1st Section D 1st Open Andrew Mabin of Buckfastleigh
The pigeons were liberated at 6:30 am into a light north east wind and they headed north immediately, and once the leaderboard began to show arrivals it was clear that pigeons flying further north would find it difficult to beat Andrew’s velocity of 1411 yards per minute, flying the 203 miles in four hours thirteen minutes.
The winner of is a little blue hen of the Gribble Choice lines raced by Andrew Mapin. She was racing to eggs having been paired in the corridor of the loft to a new cock, but the twist in the plot, is that her cock was also paired to another hen in his nest box.
His whole team were coupled after the Blackpool Show and although originally raced on roundabout for the earlier races, Andrew choose a his candidates for the Nationals made some pairings. In preparation for the race the winning hen and her new partner were left in the corridor until they went to nest, and although the cock could not see his nest box from the corridor, when the hen was sitting her eggs, his original hen was reintroduced.
They were then sent to the race from Messac, sitting 5 days and with a little jealousy thrown in to boot. When the door to the loft was opened, the nest was right beside it and both the cock and hen were trying to cover the eggs. So, the couple were chosen for the Messac race and motivated accordingly. Andrew says he likes playing around with the yearlings and their final race of the season will be Saintes with the NFC which is 358 miles.
The hen is a “Gribbles Choice” pigeon bred by Phil Bond who won the RPRA one loft race previously and is a club mate of Andrews. He has also made a name for himself in the South Africa One Loft Race and Andrew said he was a master breeder of racing pigeons and was very lucky to have acquired her as a youngster in a club sale.
The pigeons are a base of Jos Thone but he has also paired best to best for years, even if he is trying something else out, if it is good enough he will breed from it. So all in all he has developed his own strain to race to his Devonshire loft.
As others, he has a lot of problems with the Hawks and Falcons and has had to change his system to suit. He will train his young birds because he has to give them some education, but he says he will never train an old bird again. Using club racing to reach peak fitness can take a few weeks longer but well worth the lack of stress in the pigeons.