Having enjoyed the euphoria surrounding being crowned King of the North Road after winning the King’s Cup in the North Road Championship Club race from Lerwick, Mick Freeman has paid tribute to one of the men who helped set him on the way to this major success.. Mick, aged 62, was a late arrival to the sport of pigeon racing, and one of the men who helped him get started was his friend Brian Byles who bred him youngsters from his East Anglian Pied birds. Mick has blended these pigeons with Dordins he obtained from a Swansea fancier, and the result has been a King’s Cup winner. Mick says: “I was very grateful to Brian for his help, and for the pigeons he bred for me, at the very beginning, and it is through these birds that the winner was bred.” In turn, Brian is pleased and proud that the offspring of his East Anglian Pieds have help produce a national winner and, on a recent visit to the Freemans’ loft, he was able to handle the bird that is now called Mad Mick 1. Why the unusual name? Well, Mick is known by his friends as Mad Mick (“Bcause I have done a few rum things in my time,” he explains) and he hopes that Mad Mick 1 will be followed by 2, 3 and 4 etc as he continues his plan to build a long distance family. Mad Mick 1 is a three-year-old blue cock bird which won the King’s Cup with a scintillating performance. After a one-day holdover the winning velocity for the 526 miles to Mick’s Norwich loft was 1479 yards per minute, which has prompted the theory that the bird perhaps made much of the trip out to sea where there was the assistance of a north wind. The pigeon had races from Driffield, Whitley Bay and Perth as build-up to the big test, and in 2012 showed a lot of promise in his performance from Thurso, and also flew on the south road from Guernsey as a young bird. Moreover, it is a broken pigeon as Mick and ever-supportive wife Kay moved home half-way through their short-lived four-year career as pigeon fanciers. Mick competes in the strong Drayton club, and this year was his fifth season of young bird racing, but already he is attracted to the distance races – although some fanciers have told him that his birds are too big for long distance racing.