success at more than 850 miles.
interview with Trevor ROBINSON of Hull
2nd North section BICC Barcelona International 2013.
Winning the Jim Emerton Trophy for Longest
Flying Bird in Race time from Barcelona
with the BICC.
Trevor Robinson holding 1st & 2nd North section BICC Barcelona
subject of this interview has, over the years, racked up
an impressive list of wins in long distance races right through to Barcelona at more than 850 miles racing pigeons
loft on the east coast of Yorkshire.
these long distance wins is 1st Open BICC Marseille at
750+ miles a few years back. Coming right up
to date and the 2013 season saw Trevor clock two pigeons- a mated pair
Barcelona International race to win 1st & 2nd section BICC and the
presented Jim Emerton £1000 Trophy
the longest flying pigeon in race time with the BICC.
This is what Trevor wrote
regarding his latest marathon
find brief details of my 1st and
2nd North section Barcelona
birds. Both birds were mated together for this race - making it simpler
prepare them. 1st section is a three year old blue chequer cock bred
Emiel Denys cock bird purchased at Blackpool.
The dam was a gift bird given to me by L.Ph. Hoogervorst of Holland. As
bird it had three races of 100 miles, as a yearling one race at 100
over the channel at 320 miles, as a two year old eight races to 200
four over the channel at 320 to 470 miles.
three inland to 200 mile but came back
with its chest ripped open, it was then stitched up, rested, then given
mile races, then into Barcelona,
sat 14 days.
section bird, a blue chequer hen, bred
from a cock bird gifted from Jim Emerton of York, and a hen with the De Barcelona
Aarden lines. This hen had flown the channel 14 times including
2011 and 2012, I felt it had one more effort to get in the results from
Barcelona, so it had three 100 mile club races, then a 35 mile toss
for the last four weeks, then into Barcelona, 854 miles.
racing is to me not about glory, but a
personal satisfaction of seeing the end result. My partner, Margaret,
myself, will always remember this week".
following is a brief interview with Trevor in which he gives a little
information on his background in the sport and how he set about
impressive team of marathon racers.
live in Patrington, a village north of the
river Humber and twenty miles east of Hull.
I started like most people did over fifty years ago with one or two
an orange box that was next for firewood. I would be about twelve or
and with my twin brother over the next few years the "loft"
progressed to a tin water tank to a small chicken hut on four-foot
was no club in the area but about a dozen people had pigeons, mainly
and crosses. Four or five people in the area started to purchase birds
names such as JOHNSTONE, MUNDELL, both of Larne Northern Ireland, MAJOR OSMAN, TOMMY BUCK,
LIVERPOOL, JOHN McALPINE OF ARMADALE, SCOTLAND and FRANK GEORGE
NORTHANTS. In the 1960's I joined the forces and while in the forces I
visit Jack Holmes of Abergavenny South Wales. I remember going with
Jack to the
National north road marking and seeing those Lerwick 600mile pigeons,
bars were outstanding. This I believe is when I became interested in
racing although it would be many years before I tried it. It was also
leave in 1964 that I met Enid who became my wife and enabled me to
hobby that gave me much pleasure. In 1970 I came out of the forces and
birds with my elder brother, as my twin brother had married and moved
the area. We enjoyed some good times in the seventies.
18ft loft was purchased and this is the same
loft that I have today. Due to my work from 1982 I was based in Manchester, I
birds on a Sunday night and never saw them until they came home from
on a Saturday. I assessed form, made out the race sheets, left any feed
and put coloured rings on cocks and hens for Enid to basket. I still found time to
after my own and my parent’s gardens and Sunday was our family
day out up to Scarborough or
Bridlington. Into the 1990s and with the
family grown up life was more genteel. Although racing with the NFC due
being away in the week, only the odd races were participated in. Club
north and south was still enjoyed.
By the year 2002
aware of the time being away from Enid
and I decided to retire, I gave due notice at work and retired in 2003.
Trevor and Enid's retirement together was short lived as Enid developed
leukaemia and passed away in
are your lofts made of and how big are they.
My racing loft is
18' by 6'
and I have the "coal bunker” 6’ by 3 1/2' with a 3' by 3'
aviary over the
coalbunker. This was intended for retired birds. but soon became
do you control the ventilation in your loft.
The front of the
west, and I have wire mesh at the front under the landing board about 2
in height. At the rear a six-inch gap at the top covered in wire
fixed lower. I do not change it summer or winter.
families of pigeons do you keep?
A mixed family
distance in mind containing the stock and lines of Jim Biss, Van
Wegan, Jan Aarden and a touch of Van Hee and Kirkpatrick plus a blend
AND RACE PREPARATION/PLANNING
it comes to breeding do you line-breed or use a first cross or just
winners to winners.
I put my stock
what I think, it maybe line or a first cross, depends how I feel at the
The race team is "help yourself ". This was to make it easy for Enid when I was
With an experienced race team, some pairs are together for three or
and go to the same race points. This takes a lot of problems out of the
do you mate your pigeons.
are paired in the
first week of February and the race team around the last week in March.
breed to win young bird races, and the old bird race team will be ready
many stock birds do you keep and do you breed off your race team.
What you would
like to do
and what you can do due to your loft space are two different things. I
between seven and ten pairs of stock birds. I also breed of selected
pairs. You should be able to breed eight youngsters to race from a
As mentioned earlier at the end of the third year you should have seen
something to please you. if not its your decision.
system do you employ from mating until the first race.
Due to pairing up in March the birds are still on eggs or feeding young
first three races.
is the farthest distance that you would
train your old birds or young birds?
Due to my
location I have
to drive 100 miles to get a 30mile on line training toss, so I do not
very much. Old birds and young would be about 50 miles depending on
thought they needed.
you breed off the top widowhood cocks at the end of the season.
I do not plan and
the birds when racing has finished. However I always have about eight
late breds from certain birds. Late breds must be handled correctly or
lose them the following year.
do you race your pigeons and how many.
I race widowhood,
cocks and twenty hens with maybe a dozen spare racing to the young bird
you use any floor dressing .
I have been using
and in winter clean out once a week or sometimes two weeks, the perches
day and during racing it will be each one or two days, again with
do you feed the cocks and what do you feed them on.
I feed cocks and
a day when racing. I buy a branded mix and also separate corns and then
the pigeons need any special treatment on their return from the race.
Normal races on return
the birds always have clean water,
nothing added, light feed Sunday bath time for a couple of hours. If it
been a hard race, they maybe kept in on the Sunday, so Monday becomes
channel races 260 to 373 are used as part
of the build up. However my yearling team would be going to these
up to 550 mile and I would be looking to do well in them. If the races
are not too
hard , then the birds can go each fortnight to the channel. One year
races were 373, 460, 363, and 722 miles for the first three races I
average of ten birds to each race and dropped three in total. Four went
the 722 mile and came on the first race day.
If you lose some
certain sex its not the end of the world. You can use the "first come
first served" system. I do not see this as a big problem, just
to think about. You have lost them so its no good moaning about it.
you treat pigeons differently with their preparation for National,
The birds are
differently as the races progress to the distance you have in mind. the
exercise and rest is changed to suit the team you are preparing.
you think a pigeon is able to compete at both short and long distance
Some pigeons do
win at both
short and long races. However if I came up against a dedicated sprint
250miles) he would beat me each time. If the same birds went to the
mile I would back myself. It is not always the birds; it is the
preparing a distance bird over the three years for its ultimate goal
the difference. On a good race day with little helping wind 650 miles
achieved, the norm would be around the 550 mark. IT all depends on the
time and weather on route.
As I am
interested in the
distance races, I am looking at them all to improve as the distance
Any winners under the 500mile still go to the distance races, which are
600-850 mile races.
far do you race your yearlings.
will have at
least two 320-370 miles races. Most will have three or four between
miles. Two or three, depending on the season I am having, will go to
608mile race point.
races do you send your long distance candidates in preparation for
This depends on
and the severity of the races. They will have about three inland races
180-mile point, then two or three selected races around the 350-450ml
have to be flexible to meet situations on the condition of the birds.
For the long
you already have an experienced team or you should, of two, three,
four-year-old birds. You must have them what I call "fit at home"
then you select the race points inland and channel. My birds do not go
widowhood until after the first two or three inland races. Selected
sent to, this is to give "time on wing". I like a seven to eight hour
race for all distance candidates, maybe two if it suits them. For
feeding I am
not a small feed man and I may feed beans more than some. Each fancier
have his own ideas. If not, look, listen & learn.
I race my young
this is more for education. They fly to the perch, and if they win it's
but I do not put any future potential on a young bird to win. I like
to have three or four races to the 150mile point. Then I will stop half
them, the rest will be stopped when I feel it is right.
I treat for
worms. If a bird goes off (and you can tell if it going to
would dispose of it. In the past I have treated a few just to see how
would perform to. They will do the easy races, but the first 350 plus
enders they will go down.
I don’t use
system, if I wanted to have a go at the young bird races, then I would
have them on it.
My young birds
are fed for
the development for the future. I do not break them down, race to the
or give small seed. They are under control but never starved.
All the birds
that I winter
I am happy with plus the few late breds that I always have and any that
check will be disposed of, this though is very rare. For the following
thoughts are very simple, the birds are a year older and go onto the
stage. At two years it’s just what distance race they will be
650-850miles. As I am going for the distance, I do not have to worry
other fanciers should do. I can only inform them what I do. Once the
over the birds go on 40% barley and the loft is dry. The birds are let
three or four times a week, but not in strong winds or misty weather. I
like them too fit in winter, other people do, that’s the enigma
of the sport,
what suits one person does not suit another.
I also use Cider
because I have a cup as well!
have it then. The methods of a man who has single mindedly set his
stall out to
win at the extreme distance and who has certainly achieved his aims.
Congratulations Trevor on your continued success in marathon pigeon
thanks to Cameron and Les at Elimar for help in producing this article.