Monday, 31 August 2009

We got 1!

Yep we got one this morning! 10391 managed to get home and recorded 422nd position out of the 754 entries. There are still 324 birds still missing, but more are working back all the time. I am hopeful the other Rasbull Lofts entries make it back as well.

Not this year!

It turned out to be a mixed sort of day at the Europa Classic. We arrived at the lofts at 11.30am and there were quite a lot of people milling around buzzing with excitement. I had 3 birds in the race and was excited as anyone! We waited for the birds arrival and sure enough as I suspected 15 birds come together. It was a race for the traps and on running into the marquee I could see Rasbull Lofts entries were not among this initial batch. Batches kept coming all afternoon but still no Rasbull Rocket managed to find their way onto the clocking system. By the time we left 270 birds out of the 754 birds had made it home. I am quite happy that all 3 got to this stage but disappointed at least one hasn't made it home. I know some more have arrived this morning but they have not updated the website result yet so there is still time!
The auction for the South West One Loft race winners was also held and I purchased 2 nice hens, one finishing 7th Open, 7th Ace bird, and the other 19th Open, 15th Ace bird. However, my luck was to change as on leaving the base of the box had become damp, and the 19th open bird flew out and into distance! I have emailed the race organiser and hope the gallant little hen makes it back to Plymouth. So I hope to get an email saying she has made it home.
The free booze went down very well and we all had a good time, although the only 1 meal per person was a bit poor after last years all you could eat!!
I will be making some sweeping changes to the birds in the loft after this result. The birds were sent especially to test the young and on this showing they have been found wanting. So the parents and a few others will be making way in the loft for replacements that are going to be brought in. I will not tolerate losing - Rasbull Lofts - Defeat is not an option and therefore its up to me to put this right. All those birds were treated the same, and some made it home, my 3 didn't!! So I will need to review each and every bird in the loft and weed out any that have fallen short of meeting the standards I have set and that I most definitely demand!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Its time!

Well its the night before the biggest race of the season - The Europa Classic. I have just checked and there are 754 birds that have been marked for the Final Race. I am planning on leaving to go to the lofts to await the winners early tomorrow morning. They are looking at liberating at 6.30am if the weather is good. A big crowd I am sure will be there and to have 3 birds in the race that I have actually bred is quite special. The distance is 285 miles and this is sort of distance the birds I have bred should really excel at. They have not really been on the button in the sprint races but you dont get Paula Radclife winning a 100m race do you? Horses for courses and my birds are in this race at their optimal distance, make no mistake about that!

My own birds are relaxing around the loft, heavily moulting. They have not been exercising much which is a concern and with Swindon (76 miles) next week, at this moment there is a doubt if they will go as they are not race fit. I may wait until two weeks after that and put them into Newbury (97 miles). This way I will have time to give them some road work to make them fly and get them properly prepared for the race. They will be right when they go and if not they will remain in the loft.

Well good luck to my 3 tomorrow and everyone else who has pigeon/pigeons in the race! May the best bird win!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Fingers Crossed!

The final race of the Europa Classic is going to be held on Sunday 30th August. I am over the moon that all baring a disaster in one of the few remaining training tosses, I will have 3 entries in the final race. I only sent 3 down and not have lost one I am over the moon. I hope they do themselves justice now come Sunday. The race distance has been increased to around 285 miles so going to be stiff test for the birds. They have flown 160 miles twice since being in the lofts. This extra 125 miles will certainly test them. But that is what they were sent for. I am planning on going down with my brother Neil. A good day is guaranteed and the excitement waiting for the birds is second to none, especially when £30,000 is at stake!!

In my own loft, the birds have been kept in for most of the last two weeks. They will probably not go to this weeks race Folkstone(200 miles) as bad weather is forecast for Saturday and I am the Europa Classic on Sunday. So they will probably go to the following weeks race from Swindon if all goes to plan.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Funny Old Race!

This weeks race took place from Epsom and to say it was an odd race is an understatement. The distance to myself is 141 miles, but I didnt have a bird for just over 5 hours!! Other people in my club were in the same boat. One lad who has his birds bang in form and knocking on the door had 2 out of 24 come knock off. Another friend in the club had 1 out 7! I ended the day with 3 out of 4 back. I am quite happy they keep coming but they certainly aint racing at the moment! I think I am going to give them a rest this week (Maidstone - 176 miles) and skip them to Folkestone the following week, 200 miles. I am still undecided but thats whats in my mind at the moment.
The Europa final race has now been confirmed at being around the 275 miles mark instead of the 240 miles. I think this is a lot better and should give for a better race with a proper and worthy winner being found. I still have all 3 in the loft, so should have 3 chances come the final race as long as there are no mishaps in training now before the 30th August!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Oh well!

The Europa One Loft Race held their final hotspot race today from 160 miles, and although the results were some what disappointing at 466th, 549th, 561st out of the 759 birds left in the race they were only 5 minutes behind the race winner. Still all to play for. It appears the organisers are looking to extend the final race to prevent a big batch arriving on race day and to make a true race of the final distance. I am all for the further racepoint (Edinburgh) but we will have an update early next week I am told.

My own youngsters have not been out much this week, although have had 3 short training tosses to 10 miles, just to sharpen them up and getting them to race home rather than just ambling. I hope to take them again tomorrow and hopefully again Saturday morning. They are looking quite well in themselves. The race from Epsom (141 miles) has been put back to Sunday now so basketing is on Saturday again this week.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Mixed bag!

Well today has been interesting if somewhat disappointing! The birds were sent last night to be marked and I was quite happy with their condition even though they had only been out of the loft for 2 training tosses last week (Wednesday and Thursday) with no loft exercise at all! The club sent 117 birds to Newbury, 97 miles, and I was hoping to be closer than I was last race (10 mins behind the winner). The birds were liberated at 7am and at 9.26am 2 birds circled the loft and landed on the trap. 93 and 78 were both timed in and at that point I was quite excited I felt I had 2 good birds! There velocities were 1170 and 1163. However, when getting to the club most members had timed in around the 9.00 - 9.08 mark. Allowing my overfly of 9 mins that still put me 15 mins behind the winner. So I was left quite disappointed with that result. I had 4 out of 5, but my first bird home on 2 previous races is missing. I hope she works back tonight or tomorrow but deep down fear the worst for her!

They have exercised around the loft tonight for 30 mins and on trapping were fed as much as they wanted. I am going to try and give plenty of loft exercise now this week and get them right for next weeks race. I will try to take the birds training a few times in the week as well. Next weeks race is Epsom 140 miles to me. The further the birds go the more it benefits me, due to my lack of drag. The further from the Severn bridge the birds go the more chance of working into smaller batches and then finding a truer line of flight than following the bunch into the valleys and then having to banana back to Brecon.
I am going to start training the remainder of the youngsters this coming week as well. There is 8 in total who can now start to be trained and I am hoping to put these into the comeback races at the end of September.
The bird Niddy purchased in the breeder / buyer who is a full brother to my 2nd bird today and nestmate to my 4th bird done ok for him. Having his first race today he was Niddy's 2nd bird out of the 10 that Niddy sent. I am going to look to purchase a top scoring hen at the Europa Classic to pair to the father of these birds and hope to enter one of the youngsters in the Europa Classic 2010 next year. I couldnt put one in this year from him as the dates of the pairings were all wrong for him. Will be interesting to see how this cock does for Niddy over the remainder of the season.

The one loft birds had there 4th Hotspot Friday. My first bird home was (84) and he was 204th, (83) was 315th and (91) was 502nd out of the 815 birds entered. I was quite happy with that result with (84) being just 4 minutes behind the winner from 160 miles! I am looking forward to the final hotspot and the final race. I was looking through the ring list and there are not many fanciers who still have all the birds they sent still in the loft, so I am quite proud of that fact.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

What a difference!

I am so glad I didnt send last week and chose to treat the birds for Young Bird Sickness. The birds although flying well and exercising around the loft just didnt seem quite right last week. I decided to forfeit the race and retreat the team for YBS. Feeding the team tonight, this decision has proved to be correct with the team looking the best they have done for a long while. The majority of the team are now gleaming in feather quality. There is still one or two to come back into condition, but over the next few days have no doubt they will. The problem I seem to have now is the race being on Saturday and the birds have had no exercise since last Thursday! This is a concern and if they fail to race this week (97 miles) the following weeks race is from 140 miles. I only have wednesday and Thursday to get them out and exercising. Considering they are all still not 100%, I am unsure what to do. I will wait to see how they are again tomorrow afternoon and I might let them out for loft exercise in the evening, depending on how they go I might then give them a training toss on Thursday. But any concern and they will not go again this week and I will jump them upto 140 miles.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Always next week!

This weeks race from Newbury was put back until Sunday due to the weather. The birds have been to Shirenewton (40 miles) twice this week and beat us home on both occasions. However, I am not entirely happy with the current condition of the loft and feel there is still a touch of the Young Bird Sickness lurking. I have taken to the step to treat the birds instead of sending. There is another Newbury next week so there is no problem. The birds had a feed last night but still had food in their crops this morning so I have decided to treat for Young Bird Sickness again. I was the only member in the club to have 100% returns last week so think this will soon sort itself out and the team will be back better than ever for next weeks race. The birds are currently locked in individual boxes and each will be monitored seperately. I will look to give the team loft exercise the coming week with a training toss around Thursday if all is well!

The Europa Classic 3rd hotspot took place on Friday with Rasbull Lofts having all 3 home which is pleasing but as yet they are not knocking on the door. 425th was our best position from the 938 birds that were basketed. I hope this will improve for the longer races. I think this shows the need to bring in some stock with out and out sprint in the blood. I seem to have consistency, but appear to be lacking enough pace. So in the winter months I will work out a plan to correct this. This is one of the main reasons I chose to enter the race so I could test my birds to see how they compared to birds on an equal footing. So far it has been very interesting!