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 Le Tour Race Reports 2001

Stage 1: Kouchibouguac (110 km) July 19/00

The birds were released at 9:00 am in cloudless skies and no wind conditions.  The route home was similar.  Ninety-two birds were shipped and eighty-nine were clocked.  Seventy-three birds arrived in a drop and the first bird was clocked in 1:55:41 hours.  This is almost the exact time as last year's winner.  Congratulations go out to Henri Giasson the winner of Stage 1 with CU 14701.

1

CU 14701

Giasson, H

1:55:41

2

Cal 2109

Beaudin, W

1:55:42

3

Cal 1220

Tomshak, M

1:55:49

4

CU 30065

Reid, J

1:55:49

5

CU 14704

Giasson, H

1:55:50

6

CU 30027

Reid, J

1:55:53

7

CU 30020

Trites, P

1:56:02

8

Cal 1215

Tomshak, M

1:56:04

9

Cal 0344

Duhra, B

1:56:06

10

Cal 0657

Schmaltz, D

1:56:13

 

Stage 2: Moncton (200 km) July 22/01

Ninety birds were released at 8:00 am in cloudless skies with a slight headwind.  After their release, they made a few circles and disappeared in the direction of home.  The route home was mostly overcast with high thin clouds.  The first bird, VIRPA 0002 arrived home alone and well ahead of the rest in 2:30 hours.  Unfortunately for its owner this gregarious trapper decided to wait for some company to trap with. 

The second group of 79 birds arrived 10 minutes later and trapped immediately.  Henri Giasson's CU 14701 was again the first bird to trap in 2:39:03.  This is the fastest time the birds have flown this station. 

 Once again congratulations go out to Henri Giasson.

1

CU 14701

Giasson, H

2:39:03

2

CU 15401

Ouellette, J

2:39:11

3

Cal 0344

Duhra, B

2:39:12

4

CU 14688

Boudreau, J

2:39:13

5

CU 30005

White, G

2:39:15

6

EC 1726

Schmitt, L

2:39:17

7

CU 15402

Ouellette, J

2:39:19

8

CU 3956

Harte, C

2:39:22

9

OKN 1202

MacNiel, S

2:39:26

10

CU 30006

White, E

2:39:27

 

Stage 3: Moncton (200 km) July 25/01

"Oh Henry" almost does it again.

Eighty-seven birds were released at 8:30 am in clear skies but with a brisk 20 km crosswind  blowing from the west.  The latter part of the course was overcast with the wind shifting to a more northerly direction (headwind).  This was a tougher race.  The birds took over 3 hours to complete it.  A group of 75 racers arrived together and all trapped in less than 3 minutes.  Five more clocked later in the day and 3 arrived early next morning .  The first bird to trap was Mike Tomahawk's Cal 1220.  Henry Giasson's CU 14701 trapped a second later.

Congratulations go out to Mike Tomshak the winner of Stage 3 with Cal 1220.

The next race (300 km) is scheduled for July 30th weather permitting.  This is when the real racing begins.

1

Cal 1220

Tomshak, M

3:17:26

2

CU 14701

Giasson, H

3:17:27

3

CU 14689

Boudreau, J

3:17:36

4

CU 15402

Ouellette, J

3:17:37

5

CU 3957

Harte, C

3:17:43

6

OKN 1211

MacNiel, S

3:17:45

7

EC 1732

Schmitt, M

3:17:46

8

CU 3956

Harte, C

3:17:46

9

CU 14691

Boudreau, L

3:17:47

10

Cal 2103

Beaudin, W

3:17:49

 

Stage 4: New Glasgow (300 km) July 30/01

Eighty-two birds were released at 8:00 am in New Glasgow.  Three birds were not shipped because of injuries.  The weather conditions at release time were ideal - cool, no winds and very few clouds.  The way home was similar but as the morning progressed it became considerably hotter.  When the first group of 23 arrived home in 4:47 hours, the temperature had risen to 26 C and hardly a breeze was noticeable.  A second group of about 30 birds arrived a few minutes later.  By the end of the day 79 racers had reached their destination and 3 more were clocked the next morning.  I am please to report that all birds shipped were clocked.

Congratulations go out to Charlie Harte of the Bluenose Club in Cape Breton who won Stage 4 with CU 3957 in a time of 4:47:40.  This is the 4th race in a row that 3957 has been in the first drop and it clocked 5th in the last race.  This performance put Charlie into 2nd place overall trailing Margie Schmitt's EC 1732 by a mere 21seconds.  Terry Reimer's WPG 13365, Wayne Beaudin's Cal 2109 and Scotty Reid's CU 30065 round off the top 5 by being less than 90 seconds behind the leader.  Only 2:03 minutes separate the top 10 birds and 5:10 minutes separate the top 25 birds.

Next Sunday's race from the same station will determine the "Sprint Champion" portion of the Le Tour series.  A tougher race could change these standings dramatically.

1

CU 3957

Harte, C

4:47:40

2

CU 30005

White, G

4:47:43

3

EC 1732

Schmitt, M

4:47:45

4

Cal 2109

Beaudin, W

4:47:46

5

CU 30065

Reid, J

4:47:50

6

Cal 0684

Schmaltz, D

4:47:51

7

CU 14703

Giasson, H

4:47:58

8

CU 30034

White, G

4:48:01

9

OKN 1204

MacNiel, S

4:48:03

10

OKN 1211

MacNiel, S

4:48:06

 

Stage 5: New Glasgow (300 km) August 4/01

Eighty-one birds were released at 8:00 am in New Glasgow, NS.  The weather at release time was sunny, calm and warm.  It promised to be another hot Maritime day.  The wind was not a factor which is quite unusual for this area of Canada.  The first birds arrived after flying 4:50 hours.  At arrival the temperature was 27 C with a Humidex factor of 33 C.  Also upon arrival, mother nature was very silent which was a concern.  After 6:13 hours of flying 60 out of 81 birds shipped  had reached their destination.  By the end of the day 75 birds were clocked.  Three more were clocked the following morning.  

The Le Tour racers have flown 5 races and over 1000 km in the last 17 days.  No doubt, they deserve a rest.

The next race will be in 2 weeks time from the Canso Causeway a distance of 400 km.  The birds will receive one 100 km training toss next weekend to remind them that their racing season is still not over.  

The Florida hurricanes are beginning to rumble and they have an uncanny way of effecting Nova Scotia weather.  Hopefully, the birds will be spared from the effects of these weather patterns during their next 2 races.

 

Stage 6: Canso (400 km)

The Le Tour Birds were released at 9:00 am in clear, calm and warm weather at the Canso Causeway.  When released the 80 birds made one short circle and broke immediately in the direction of home. The conditions were similar throughout Nova Scotia except for more cloud cover throughout New Brunswick.  One would consider these conditions ideal for racing.  By 4:30 dark clouds moved in and it rained slightly for a short period after 5:00.  It remained overcast for the rest of the evening but quite suitable for flying.

There were no day birds.  The following morning the weather remained favorable.  It was overcast and wind was not a factor.

At 8:57:44 a solo bird VIRPA 0002 owned by Ali Stephen arrived. Seven minutes later CU 30019 entered by Ed White trapped.  Thirteen more birds trickled in during the balance of the day. By race closing 15 valiant racers had reached their destination.  The weather was overcast but quite suitable for flying.  By the fourth day 2 more racers arrived.

I have released birds from this point for the last 10 years and only once has it not been flown on the day and on that day the birds had a reason - headwinds gusting to 50 km/h.  Why the birds did not make it home the first day, a day ideal for racing remains a mystery.  And why so few reached home the second day is very puzzling.  It rained most of the third day and birds were not to be expected. Non arrived.

Frank Schmitt of the East Coast Racing Pigeon Club reported that 4 birds with e-bands landed on his loft at 1:00 pm Sunday.  His loft is situated on the race route and roughly one third of the distance home.  By this time the birds normally would have been well past this point. 

The birds were given a 45 mile toss the week before and reached home in 1:10 hours flying against a strong side wind.  Every morning they flew strongly for 90 minutes and in the evenings for an hour.  Throats were clear and pink, droppings were firm and small, appetites were great and most had corky buoyant bodies.  My assessment was that they were in the best condition of the year and with reasonable weather, the race should be fast and returns high.

Always expected the unexpected in this sport - this race was such a day.

Looking at the overall standings, 8 out of the 10 first birds in this race were only 1:13 hours apart after 5 races and 1000 km of flying. Unfortunately too many of the leaders did not make it home.

The last race of the Le Tour will be postponed by a week to give the birds more time to recuperate and hopefully the extra week will allow more lost birds to reach home. The final race is tentatively scheduled for September 8th.

Congratulations go out to Ali Stephen on a great win and becoming the leader going into the last race.

 

Stage 7: Sydney (500 km)

Stage 7 Results

Overall Results