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Ian Gibb pictured with son Peter after an interview with Radio Ulster following winning the Europa Classic One Loft Race 2007 in partnership with Henry Byrne from Dublin.

As Scribe for the Lisburn area, how delighted I was to receive a phone call from my good friends Ian & Peter Gibb, they were so over come with delight I hardly recognised who was on the phone, after they had received confirmation that they along with racing partner Henry Byrne from Dublin had won the Europa Classic of 2007 and £30,000 into the bargain. The Pigeons totalling near 900 were liberated on Sunday in Edinburgh flying roughly 300 miles to the one loft site in Wales. Over in Ireland we have an extensive portfolio of very successful pigeon fanciers some that would stand tall in the world rankings, on top of that we have many Studs that produce many Open winners around the world, but when you get news of this calibre it takes the top drawer, following the reports that Les Parkinson submits to the Racing Pigeon Weekly each week and of course the results of training tosses and indeed the Hot Spot races for the Europa Classic it is only then that you actually get to see and indeed get the feel of the level of competition you are up against just not from home nor the mainland but around the world.

To win first Open is something else and something that is likely to live long in the memories of everyone involved with this class pigeon. I say class even though never seeing the winner a Blue Hen, but wait to you see the pedigree !!!

Now the pigeon in question a Wal Zoontjens was bred from birds obtained from Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts.

SIRE :- Blue Cock GB-02-S58575. Sire of this cock is the " De Vechter" (Son of Schallie 76) now the Schallie 76 was a class racer winning the following 1st Noyon 2,995 Bird, 2nd St.Ghislain 1,400 Birds, 2nd St.Quentin 1,223 Birds, 4th Montlucon 1,405 Birds, 6th Chateroux 994 Birds, 7th Criel 1,245 Birds. DAM of the SIRE is a pigeon known as "Miss America" a direct daughter of the famous "President" now he won the following 1st Hannut 2,045 Birds, 1st Fastest 40,000 Birds, 1st St Ghislain 2,074 Birds, 1st Fastest 30,000 Birds, 1st Roye 2,086, 1st Fastest 30,000, 1st Criel 1,867 Birds and 1st Fastest 26,000 Birds. Now the President was the 1st National Ace Pigeon for all Holland at the Short Distance in 1995 beating some 55,000 members.

DAM :- Cheq Hen GB-00-E71521. (Same G.Sire on both sides "De Vechter") see detail above. DAM of the DAM is a pigeon known as the "Bontje 797" she is a daughter of the famous "De Vale 607" who was the Ace Racer belonging to Henk VanLaarhoven what a record this man has including :- 3rd Gouden Crack Z.N.B. 1995; 1st Gouden Crack Z.N.B. 1996 against 16,000 members. In 1995 this man VanLaarhoven was 1st National Champion from 200 to 450 miles racing against 55,000 members.

Only last week I reported in my column about the amount of money that the Gibb lofts have spent on bringing the best to their lofts assisted by their partner Henry Byrne who runs the Sandyhill Shop in the St Margeret’s area of Dublin behind the Air Port this business was owned previously by Paddy Martin who also run the Sandyhill Stud. Fanciers in the South tell as previously this is still the place to be on a Sunday morning with ample car parking although you will struggle to get parked if you arrive to late, hot drinks are always available and with an excellent shop that stocks all the main goods that you would expect to find in a Pigeon Supermarket what more does the fancier require. Henry Byrne is sole agent for the South of Ireland for a lot of the top Brands very similar to Ian Gibb who is sole agent in the North of Ireland for very much the same line of goods these include Beyers Corn, Van Robaey Corns, Rohmfried Products, Belgiea De Weerd Products and Geraldy who supply outstanding Trailers and Transporters and of course the stores North and South carry many more products from drinkers to feeders to perches etc.

The two men in question have known each other a very long time, a friendship that has blossomed considerably over the last couple of years through their business links. It was around that said period in 2005 that they decided to join forces as Gibb & Byrne and go about as a combined effort buying the best that the world has to offer as far as class pigeons goes. Vast amounts of money was spent with many air miles covered sourcing what they consider to be the best that their combined budgets allowed for. They now bred and sell a considerable amount of pigeons each year, with fantastic levels of success, they also as a partnership send to events like the Europe Classic One Loft race, were they get the joy of racing against some of the best fanciers in the world on a level playing field.

Looking into the men in question firstly Ian Gibb, who is assisted greatly by son Peter who is now working around the business and Stud on a full-time basis. Ian himself works full-time at Shorts Aerospace, so with this in mind much of the work around the lofts and training of the birds is carried out by Peter. Only in the last couple of years have Ian Gibb and Sons started to concentrate on racing a successful team of pigeons, I can report as Press Officer for the mighty NIPA they are one of the top lofts around the country this year, racing with the Derriaghy HPS they cleaned the board in the Y/B Campaign lifting the Red Card in every race, the first time in the Clubs History and in the process recorded many high Section and Open positions against birdage nearing the 30,000 mark. In total this year 15 x 1st Clubs.

The Gibb family have been a household name around Northern Ireland for a few years now, Ian having raced previously in a couple of very successful partnerships, although the Gibb name came to prominence in the latter part of 2000 when news got out that they had bought the complete Award Winning Family of Sootjens owned by J S Lofts. A huge investment at that time bringing back around 160 pigeons in total. It was at this time that the decision was made to set up a Stud under the name of Gibb Lofts. These Sootjens more than paid their way over the years with many repeat orders from many satisfied customers as far away as California in the United States, still to this day they own the best available in the United Kingdom. As the years progressed and more lofts were built many more families have been added to the Gibb Stud which now houses around 100 pair, these include :- Hofkens, A & W Drapa, Bastins, Desbuqvois, Kevin Lawson, Keith Morgan and of course with reference to the Europa Success Syndicate Lofts/Mike Ganus. Money has never been an issue when seeking the best I recall the partnership bidding a huge sum to bring home the Channel Challenge One Loft Winner in 2005 again a bird bred from birds purchased from Syndicate Lofts.

Now for the Byrne part of the partnership once again taking a closer look, as mentioned above earlier Henry runs the very successful Sandyhill Shop in Dublin carrying much the same lines as fellow racing partner Ian Gibb. Henry himself has been around pigeons a lift time in total 37 years. Currently he races his family of Busschaert and Janssen based pigeons in partnership with good friend Ken McCabe who previously was in partnership with Eugene Fitzgerald up until Eugene deciding to call it a day and with Henry needing help Ken was the obvious choice and of course like the Gibb family are enjoying excellent levels of success 45 x 1st’s in the last five years. Henry Byrne along with Ken McCabe currently race with the mighty Dublin Homing Club, with Henry previously enjoying success in the past with the Shelburne RPC and Dublin Premier RPC respectively. Henry also holds the office of President with the Irish South Road Federation were he also carries the responsibility of Race Controller. I will pen of this particular part of my column wishing many congratulations to everybody concerned on bringing such a prestigious title to the shores of Ireland. Any correspondence in relation to the above article should be made to

Adie McCormick
Irelands Own Pigeon Auctions
Tel. 028 92 604778

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