2018 Final Race Report

November 5th, 2018

For the grand finale of the one loft season the 810 birds were all individually hand-checked over by Jeremy and his marking team, to make sure that each bird basketed for the race was 100% healthy and not carrying any injury or ailment. The birds then set off on the 235 mile journey to the town of Alnwick in Northumberland in the North East of England.

The birds arrived on site in plenty of time and before first light, which enabled them to settle and get some rest and a drink before liberation took place.

As first light started to approach and the sky slowly began to lighten, final preparations were made: a forecast of high broken clouds along the line of flight, with a WSW wind forecast for the beginning of the race, turning to a south westerly wind en route (right on their nose). Jeremy made some phone calls to fanciers along the line of flight just to make sure the forecasts were ringing true and the go ahead was given to liberate at 7.00am.

As the morning went on at the lofts, the wind gradually picked up, getting stronger and stronger – which hadn’t been forecast – and it very rarely ceased to blow. It was almost a constant 20-30mph wind blowing head-on into the line of flight, and as the time passed we knew we were in for a real hard working day and the birds were going to have to make every wing beat count!

Finally at 2.42pm we had the first pigeon in sight, all out on its own.

Winning the RPRA One Loft Final Race 2018 – and a staggering £25,000 prize money as well as £459 pool money – was Wentworth Lofts. I had the pleasure of photographing and handling this blue cock, and what a cracker he was. He was entered by Paul Bunclark who gave me the following run down on himself and his winning pigeon.

     “After finishing in the sport in the late 90’s due to work commitments, my enthusiasm was rekindled after reading about one loft races. We bought 2 pigeons at the end of 2013: the dam 2012 pigeon from Allan Jones (a previous RPRA OLR winner) she raced in the RPRA OLR and 2013 yearling season in which she raced with credit and then bought in subsequent auction. The sire is a 2009 pigeon bought from Herbots from the Daniel Beelen auction and is a stunning cock.
     “We only bred 4 pigeons to race in OLR’s in the 2014 season, so we had to buy in 2 pigeons to make the numbers up 4 went to the Somerset OLR and 2 to the Pigeon Pixel OLR in Ireland. We had a great result in the Somerset Final finishing 5th from Ypres. In Ireland in the (mighty NPIA) we had a stunning result 6th section 55th open over 21000 entered. And finished 2nd in the Pigeon Pixel final.
     “In 2015 we had a great result in Ireland winning our first OLR namely the Pigeon Pixel OLR race.
     “In the 2016 season we entered for the first time the RPRA race finishing 12th.
     “In 2017 we entered 2 OLR’s, the RPRA race in which we finished 17th , for the first time we entered the Kalimanci OLR in Bulgaria and a had good result finishing 5th, 2nd ace, 2nd fastest pigeon.
     “Finally, at the 3rd attempt, we managed to win the big one: we couldn’t believe it! After sitting in front of the TV for 4 hours and wondering if the picture was stuck, a pigeon turned up – we waited with baited breath, and then our name went up. Well, everything else went with it. After dancing around the room for ten minutes we still couldn’t believe it, so we phoned 2 or 3 people that were there and it was confirmed. All the above results are from the main 2 pigeons, except the Somerset result.

     “I would like to thank Jeremy Davies and his team who do a great job, especially his blogging which is second to none, which is a big thing in my mind. Richard Faulkner who points me in the right direction in all things race pigeons.
     “And finally I would like to dedicate the race to my dad who passed away in July, missing out on our biggest success to date.”
     Paul Bunclark

2nd place: John Duggan of Cockfield Federation in the West Durham Amalgamation, winning £7,500 with a stunning grizzle.
3rd place: Cannock Chase flyers, winning £4,000.

4th place: The 4 Musketeers, winning £2,500. Below L–R: Roger Hiam (Hebden Bridge), Adrian Leach (Hebden Bridge), Brian Clennan (Whitby), Bob Lee (Sutton-in-Craven).




5th place: Simply the Best, winning £1,500 in the final race, as well as the highly sought after Ace Pigeon award with the prize of a brand new car.

This magnificent pigeon was entered into the one loft race by Cannock fancier Colin Lloyd (below right) and his syndicate, a very successful fancier in his own right and famed for his family of Cattrysse. Sadly Colin passed away earlier in the year, before he could see the performances his birds would achieve. What makes this all the more special is that Colin also entered birds himself as Cannock Chase Flyers, and if you pay close attention to the ring numbers you will notice there’s only one digit separating the two rings of Simply the Best and 3rd place Cannock Chase Flyers. Myself and all the one loft team would like to send our belated condolences to Colin’s family and friends; what a huge loss to the sport, though I’m sure he would have been absolutely thrilled to have got the performances he did in his final competition.




6th place: Denali, winning £1,000 in final race prize money, as well as £700 in the school prize money. Denali was bred by Stu and Claire Watson from South Bank in Middlesbrough for young fancier Ellie. Here is what Stuart had to say on this fantastic young hen: “Denali NEHU18NY4024 – Sire 16NY4462 bred from full sister Olympic Rosita & son Neiuwe Olympiad this cock is a winner on the road and also has 2x2nd Dam 16ny4452 never raced Daughter box 3 pair which is grandson kittle & gdtr of vale as & blauwe leo the box 3 pair have bred some good pigeons in short space time here including a 1st fed this year. I was asked by Sam Jackson, Ellie’s stepdad, if I would breed her free entry into the RPRA one loft race and was very grateful of the opportunity. A sister to Denali has also won for a friend when bought out of charity auction. In the last 3/4 years in one loft racing I have bred the following with my team of pigeons 1st in the loft OLR, 1st French young bird derby 1st ace 4&5 French young bird derby 2nd MNFC OLR & 1st hotspot 6th rpra & 2nd ace all this gained with only 7 entries from my loft for some friends in the sport, this makes me feel so proud for a little loft”.