by Mike Lakin

February 2016

Gary Daykin the man they call ‘The Magician’

As someone who has known Gary Daykin now for nearly fifteen years I suppose that I am as good a person as anyone to write about this elite fancier,  as in my position of being the Midlands National Flying Club press officer I have written about Mr Daykin’s exploits on many occasions during this period.

From a very early age Gary displayed a great talent for pigeon racing. So it wasn’t long before he broke his ‘novice’ status. Racing North Road as a young man his ability was highlighted with several Gold and Silver medals for racing all the way up to and beyond 400 miles from Thurso on the Northern tip of Scotland. It was abundantly clear that Gary Daykin possessed a very special skill with pigeons. Most successful fanciers work their way to the top while a few seem to be born with the gift Gary is certainly one of the latter category.

In the late 1990’s Gary’s focus was turned to South Road racing with his wonderful colony of Jos Soontjen based pigeons. The main aim was to compete in the Midlands National Flying Club which was believed the most suitable organisation for his pigeons. It must be borne in mind that even a great General needs a good army and his Soontjen’s were certainly that and over the next few years the name of Gary Daykin was on the lips of both the people who raced against him and beyond. Over the following years no less than 10 National races were won along with countless sectional victories, a motor car, a cruise holiday and a plethora of average trophies including the title of overall Champion of the MNFC all fell under the magic spells of ‘the magician’.

The only race that seemed to elude Gary was the MNFC’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ race from Bordeaux which is a distance of nearly 600miles to the northern end of Nottingham. Though his birds had given him a few near misses when crossed with other strains of pigeons Gary realised that ‘specialist’ birds were a necessity if the marathon races are to be conquered. I believe that this fact was fully revealed when a hen from Gary’s friend Hugo Kipp who is a marathon race specialist flying in tandem with his father as Kipp & Son was acquired and paired to one of the loft’s best Soontjen pigeons. This coupling bred a Dark Cock that became known as ‘Black Magic’.

An amusing story was when before whether to send the bird as a yearling to his maiden flight from 500 miles Gary sought Hugo’s advice. Hugo said ‘’Yes send him he will love it’’. Gary then reminded his friend that the bird was a crossing with his sprint based Soontjen family. Quick as a flash Hugo replied "No problem he will still half love it!’’. Hugo was proved to be right because ‘Black Magic’ flew the race successfully without turning a feather which showed Gary that marathon pigeons are different. Before being wisely retired to the stock loft ‘Magic’ flew 500 miles several times right up to Bordeaux .

So over the last few years Gary has turned his attentions to both building a team of reliable long distance pigeons and promoting the MNFC’s ‘Flying Back to Nature’ project which he feels very strongly about as it is vital to get young children off their computers etc and to realise the pleasures that can be gained from animals like pigeons.

On the long distance topic he is definitely getting it right as in the past couple of seasons he has achieved the following result from the Bordeaux the longest Midlands National race point. In 2014 from a very hard race the ‘Magician’ won 2nd section and 8th Open and the following year he did even better from another testing Bordeaux race with 1,727 birds competing when his birds won 1st & 2nd section and 9th and 15th Open with Gary timing the two longest flying first day pigeons to achieve this fine result. Additionally the award of 1st N E section Long Distance Ace pigeon was achieved.

Gary has for several years now been a big advocate of the products produced by Medpet and though I know from experience that Gary by nature is a rather private and secretive person one thing he does advise other fanciers who ask him about pigeon health problems is that he finds that cider vinegar along with Medpet products where necessary are very effective against pigeon ailments.

I have been asked many times whether I think that Gary Daykin is the best pigeon flyer in the country ? My answer is very simple that there may be others who are his equal but I know of no one who is his superior. 

                                                                                                      Mike Lakin

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