Press Reports 2017

The Midlands National AGM

‘It’s all change at the Top’

After receiving the resignation of the long standing President Roy Jones due to health reasons the MNFC has been forced like the present Theresa May conservative Government to have a ‘reshuffle’.

I say reshuffle because by and large the personnel remains the same with Tony Whitehurst moving up from Chairman to take the Presidency and Geoff Spooner another long servant term taking the Senior vice President role. The Chairman’s position is now to be filled by Peter Humphries with Gary Daykin taking on the position of Vice Chairman.

The other positions remained as last year with the exception of the late Don Mackay and Eric Millner who will both be sadly missed with Alistair Ewart being added to the existing list of Vice Presidents.  The committee was bolstered by the election of four new members in the form of J. Wooff  A Seymour, G Jakings and S McCurry who replace Brian Smith and Jos Mee who both have decided to step down. At this point we welcome these new Committee people but I would urge more Western sided volunteers to step up to the mark to offer a more balanced number of delegates to represent the welfare of their sections because at the present time we have no Committee men/women from the NNW, West, NC and the ENE sections. It would be wonderful to see this matter redressed in the near future. So if you reside from any of these areas please consider if you can offer something to both your section and the Club over all because ‘YOUR SECTION NEEDS YOU!’

The decision was made in recognition of the fine long term service of Roy Jones the outgoing President that the Committee have made him both a Life Vice President and Co-Patron of the Club alongside the present Patron Michael Massarella.Right now on to the 2018 AGM Propositions    

  1. Failed Carried   3. Carried   4. Failed   5. Carried   6. Carried   7. Carried
  2. Failed 9. Failed 10. Carried   11. Failed   12.Failed   13. Failed   14. Carried. The full voting figures will be on view at the Blackpool show.

I must admit that I couldn’t help but have a little smile when I heard that the members wanted the leaderboard onto the website more promptly in 2018 but then decided to vote for the verification time back to 60 minutes. Surely these two proposals fly in the face of each other!

2018 Race Programme

Old Birds  Carentan, Fougeres, Ancenis, Bordeaux & Vire.  Commencing on the 19th May

Young Birds Chale 25th August and Falaise 8th September. The Treble Chance race is to be flown in conjunction with the Falaise race.

Marking station change

The marking station at Hucknall is no longer available for 2018 but talks are taking place to move to the ‘Tally Ho’ in Carlton. This will be confirmed ASAP.

2018 Racing

Planned improvements for the Race results and Cheque Payments in 2018 are being put in place for the coming season and the passing of Proposal  2 to get the clock envelopes to the Race Secretary within 72 hours after the closure of a race should help the situation greatly because we can’t finalise a race when there are still envelopes AWOL. 

I think that is about it for now, hopefully we will meet up with many of you at Blackpool next week where we will have the 2018 rings and Gold Rings available and the Loft Managers will be there to have a chat with interested parties and hand out entry forms and take your bookings. The places are selling very well but at the moment we still have places available.

                                                                                Mike Lakin


The Midlands National One Loft Race

‘Reflections and Resolutions’


Now that the dust has settled on the 2017 One Loft Race Series I thought that it was a good time to talk to Ian (Snooker) and Alan the Loft Management team to glean their thoughts after their first year into the job.

 As I know both of them well I knew that they would be open and honest in their answers and they didn’t let me down as you can now read all about here. My first question was did you make any errors? They both laughed out loud at that one, then Alan said ‘’yes one or two things’’ and Ian nodded his head in agreement. I was eager to hear about these issues and Ian commented ‘’ we didn’t fully realise though we perhaps should have done in regard to the dangers of cross infections among the many entrants and in those early days we had to watch the youngsters like ‘hawks’. After screening tests being carried out the person who carried out the tests told me that there hadn’t been enough money printed to lure him to take on our job! This though was invaluable advice and with the help of our sponsors Schroeder-Tollisan’s medication the health issues were soon resolved and there was no more major problems during the remainder of the year.’’ I can confirm this fact as I both saw the inmates myself on my regular visits and heard the positive comments made by the many visitors who viewed the birds in the aviaries.

  ‘’Our only other real mistake was made when due to the poor weather we finally held the last ‘Hotspot Race’ on the Friday morning  which we now realise was a huge error of judgement because though the weather was fine that day we never expected the size of the aerial hazards posed by the hawks that now fill our skies’’. I was a little puzzled by this comment because these air borne predators are out hunting seven days a week surely? Alan was quick to reply saying ‘’ That’s what we thought but after talking to one of people who had entered our race when he commented after the race turned out to be a very poor one, he said ‘I thought you might catch a bad ‘un because on a Friday there are very few pigeons being trained leaving yours at the mercy of the hawks!’ At the time we pooh, poohed the comments but over the next few days when we had so many reports of dead and injured birds near to the liberation point that the gentleman’s opinion was probably ‘spot on’. This was a real kick in the teeth because prior to that ill-fated day our birdage figures, pigeon for pigeon was the best of any of the other UK One Loft races.’’ Ian added ‘’This was the reason why we made the decision to postpone the final race from Carentan to allow the surviving birds precious time to recuperate because the welfare of the pigeons in our care is our number one priority. A couple of people criticised our decision but we are sure that we made the right call.’’ I think that the fact which highlights the lads opinions is that from the final French racepoint saw in excess of 50% of the entrants successfully complete the last hurdle on a far from easy day and believe me it is always a massive challenge for novice birds in the year of their birth.

  Having now discussed the 2017 season, I wanted to learn more about the plans for 2018 and asked what changes this year’s competitors can look forward too?    ‘’ Well first of all we will be keeping each week’s arrivals in ‘quarantine’ and we will allow the new arrivals a few days to settle before giving them their first paramyxo inoculation. We consider that it must be very stressful for babies being delivered especially by couriers and so with this in mind all the birds will receive for the first days is a disinfectant treatment in the water because too much medication could well have a negative effect on their immune system. This will mean that any health problems will only affect a small percentage of the loft’s inmates and will make control of a problem easier to achieve. The birds will only be allowed to mix with the other inmates after their inoculation injection and they have been screened. It is hoped that if this process is adopted that the need to turn to medication will be kept to an absolute minimum. ’’

  Another big plus is the fact that there is a new One Loft site which can be found on the MNFC’s website where an entry form can be downloaded and which should provide a far better experience for contestants because the Club realise that the old one left plenty to be desired. Once again it is expected that the popular Facebook page will be up and running thanks to the efforts of Dave Banks who did us a great job last year.

  On the topic of training the management team say that the birds will receive a similar number of 35 training flights but more of these tosses are planned to be carried out at the weekends which will prepare the birds better for the trials which will surely awaits because training flights on a Saturday will mean that the birds will get blundged up with other birds heading for many different locations. I will let Ian explain in more detail. ‘’when we started the training we split the birds up into batches of 50 or so birds each time and when we started liberating them all together at first it worked well with the pigeons dropping on the loft in large numbers. Soon though we hit on a toss where the birds struggled and they only came home in dribs and drabs over some 14 days or so and we thought that this mishap would be the making of the birds after a few days rest. The first two ‘Hotspot’ races saw the birds home in fine style with the birds falling in like ‘confetti’ but the last ‘Hotspot’ told us that the birds need more big number training flights and we intend to do just that in the coming year and in return we expect to see a decrease in losses in the long run.’’

 As I said earlier in this piece Alan Windsor and Ian Fradley are both fiercely competitive and they will ‘leave no stone unturned’ in their quest to offer the people who enter in the Midlands National’s One Loft Races the very best possible experience in One Loft racing. I know that the management team are delighted with the response from many of last year’s entrants who have signed up once again and one gentleman’s comment in particular stands out which was ‘I lost my birds last time but I shall be sending another and hopefully better team to the 2018 race series.’

                                                                                                                     Mike Lakin