                                                  
                                                                               X SPSR                 X Rouen                                            X Reims
                        X Rennes                      X Ormes                                                    X Paris
X Nostang
                        X Ancenis
I conclude by suggesting that the most likely reason for poor returns on this particular day was the advent of a line of showers/rain, which materialised in the main, an hour or so after liberation and manifested as a “wall’ across the northern part of France.  Although not heavy or thundery in nature, the shower wall, accompanied by the broadly WNW winds forced the birds ever eastwards in search of an easier pathway north – which was actually in the direction of the more sustained/moderate rain; let’s call that the “higher wall”.   It’s all by degrees, but this combination is likely to have tasked many of the birds and when they finally managed to fly through the wall, they were probably much further east than they needed to be and soon to be in receipt of another wall by the way of stronger winds over the mid to eastern English Channel, which blowing from the west or northwest at a pace would have been another major homing challenge.  Although I am not aware of the return numbers, my guess is this “double weather wall’ may have proven to be a major obstacle and possibly too much for some of the birds. 
Kind regards
Jim N R Dale
Senior Meteorological Observer

Fougeres 1Fougeres 2b

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Midlands National Flying Club - Ancenis

‘The Johnson Family Show Them the Way Home’


Johnson fam Anc 17
A happy family with their likely MNFC National winner. 


When the strings were cut and the 4,300 plus convoy were sent on their way at 8.15am into a fairly fresh predominantly Northerly breeze it wasn’t envisaged that the birds would struggle in the way that they obviously did. The weather advisors told the race controllers that the only sticking point was at the race point but the cloud cover was correctly predicted to give way to sunshine between 8-9.00am which proved to be the case. Then it was a green light for go with broken cloud and excellent visibility right through and over the channel where the birds would be facing a stiff 18-20 mph wind blowing from the WNW. Once in England it was felt that the lightening wind would have more of a WSW influence to it.

So where did it go wrong? I have heard the rumours of rain enroute but whether this is true I find doubtful though a ‘rogue’ shower is always a possibility. Many experienced channel men are squarely placing the blame on the wind strengths and directions up to and especially on the channel. I do know that a strong Westerly wind on the sea does discourage many pigeons from making a crossing and they tend to ‘chase the coast’ rather than face the open water. I think that the spasmodic arrival times do point that this was in fact the case. With the pigeons clocking up extra miles before the leading birds braved the elements in mid-afternoon. As the attached statement explains I’m sure that the Committee will look more deeply into the matter over the next few days and any findings will be reported back in the full report on the race.

Let’s though give full credit to the birds that conquered an extremely difficult race in particular the race winning White Grizzle hen belonging to Dan, Sharon and their young daughters Libby and Leah. A delighted Dan told me that his probable National winner was sent sitting 14 day old eggs and that she landed to her home loft in Derby at 18.42pm after a near 10 ½ hour flight and her velocity was 1072. I will give more details on the Johnsons champion in the full report along with several other exceptional performances on a very difficult day.

 When you study the attached provisional results send me a mail and a perhaps a photo if your name appears in the top four places of your section to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                                                                                                        Mike Lakin

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