By Ross Young

I set off at 5-15 a.m to pick John Hall up and headed to the airport for our first day of the national championships in Belfast. Our flight seemed to fly over. [lol]. We got off the plane John rang Kevin McKinney to let him know we had landed. Kevin told John to walk up the road, as he was only 4 minutes away, after walking for 10 minutes I said to John “before long we are going to be at Kevin’s if he doesn’t hurry up”. (lol). He wasn’t long after that. 
Back at Kevin’s he made us a cuppa and a bacon sarnie. Nicky and Bobby turned up so Kevin liberated his yearling kit for A.E.R.C. Kevin’s birds could not lift through birds been too active. He had 2 birds down. Score 88
Next to fly was Nicky Scott. Young bird N.I.R.C. Nicky liberated his birds and put them on the clock more or less straight away. The birds were very active and could not put it together, when the birds settled down they put in a few breaks. Score 100
It was then back to Kevin McKinney’s, old bird A.E.R.C. Kevin liberated his birds and they went straight into a figure 8 and worked well for 10 minutes, then they changed pattern and spread out a lot. The breaks could have been bigger if the birds hadn’t spread out as much. Score 135
After Kevin dropped his birds we headed off to Billy Moffet’s who was our host for the night, Billy was flying old bird N.I.R.C. He liberated his birds which were very quiet a lot of 3’s and 4’s, just not getting it together. Score 97.
After Billy flew his birds we settled down for the night with a few drinks and a lovely meal that Billy had cooked. It had been a long day for me and John so we went to bed around 11p.m. Next morning Billy made us a full Irish breakfast, then we were back off to the airport to head back to Newcastle. I would like to thank Kevin for looking after me and John all day. Also a huge thank you to Billy and Tracey for our bed for the night, lovely people and great crack.
Back in Newcastle we headed off to Eddie’s for his young bird T.W.R.C. we were met by my big mate Dom and a  few of the lads from Bradford. Eddie liberated his birds which fought the wind and never really got it together. A lot of 2’s and 3’s. Birds were very quiet. Score 71
Next to fly was Ali Milne young bird A.E.R.C. Ali liberated his birds in a strong wind wich made the birds turn a lot, low down, the birds had to fight to break. When they did break they broke well. Score 99
We went back to Eddie’s for his old bird T.W.R.C. Eddie liberated his birds which pinned out for 10 minutes, and most of mine. When the birds came back down they were very quiet with some nice individuals. Score 100
Next to fly was John Hall yearling for T.W.R.C. as John was my marker for the week Ali offered to mark John’s kit for me. John liberated his birds which were hard to judge due to wind blowing them all over. Birds held back a lot on breaks. John had some nice breaks and individuals considering the weather. Score112
Next to fly was my old pal Morris Hole yearling S.D.R.C. Morris liberated his birds which went straight into a figure 8, they flew a nice pattern, but held back on breaks. Score 81
Next to fly was Tommy Sharp young birds S.D.R.C. Tommy liberated his birds in a strong wind which made the birds stay don low. The birds held back on the breaks. Tommy had some nice quality individuals. After Tommy’s birds had landed, dead on 20 minutes (you must have had them on the wire lol) Tommy’s wife June made all the lads a cuppa and a mince pie. Thanks Tommy and June. Score 96.
It was then back to Morris for his old birds S.D.R.C. I only found out back at Morris’s that he had lost his old birds on Tuesday and the birds had only made their way back over the last few days, leading up to flying today. Morris was still 3 birds missing which made it hard for him to put a kit up today, especially after coming back in dribs and drabs. Morris liberated his birds which went into a nice figure 8, and broke well for the first 10 minutes. The birds changed pattern and just went off the boil. Some nice breaks and quality birds. Score 137
After a night home, I picked John up at 6.15 a.m. to set off to Middlesbrough. First to fly was Andy Thompson. We arrived at Andy’s at 7.45 a.m. Andy put the kettle on and made a cuppa, a few lads turned up and we made a start. Andy liberated his yearlings for C.C.R.C. Birds were very quiet a lot of 3’s and 4’s. Just didn’t manage to do it on the day. Score 58
Next it was Peter Mill’s yearlings for M.D.R.C. Peter liberated his birds and the birds just never got it together score59
Next flyer was Andy Dawson flying his young birds for the c.c.r.c Andy’s birds  came out all guns blazing I thought we were going to see a right show  but the kit got blew away  and when they came back just could not get it together but a nice kit of quality young birds score 99
Peter Robinson’s old birds for CCRC were next the kit flew in a nice pattern but were very quite score 64
The last kit in Middlesbrough for today was Colin baileys old bird for MDRC Andy liberated the kit as Colin was away but the birds didn’t want to know very quite score  66
A drive down to Bradford now for Paul and donna chantrys  yearlings for the WRRC the kit never really got it together and all birds dropped on 14.53 score DQ
Off to dean Middleton’s now for the first of three kits dean was flying yearlings for WRRC first which were very quite two birds dropped so dean scratched the kit on 14.40 hard luck dean score scratched kit
Now for the kit every one was talking about Saheed shahs {sid} young birds for the AERC. I was looking forward to seeing this kit as I had heard they were good young birds and had won the A.E.R.C. this year. Sids birds went up to a nice height and worked really well, some very nice quality birds and breaks. Score 154
That was it for today, so we were off to my mate Dom’s for the night. At Dom’s the crack was great and we talked about everything from rollers to horses but not even a few cans to relax with (lol). After a few drinks we called it a night at 11.30 Dom said he would get me up when he got up at 4.30 a.m. True to his word he rang me at 4.40 a,m. (thanks mate). Off to Mark Dickinson’s.
We arrived at 8.00 a.m. Young  bird for Y.P.R.S. His birds flew in a low cloud and light drizzle. Birds never got together. Some nice quality birds. All down at 9.50a.m. D.Q.
Mark put up his old birds L.P.R.C. same weather conditions. D.Q.
Off to Anthony Grays for a cuppa and bacon sarnie. Yearling for L.P.R.C. Birds went to a nice height but unfortunately all birds down on 6.33. Some nice individuals. D.Q.
Back to Bradford for Andy Jacksons yearling for B.D.F.R.C. His birds were hard to judge as they were quite high and right above me. Just never got it going. Score 66.
Dean Middleton next with young for B.D.F.R.C. No sooner were they on the clock all birds were down. Nice bird’s pity they dropped. D.Q.
As young birds dropped early Dean put up his yearling Y.P.R.S. Birds flew at a better height than day before putting in some nice breaks. Score 80.
Next Paul Chantry  for Y.P.R.C. old. Paul’s birds went up to a nice height but soon drifted away. We had to take them off the clock as we lost sight of them. After 5 minutes they were back they broke really big and were very active for 10 minutes then went quiet. A really nice kit. Well done Paul. Score 181.
Sid was next with young for W.R.R.C. As Sid had took the lead with the young birds I knew this kit were capable of a good score. The birds drifted in and out of the houses making it hard to score, so they were on and off the clock. Big breaks, just the quality wasn’t as good as the day before. Nice kit. Well done. Score 188
We left Bradford and headed to Lana Howarth’s for the night. We arrived at Lana’s in good time and chatted. Then Tank and Jackie arrived and we had a few drinks and a lovely Chinese. Thanks again Lana. It was getting late so we headed off to bed. Lana made a lovely breakfast, it was soon 9a.m. and away we went.
Lana liberated d birds R.R.C. and the heavens opened, the wind also picked right up not giving the birds much chance to settle down. Some clean breaks when they broke. Score 80.
Tank was next young bird R.R.C. The weather was still bad so I didn’t think the birds had much chance of performing, but they held the wind and rain perfect with some nice breaks. Score 92.
Ken and Trevor Weaver old bird W.D.R.C. We arrived in good time and the weather had cleared. I was looking forward to this kit as I had heard they were a big breaking kit. Birds flew in a nice pattern and didn’t stop working for 10 minutes then they went off and came back on in the last 5 minutes. Nice quality working kit. Score 221
Back to Bradford for Paul Chantry’s yearling B.D.R.F.C. Birds went too high so they were off the clock for 10 minutes, when they were back onthey put in some nice breaks. Score87
Mark McCrory old bird B.D.F.R.C. Birds never really got it together. Hard luck big man. Score 66.
We left Bradford around 6p.m. to head to Leicester. Booked into a travel lodge for the night, a few pints and a meal. The next morning you couldn’t see a hand in front of you for the fog. John said it was the same last year in Leicester. (lol)
First to fly was Darren Deacon young bird L.R.C. Birds never got it together and were quiet. Score 81.
Next Alan Veron old bird A.E.R.C.The fog was still low bit the birds came out all guns blazing putting in some nice quality breaks. Unfortunately all birds dropped in 10 minutes. I would like to see this kit on a better day. D.Q.
Off we went to the West Midlands for Chris Rhodes yearling M.R.P.C. Birds flew at a nice height and pattern so it was easy to see the quality, not just in the birds, but also in the breaks. A very nice working kit of birds. Well done Chris. Score 239.
Paul Green old birds M.R.P.C. I was looking forward to this kit Paul had won A.E.R.C. old bird this year. Within 4 minutes the kit was hit by the B.O.P. so the bird were taken off the clock too let the kit re-group. Some nice breaks and some quality birds, kit was spoilt by the B.O.P. attack. Score 172.
Next Tony Bagley young bird. Birds went too high to give quality. Score 55.
Kev Bowdens young bird M.R.P.C. The birds were quiet from the off, they were hit by the B.O.P. on 16 minutes. Score 71.
Terry Harper young bird M.P.R.C. Birds flew a lot on one wing, when they changed wing they broke well, with nice quality. Score 151.
As we had a long drive back to Derby from Birmingham the light got the better of us when we got to Kevin Johnstones. We settled down for the night with a few drinks and a lovely meal. Good crack, I could of sat up all night talking rollers with Kev, but long days judging means tired eyes, so we called it a night. Up at 7.30 a.m. after a cuppa Kevin was ready to fly his old birds M.P.R.C. It was windy and the birds were blown away down the street. When I got the birds back in sight they worked well in the wind with some nice breaks. Well done mate. Score 181
Darren Deacon young bird for the AERC. Darren put his birds straight onto the clock but the wind blew them away and they ran the clock out. He scratched his kit when they didn’t come back.
Off to Tony Bagley’s next for his yearlings for the BBIFRC Tony let his birds out but they had to fight a strong wind which made it hard for the birds to break cleanly. Score 79.
Kevin Bowden      Yearling MRPC   Chris Rhodes Yearling AERC     Paul Green Old AERC
Tony Bagley young birds A.C.R.C. Weather was still bad, heavy rain was keeping the birds down, but they worked well considering. Score 97
Next Kev Bowden’s young birds A.E.R.C. As we were staying the night with Kev we waited till the weather brightened up. Birds flew at a nice height and worked well. The birds then flew on one wing and went quiet. Score 128.
                                                                      BEST YOUNG BIRD
After Kev got his birds down he took us for a Toby carvery which was lovely and much appreciated. Thanks Kev and Sharon. We went back to Kev’s and enjoyed the rest of the night with a few vodka’s (lol). Up the next morning to full English before we head off to Chris Rhodes.
Chris Rhodes yearling BBIFRC. Birds flew at a nice height but were very quiet and missed a lot of breaks. I couldn’t believe this was the same kit he had flown yesterday. As we all say “its on the day”. Score 113
Next Paul Green old bird BBIDFRC. I knew this kit were capable of a good score as I had seen them 2 days earlier, they went up to a nice height but were holding back on the breaks. When they did break they were big quality breaks with nice depth. Paul had some lovely quality birds, especially the black flight in his kit. A very deep quality roller. Score 205.
                                                                  BEST OLD BIRD
Off to Warrington to Ken and Trevor Weaver. We were short of time so after a quick cuppa I was looking forward to seeing this kit again. Up they went to a nice height and never stopped working for 10 minutes with some nice big breaks. B.O.P. turned up and the birds went up high so were taken off the clock. Once they were back together they went quiet, (Thank god because I thought I was going to need a second score sheet) A very nice kit of birds lads and a pleasure to judge. Well done. Score 102.
Tony McLaughlin yearling W.D.R.C. We were pushed for time so Tony let his birds straight out, which stayed down low putting in some nice small breaks with quality. Score 102.
Next to fly Paul and Donna Chantry old bird W.R.R.C. Birds drifted up the road so I had to walk with them, but were still a bit high to judge. When they came back down they were very active for the first 10 minutes, then went quiet and held back on breaks. Score 177.
As we only had 2 more kits to judge the next day which were in Shildon and Middlesbrough I think me and John deserved a night back at home with our families (lol). So we said our farewells and it was nice to get to get on the motorway and sees the sign A1 North.
Up at 7.30 a.m. for our last day of the National Championship. I picked John up and headed to Shildon. Weather was terrible raining and foggy.
We arrived at Morris’s allotment at 10 a.m. As Morris was away in Ireland, Ali Milne let the kit out. We waited about 30 minutes to see if the fog and rain would clear, which it did. Ali liberated the birds and as soon as they got up the rain started again. The birds never got a chance to perform as they were soaked through. They done well to do there time. Score 55
Next and last to fly was Andy Thompson. The fog had lifted a bit but it was still raining. Andy’s birds were never going to stay in the air in these conditions. All birds down in 10 minutes, hard luck Andy. Score D.Q.
I would just like to say how hard a job John Hall has running the Nationals. Without him we would not hve this fly. So after last year with no-one putting their name forward John had to swap and change dates around just so we could have a fly. The only person that could do the fly was Norman Howarth, after he had already played his part in judging that year. Well done Norm and I say this from all roller fanciers around the country, a true friend and a great roller man who will be sadly missed. (R.I.P MATE). So after last year I said to John that I will take a year out flying nationals and judge, so he didn’t have to worry about finding a judge, which I can now say was a pleasure and an honour to do. Going around the country seeing all the kits that are the best of the best. I would like to thank John Hall for taking the time off work and being my marker. Also I would like to thank all the people who put me and John up for the night. Billy and Tracey Moffet, Big Dom and Di, Lana Howarth, Kev Johnstone and his wife, Kevin and Sharon Bowden. A big thank you to Lana for helping John with the schedule. And thanks to all the guy’s who followed me and John around the competition to support the roller hobby. Look forward to seeing a lot of you on the next years fly. The only thing is next year I hope one of you guy’s puts yourself forward to help John out.
Judging the fly is such an experience. Well done to all that took part especially the winners.
                                       Yours in sport and friendship. ROSS YOUNG