R. Pearmain & Son of Wickford.
It ‘s the second time in as many seasons I have paid a visit to the loft of Dick & Steve Pearmain in Wickford. In 2013 they won the British International Championship Club from Perpignan, 618 miles, with a hen called “Donegal Mary” and now in 2014 they have also won first and tenth open positions in the British International Championship Club from Marseille, a distance of 639 miles.
First to the Wickford loft was a five year old hen called “Donegal Girl” who was bred from a direct Nico Volken’s cock when paired to a Geoff Hunt hen, via Alan Parker, which won eighth open British Barcelona Club from Palomos in 2001. The tenth placed hen, also a five year old, called “Marseille Maur” is bred from a son of Barbarella when paired to a daughter of Lance both owned and raced by Nico Volkens.
Marseille Maur, for her achievements, is now in line to receive a meritious award for being three times in the top fifteen of a British International Championship Club race. In 2012 she won, 15th Open Marseille, in 2013, 5th Open Marseille and now in 2014 she is placed in tenth open position. For an International race of 639 miles, being liberated amongst thousands of pigeons, going in all directions to other participating countries and in three consecutive years, it is a fantastic achievement indeed.
After the 2014 liberation in Marseille, the weather turned very poor in the north of France on the evening of the first day and very few pigeons were timed in the International result by nightfall due to severe thunderstorms. Considering this and the huge disadvantage of the English Channel for the UK birds, both the two pigeons entered by the partners, did very well indeed to arrive on the second day, one around 10 am and the second around 4pm.
Their racing system is timed to provide the birds with the best possible condition during July and August which is when the seven International races they participate in begin. The pigeons are kept separated and flown out on loft exercise until April when they are allowed to couple and incubate their eggs for 12 days. They are then separated and the father and son decide which pigeons are going to be their entries for each race at which time they are set up for the best nest condition possible.
They have several small sections of 8 or 10 nest boxes and they time the pairing of each section to enable them to race their birds for each individual pigeons proven preference. This takes real skill and dedication to learn how to motivate an individual for a specific race, weeks before the event.
Their youngbird team is weaned in July and will not participate in any youngbird racing. Instead private training down to the coast, a distance of 60 miles, is given and a real emphasis is put into finding and creating a pigeon that will fly alone, in strange surroundings, back to their loft in Wickford, Essex. No real importance is placed on speed at this stage and even as yearlings, where they may be sent in the local club, no clock is set to elevate any pressure on the returning pigeons.
Also as youngsters they are basket trained for days at a time, learning to eat, sleep and drink in a race pannier. A method I have also seen at other extreme distance lofts. Sometimes they get so comfortable in the crates that Steve tells me they try to get back in once they are allowed liberty around the loft. For the long days waiting for a liberation at an International race this training will stand them is very good stead so they will not deteriorate in condition and retain their strength prior to the long fly.
Whilst I was looking into the various sections, Steve was pointing out several pigeons in each that had flown and taken multiple prizes in International races up to and over 600 miles. This is a very strong loft of long distance pigeons and only in the budding years of competing at this level and having several top open positions already, including two outright National wins, provides a very bright future for Dick and Steve and I am sure to visit many more times in the near future.
In 2005, they were the first faniers from the UK to import Nico Volken’s pigeons after very careful research of the results of his loft. Time has proven they made a very successful decision as the Nico Volkens birds have made a huge impact on European Long Distance Marathon racing and their influence can be found in most of the very top birds flying these races today.
As an interesting side note;
Barbarella won for Volkens; 86th Nat Bordeaux 590 miles, 6,133b. 88th National Barcelona 780miles 7,491b. 132nd National Perpignan 6,300b and 225th National Barcelona 6,777b. Her sire is Dandy, full brother to Dolly, which is the dam of La Suena Blanca. They are from Vincent (son of Bonte Koppel) & Catherine (dtr of 10/100 Koppel). Catherine is full brother to Superduif ‘058, now owned by Louella Pigeon World, and they in turn are brother and sister to the dam of Amazing Grace. The list goes on – even Brockamps Mistral has 10/100 Volkens blood. Volken’s 4th International from Barcelona in 2014 is 10/100 Koppel breeding and although the weather was poor as they progressed north on the Friday night from Marseille International, Volkens won; 76th, 118th & 248th National for 662miles.