A Worksop pigeon flyer has swooped on a prestigious title thanks to an incredible performance in a race from France.
Richard Turner had four birds in the top 10 at the Midlands National, despite over 3,500 pigeons being entered in the 276-mile ‘young bird’ race from Carentan.
The 37-year-old, originally from Barnsley, is the club secretary for Manton Inn Homing Society.
And he told the Guardian it’s been a great year for his loft.
“I’ve done well in other classic races, in Notts, Derbyshire and Yorkshire, and I’ve won national awards which are given out based on results sent in,” he said.
“But I think this is my best achievement, to win a national is a great achievement, they don’t come around very often.”
Victories are so rare, in fact, that the last time someone from Worksop won a Midlands National the year was 1969.
“It’s the cream of flyers, and the entrants come from quite a big radius, across the midlands and the north, right up to Newcastle,” he said.
Turner admits that he didn’t expect to be crowned champion when he entered the last race on the Midlands National Flying Club calendar in September.
“I was just hoping to do well in the North East section.”
“I would have been happy with the top 10 in a section.”
“So it’s unbelievable to win the whole thing really.”
He’s been involved in the sport since he was six years old, thanks to his father, and started flying on his own in 2007.
The race winning birddid the 276-mile trip in seven hours 16 minutes , and the B&Q worker explained that successful pigeons can mean big business.
“In 2008 I sold an Ace Young Bird for £6,000, which is money you can’t turn down really.”
“A guy from Belgium sold his entire loft for around two and a half million Euros, and one bird went for over €150,000.”
While he’s not quite dreaming of making millions from the sport, Turner is hoping to add to his recent glory.
“I’m dedicated, and I want to try and win every race,” he added.