All material Copyright © 1996-2014 by Silvio Mattacchione & Co. unless otherwise noted.
LE TOUR DES MARITIMES FUTURITY
A CLASSIC MADE IN CANADA TEST
Several years ago I was approached by a young man from
I opened it and thought to myself , "there is nothing
whatsoever that you can say or offer to have me sell birds to you" and
then low and behold , much to my surprise he came up with the only possible
thing that would have softened my position. Surprisingly he offered to
pay the complete entry fees of birds bred by myself, for an open race
in Alberta Canada, " The Alberta Classic" where, should there be any
winnings, any and all winnings would be donated to the Children's Hospital in BC. In turn I was to
breed the pigeons and send them to the race , free of charge. Well I agreed.
In time we became friends and I eventually came to realize where this
chaps persistence came from,
In time Ali called and told me that his friend in New Brunswick operated a great little one loft race called the "Le Tour" actually "Les Tour Des Maritimes Futurity" http://www.tourdesmaritimes.com. I had never heard about this race, but agreed to send birds to it the very next year. I was delighted and have sent back birds every year since that time.
WHY "LE TOUR"
Why have I done so ? More to the point why have others done so? Why is this race full every year? Well here is why I send birds to "Le Tour" as I once wrote in an article what my goals are as regards the breeding of racing pigeons.
" It is wonderful to have a superstar but it is more advantageous to have a team of lesser lights that are totally consistent, trustworthy, indefatigable, reliable, and always gives an honest and worthy performance.
The goal of my breeding program was, and has been, the production of a family of pigeons that was honest, hard-working, and indefatigable. A family of birds capable of performing with little or no training under many different types of management regimes. A dependable warrior that would try to do all that his master asked of him, or die trying. In 1998, I put my birds to the first of what will be many tests. I described this test towards the end of my article entitled Myths. Please read it to see how fourteen yearlings flew ten races in ten weeks from 150-550 miles with no training and no rest-every bird, every race, every week! Was my campaign a success? The answer was yes! Superstars? The answer is no, just honest, hard-working, well-bred pigeons able to perform the tasks asked of them.
As others revel in selecting what their best bird may or may not be, I stress only the importance of my weakest link. I work to improve my colony and the superstar will then not thwart my efforts.
There are many ways to continuously test and retest your birds. My birds are released in all weather-fog, rain, winds, and bitter cold. Every day they must learn to deal with the vagaries of weather as well as the predators that are a natural part of their environment. No single bird is important, only the whole. To admit anything different is ultimately to admit the failure of my colony.
fanciers have bred for their local conditions, I have tried to produce
the type of pigeon that will survive in the toughest most demanding style
of pigeon racing in the world! I refer to the racing in
And since I do not live in
GREAT TO FINALLY MEET YOU MR SKROBOT.
In October of 2003 I did in fact have the privilege of
spending some time with the Founder/operator of this incredible Futurity
Andrew was born of Polish parents in
The prizes amount to an exceptional photo (taken by
The 1997 Le Tour Overall winner flew 1800 kms . bred by Lothar
Schmitt. Photo by
of your winner and a great handcrafted basket made of Canadian birds eye maple.
(made by Paul Bernatchez a former fancier)
Figure 2 Part of the winning prize in the "Le Tour" is a beautiful training basket made of birds eye maple by former fancier Paul Bernatchez.
Yes, yes I can hear you know, shaking your heads and muttering, "old Silvio he really has lost it now! How does the photo and the basket compare with $250,000.00 US in first prize money in all of these huge international races? Well it dose not and is not intended to, it is another avenue , an alternative to, a tool to be used judiciously in the right hands for the furtherance of lifetime goals. To be used in the persuit of family and to test and retest your birds and your breeding program against the harshest that nature has to offer, Canadian wilderness!
WHY DID YOU START THIS RACE ANDREW?
As I discussed
the reason for
"Pigeon racing is not a fair sport because the racers start at the same point but often race to different finish lines. In addition, other conditions often influence the outcome of a race such as wind direction and loft location. Because of these factors the actual quality of the bird may be a secondary factor in determining the best bird on any given day. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of the sport, these variables frequently result in many heated debates. To neutralize some of these factors a better a method of determining the best pigeon is needed"
The one-loft futurity race, even though having many benefits in promoting the sport, often becomes nothing more than a lottery and a frustrating experience for many competitors. Many pigeon fanciers often enter their birds primarily to win money in these events and the intrinsic goal of breeding the best pigeon often is forgotten. Too often, in this one-time event, the luck of trapping first becomes the deciding factor. Frequently, such a pigeon is labeled a champion even though several other racers may have flown equally well that day."
Well Andrew what did you feel that better method was or could be?
"For many pigeon fanciers, where prize money is unimportant, a better method of identifying the true champion is often desired. With this thought in mind, in 1997 the concept of the Le Tour Des Maritimes Futurity was born. This futurity would include a series 6 races and 1800 km of racing to one loft and the best bird of the series would be awarded to the racing pigeon completing all the races in the least total flying time"
NEVER INTENDED TO BE A MONEY RACE
So the Le Tour was never intended to be a money race !
The Le Tour was never intended to be a money race. Rather, the intention
was to attract those fanciers who fly for the love of the sport and want
to test their birds over one of the most challenging courses in
How has "Le Tour" developed over the past 6 years?
Le Tour Des Maritime Futurity has evolved into an 8 race series and 2150
km of racing with prize money. It has attracted 200 entries from
I asked Andrew
why he had used the model of a multi race event as apposed to the
single race futurity that was so prevalent across the
"The multi-race concept was always in the back of my mind. However, finding a formula for determining the overall winner was the challenge. To my knowledge everybody to this time was using some kind of point system that made absolutely no sense to me and unfortunately is still used by some multi-race futurities. One day while driving home from work and listening to the sports there was something on the Tour de France and how the overall winner was determine by the sum of all the times of the different stages. What seemed such a complex problem suddenly had such a simple solution. And I had a name for my futurity - Le Tour Des Maritimes. To my knowledge I am one of the first to use the total-time system. I think I was influential in convincing Dr. Karl Frank to use the same system at the AC."
"Flying the east course seemed the only logical way to go because of the
higher concentration of flyers in
HEAD WIND COURSE
It is my understanding that the East Course is an incredible "head wind course"? Is this in fact correct?
"The other reasons for going east was that it was a headwind course and getting birds home
on the day from
What finally turned the tide? Did you make any changes?
"I made one fundamental change when I trained my own birds. They had
to fly from the Canso Causeway first, if I was to be successful from
WHY IS GLACE BAY THE ULTIMATE TEST?
Well Andrew what exactly is it that makes that final
release point "
Most fanciers don't realize how difficult
of a release point Glace Bay is. During the winter 100+ km winds
are common throughout the Cape Breton Highlands. Fortunately they
are not as strong during the summer months but they still can be problematic.
At the release point unfavorable winds exceeding 20 km/h can always be
expected. If the
birds fly home as the "crow flies" they would fly over 400 km of
open water. This is quite unlikely so by flying along the mainland
This map shows the release point Sydney (
Andrew went on
to again stress why the "
"Just flying all 7 races series totaling over 2000 kms and arriving home
is an accomplishment. Flying all races in race time can only be
described as remarkable and flying 500 km on the day from
Typical view of the terrain and ocean that confronts the Le Tour birds
on their final race from
I thought that I would treat all of our readers to a blow by
blow account of the final race from
THE "LE TOUR" AIN'T OVER TILL ITS OVER.
Well "the Le Tour ain't over until it's over".
The birds were released in
I expected at least a 10 hour flight. At the loft, it was quite calm all afternoon . But along the coastline I suspect the winds may have been a problem. As it approached I began to worry because the thought of winds at the time of the release stayed with me all day. Then all of a sudden two birds appeared out of nowhere a couple of minutes before , landed immediately and trapped with little hesitation. I immediately shouted to Margie, "we have a race".
Radoman/VJagt's ORI 555/03 was the first to trap and the "Mighty" McVicars' CU 26558/03 trapped a couple seconds later. Both birds were tired and they had lost a lot of weight. No doubt the winds were more of a factor than the forecast indicated. Over the next 2 hours 6 more birds clock before the race was closed for the day. It was reasonable to expect more birds the following day but only 3 arrived the second day and 2 made it by the 3rd day and 1 the 5th day. The weather during the 4 days after race day was beautiful. The temperatures reached 30 C (85 F), the skies were cloudless and it was calm.
Figure 6 Superb performance by Radoman/JJagt's ORI 555/03 at the 2003 Le Tour.
This is not to belittle Bill Madore's performance
but this is just to give you an indication what effect the wind can have.
I released birds for him at and they flew between the same two points but in the opposite direction.
Bill had birds in hours and one of these birds flew a 500 km race from
Even though the winds were strong at the release, 2 birds still arrived home on the day in a very good time of 11:00 hours and 6 followed shortly. The fastest time for this distance was flown is hours. Last year the first bird home flew the distance in hours and there were 15 day birds out of 77 shipped. Furthermore, 21 birds arrived the second day. Why did so few second day birds arrive this year will remain a mystery and an interesting topic for discussion. But that's pigeon racing, "always expect the unexpected".
go out to Pat Spelliscy for his overall win with CU 31309/03. This
is a superb
racer that deserved to win the Overall Championship. It was always
up front and began the Le Tour series by winning the Sprint Championship
and then concluded the series by scoring 2nd Long Championship and losing
it by only minutes.
like a true champion, after a good night's rest it looked like it was
ready to go again. It is interesting to note that Pat Spelliscy's
bird arrived at the same time as Adolfo Bianchi's SC 1523/03 and
It would be remiss for me not to mention some of the other day birds that also preformed very well. Bob Percival's FCQ-QC 2269 arrived alone for 3rd place. And finally the last two birds to arrive on the day flew for almost 13 hours. Cornelius Martens' WPG 3603 and Forster & Phelan's EDM 1193 arrived a few minutes after sunset.
was my entry together with .
Here is a list of all of the birds that returned in race time in that final race of Le Tour.
All of these birds flew 8 races total and 2050 KMS.
GLACE BAY RESULTS
What is the real value of this unique Futurity called " Le Tour"
Well here are the words written
by a friend Roger Liu of
"The real races start when
the birds are approximately 100 days old (
In summary, pigeon clubs
OVER THE OCEAN
Well Roger let me say that the bird that was 13th overall at
Le Tour in 2003 was bred by my son Thomas, it was never intended to be
raced but having paid our entry fee the year before and not personally
having raised any youngsters from my flock we decided to send 3 of Thomas,s
birds. We sent them to the "Le
Tour" in the 1st week of June and they were 30 days old and
just weaned at that time. By September our entry was
120 days old, had flown 7 races totaling 2050 kms including flying
over the open
If the fanciers in
Racing Pigeons Section Contents
Background on Silvio Mattacchione, his pigeons, his loft, and inbreeding program.
A group of articles and editorials addressing various aspects of the sport of pigeon racing and the history of Silvio's line of Spanjaards/Janssens pigeons.
Buy fantastic pigeon books online! Selections include The Will to Prepare by Robert Kinney, Rotondo on Racing Pigeons by Joseph Rotondo, and The Pigeon Guide by Dr. Jon Esposito and Shannon Hiatt.
Some of Silvio Mattacchione's own winning stock is for sale.
Sivio Mattacchione offers a wide range of racing pigeon consulting services and consults with owners as far away as Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, The Philippines and the United States. Each consultation is tailored specifically to meet the client's needs, and is conducted in as thorough a manner as possible.
Good causes supported by Silvio and the racing pigeon and parrot communities.
Clever pigeon pictures constructed of keyboard strokes by artist Jerry Downs.
Links to other racing pigeon sites including those of clubs, products, and information resources. An easy way to navigate a series of pigeon web sites!
Silvio's e-mail, mail, phone, and fax contact information.