The 2021 racing programme ended at the weekend with the final young bird race from Cheltenham.
It has been one of the best seasons for some time as far as the young birds are concerned with good races and excellent returns.
So it was fingers crossed for the 200-miler from Gloucestershire, which is always something of a test, when they were sent on their way in a light west wind.
It wasn’t a perfect race, with gaps between the flocks and a few empty perches by nightfall, and several birds have been reported in Wales.
Topping the West Cumbria Amalgamation and the Derwent Valley Federation for the first time is the Netherton HS fancier Jason Dempsey.
Officially racing as Dempsey, son and Reay the loft is run by Jason as his son, now 17, no longer shows an interest and his race partner Denis Reay died two years ago.
“Denis actually died two years ago almost to the day. He had two second Feds in the time that he was racing so would be really chuffed to have won one, never mind the Amalgamation. I’m stunned to be honest,” said Jason.
He sent 41 to the race and has six missing with the winner, a red hen sent sitting on eggs.
“She and another hen paired up to the same cock which I Iost three weeks ago and they’ve been on the eggs which were laid after that.
“The winner is bred off two Van den Bulcks I got from Keith Rafferty when he packed in the sport,” he said.
Remarkable the pigeon that topped the West Cumbria Federation was also bred from birds obtained from Keith Rafferty when he called it a day.
Malcolm Dobson and sons Liam and Jackie, along with helper Paul Lyle fly in the Cleator Moor club and their winner, a blue hen has been first or second back to the club over the last three races.
Her sire is a Leo Hermans/Bulck cross from the Rafferty loft and which the Dobsons bought when he packed up. The dam, also a Hermans/Bulck, was given to them by Keith to pair with the cock.
The Amalgamation birds were liberated at 11-15 and the Dobsons clocked their Fed winner just before 3-40pm after a fly of 190 miles.
The Amalgamation winner, flying 12 miles further was clocked at 3-55pm covering the distance at 43mph.
Although Saturday’s was the final programmed race for the Amalgamation there’s still one more big event in the pigeon calendar – the Cleator Moor A ring race which is being staged this week-end.
The race will be from Weymouth and the birds are being transported by the Central Lancashire Combine.
WEST CUMBRIA AMALGAMATION (1,453 birds): 1, Dempsey, son and Reay (Netherton) 1269; 2, 3,Martindale and Lawman (Workington Victoria) 1268.7, 1268.6; 4,6, N. and G. Wordsworth (Harrington Central) 1268, 1266; 5, McLuckie bros (Workington SL) 1267
DERWENT VALLEY FEDERATION (848 birds): 1, Dempsey, son and Reay (Netherton) 1269; 2, 3,Martindale and Lawman (Workington Victoria) 1268.7, 1268.6; 4,6, N. and G. Wordsworth (Harrington Central) 1268, 1266; 5, McLuckie bros (Workington SL) 1267.
CUMBERLAND SOCIAL CIRCLE (16 sent 32): 1,Martindale and Lawman 1262; 2,Nelsonand Crellin 1259; 3, Todhunter and Grisedale 1255; 4,McLuckie bros 1246; 5, J. Devlin 1245; 6,Berwick and co 1235.
HARRINGTON CENTRAL (9 sent 162): 1, 2, 3, 6, N. and G. Wordsworth 1268, 1266, 1262, 1244; 4, 5, J. Devlin 1261,1245.
WORKINGTON VICTORIA (8 sent 266): 1, 3, 4, Martindale and Lawman 1272.2, 1272.06,1269; 2,McLuckie bros 1272.1; 5,Varty,son and grandson 1268; 6, Evans and Abraham 1267.
WORKINGTON SOCIAL LIMIT (5 sent 79): 1,3,5, McLuckie bros 1267, 1261, 1255; 2, 4, G. Best 1262, 1257; 6, Mr and Mrs Walters and son 1247.
WEST CUMBRIA FEDERATION (605 birds): 1, Dobson and sons (Cleator Moor) 1262.7; 2,3, Rodgers and Benn (Cleator Moor) 1262.2, 1262.1; 4, 6.D.Harrison and son (Egremont) 1262.03, 1261; 5,Graham and co (Cleator Moor) 1262.02.
CLESATOR MOOR (9 sent 319): 1,Dobson and sons 1264.4; 2,3, 6, Rodgers and Benn 1264.1, 1264.04, 1257.8; 4, Graham and co 1263; 5, Nolan, Hetherington, Coultas and Easdon 1257.9.
EGREMONT RANGERS (66 birds): 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, D. Harrison and son 1262, 1261, 1245, 1224.07, 1224; 3,Wilson and Buchanan 1257.