Trevor Hazell of Sandown, Isle of Wight
For the members of the National Flying Club, the Tarbes race is the Blue Ribbon race of the year and the biggest prize is the coveted Kings Cup. I have been covering this race over the past few years and each gallant winning pigeon has brought their owners to tears when trying to explain the magic of winning this race and this year was no exception. Such is the emotion surrounding this race.
Due to rain at the race point and on route, the liberation was held over for three days, until finally, at 13:30 on the Monday, the race began.
Owing to the distance to all lofts competing in this race it was well known that the pigeons would not make it home on the day of liberation and so it was on Tuesday, when most were due in at work, that the first timings began. Unfortunately, overnight thunderstorms had built up in northern France and the south of England so returns were always going to be erratic, but as always, there are some very gallant pigeons that find a way home and the cream rises to the top.
The winning loft and the first recorded timing was Trevor Hazell who lives on the Isle of Wight. Trevor had to go into work on that day due to unavoidable circumstances so he duly left his daughter to record any bird that arrived. She was happy to help her Dad and did a great job as the first Trevor knew was a local club mate calling him to congratulate him because he was top of the leaderboard on the clubs website.
His daughter had been calling him on his mobile but due to poor reception, she had not been able to get through. She did a great job for Trevor though, as it is a club rule that the first arrival time must be verified within an hour, otherwise it could face disqualification. All details were written down and called in to the Secretary within three minutes!
The winning pigeon called “Alivia-Rose” after Trevors granddaughter, had previously returned from Messac with a damaged leg. So swollen was the leg, just below the ring, he contemplated cutting the ring off. This would obviously have finished her racing days so he left her overnight and to his surprise, she began to look better so all was OK.
Hurting her leg was not the only mishap of that race because her partner, a red cock had been reported in Cardiff and Trevor was told he was too week to get home. The kind Welsh fancier that had recovered him, gave him board and lodgings until such time as he was strong enough to fly home again, but he did not arrive until Alivia Rose had been sent to the race from Tarbes.
So she had been left rearing a single youngster on her own and as she was bred from a previous section winner from Tarbes, she was set up for the race from the beginning of the season, being fed accordingly with Verselle Laga mixtures plus peanuts. When she clocked there had been thunderstorms with hail and she was determined to return as quickly as possible to her youngster and was equally rewarded with the appearance of her partner.
She is bred down from pigeons Trevor bought in an entire clearance sale in Farnborough and indeed he bought the three principle pigeons in the sale. They were purchased because of their distance origin and can be traced back to an American strain called Shoeman’s, which Mr. Osman brought into the country.
A son of one of these pigeons won the National Flying Club section from Tarbes and he was paired to a gift hen from Vince Sheady which subsequently bred Alivia-Rose. She was his only entry for the Saintes National in 2013, such was his faith in her ability and indeed she was the first pigeon to arrive on the Island and finished 30th Section.
She was trained pre season from Christchurch in the mainland die to Trevor working there in the spring but with the pigeons having to run the gauntlet of the Peregrine Falcons along the coastline, this would not normally be done and racing would be the only preparation for the distance. It is indeed a challenge to fly pigeons on the Isle of Wight and conveniences like a simple training spin are taken for granted on the mainland can be a major outlay due to the high ferry charges.
When I arrived, Trevor’s clubmates also began to arrive to congratulate his achievement and although still in a state of shock and disbelief, he and his wife provided refreshments for all, and a very nice afternoon began, talking pigeons on the patio, in the sunshine recounting the many top performances achieved on the island over the years. The name of Trevor Hazell from Sandown shall now go on the Kings Cup and also be recounted for many years to come at such gatherings in the future.
The company of Island fanciers that gathered to honour Trevor’s win were, Christine Broom, Eddie Rann & brother Graham Rann (G Rann & Daughters) Guy Reed & Lee Dyer the Island’s youngest member, at last an injection of youth.
Each of these fanciers have had top honours in racing in the past and were delighted to be there to offer congratulations and of course some big smiles and banter in Trevor’s glorious moment.
The Island has won the Pau National on two other occasions on the day by George Wood & Ken Morey but this is the first time on a split day.
As I headed home on the evening ferry crossing to Portsmouth, a fantastic day in great company was topped of by a beautiful sunset over the Isle of Wight and also when coming into the Portsmouth Harbour.