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Pete Rodgers has named the winner of the North Road Championship Club’s PJ Lofts-sponsored Thurso race “Against the Odds.”

That was probably because the extremely strong south-east wind that the birds had to face suggested that the east coast was an unlikely place to find the winner. As it turned out, there were 11 Section C birds in the first 20 of the open result – and there were eight yearlings, including the winner.

Any bookmaker declaring odds on this race would have included the husband and wife partnership of Pete and Terri Rodgers among the favourites. Why? Well, there were past performances to prove they were capable of winning among top opposition, and current form suggested that they were poised to triumph yet again.

And they had not relied on blow-homes for those successes. For instance, when they won the NRCC race from Thurso in 1995, when living in Massingham, Norfolk, the winning velocity was only 1025 yards per minute. This year it was an even tougher race and won on 967ypm. They also won the young bird national in 1997 when that was an altogether different type of race with a winning velocity of 1640ypm.

Then there was the experience they gained by mixing it with the Big Boys of the Up North Combine when they went to live in Pete’s native north east. Again they found the winning formula. They were not resting on their laurels, however, and, having settled in east Lincolnshire at Burgh le Marsh had eased back into the winning groove.

In the build-up to the last NRCC old bird race of 2017 their open results with this premier north road organisation had been: Dunbar 18, 22, 31 and 32; Fraserburgh 12, 23 and 43; and Lerwick 4, 5 and 70.

These results were interspersed with loads of club and Federation success. So form was in their favour, giving more than just a hint that they could well be in the shake-up. And so it proved.

Here, in his own words, Pete tells us about his winning Thurso pigeon:

“The yearling cock that we timed is from my old family of Gevaerts. When I left the north east in 2010, I gave my stock and race team to my good friend John Millward, who has been having pigeons from me since the early 1990s. This family of pigeons have won at club, Federation and National level for several fanciers, including John who won the Chester two bird classic.

“Porter and Richardson also won 1st NRCC Perth with a cock bred from these lines. This young cock who we call Against the Odds, has won 2nd club, 2nd Fed Whitley Bay, 3rd club, 3rd Fed Sedgefield, 5th club, 5th Fed Alnwick, 3rd Alnwick Peterborough and District Federation yearling race (beaten by two loft mates) and, of course, now 1st NRCC open Thurso.

“He has also had all the Peterborough Fed races up to that point except Dunbar, Perth Fraserburgh and Lerwick. I sent 19 to the race and as of today (That was within a few days of the race) have 15 returned.” There was plenty of evidence to put Pete and Terri among the favourites – and they didn’t disappoint.

by George Wheatman