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Secrets of Champions II - Reviews

Secrets II: A "Masterpiece"
As appeared in the British Homing World
Reviewed by Mike Lakin

If you are struggling a little for a present to give to a pigeon fancier or indeed if you are a fancier not knowing what to put down on your Christmas wish list from Santa, forget the pants or socks and ask for Jim Jenner’s latest offering on DVD, "Secrets of Champions II". If you did not get Secrets I, put that on the list, too. After all,the first Secrets disc won no less than three film awards in an international film contest and was described, amongst other accolades, as being the most informative film on racing pigeons ever made and in my opinion it deserves every praise bestowed upon the writer and director, Jim Jenner.

How does Secrets II compare? Well, it fits with volume 1 like eggs go with bacon or peaches with cream. It is simply a follow-on in what is the very diverse sport of pigeon racing. As any fancier will know,the keeping of pigeons needs skills of so many different kinds. In each film so far, Jim has expertly covered a handful of topics in great depth, in a way which leaves you wanting more, as I found when the film ended and I sat watching the credits roll, vainly hoping for a little extra footage. I now know what Oliver Twist felt like when he asked for ‘more’.

Like all great films, you need a great cast and on this one Jim has delivered, with stars of the calibre of Ronnie Williamson, Ireland’s champion; Frank Tasker, Ad Schaerlaeckens and the master of the Nationals, Geoff Kirkland. Co-stars included ‘The Professor’ (and if you want to know who he is you will have to buy the DVD – I can’t tell you everything).

In this latest release, Jim and his team deal with many aspects of breeding top-quality racing pigeons – the planning, the feeding and other aspects of this exciting time. They say that great minds think alike and it’s uncanny that, although each contributor is filmed individually, how similar their beliefs are on this most important subject. If you follow the advice offered you will be three parts of the way to future success, which is the opinion of the brilliant fancier and writer Ad Schaerlaeckens, who says, ‘Most fanciers go looking for secret medicines and vitamins to make their birds fly faster. I go looking for better birds. Better birds are what count.They win the races’. He also tells me of the many calls and emails he receives from fanciers abroad enquiring if he knows where the good birds are. He replies, ‘Sure,’ and gives a few names, then the callers ask for the fanciers’ websites. Mr Schaerlaeckens laughs and tells them, ‘They have no website. Some don’t even give a pedigree,only good birds’. After a slight pause, he continues, ‘Normally, I hear no more from these people. Obviously they want expensive birds with a big pedigree. I like the cheap ones which win races!’

If you watch this latest masterpiece – because that is what it is –you may be a little surprised that the people interviewed deal in common sense and not fantasy. There is no promoting the latest ‘must-have’ potions so widely on offer, just many knacks which we all knowof but sadly, so many of us have forgotten. It may also surprise youthat the three most necessary items to a pigeon, foodwise, are (a)good corn; (b) quality grit; and (c) honey. At least, that’s the opinion of the fanciers on the film. So why not find out what they have to offer and at the same time, save yourself a fortune in unnecessary extras.

The film is set out in the usual chapter-by-chapter format often adopted by Jim, which is great because you can take a break to get yourself some refreshments and think for a while because, believe me, there is plenty of food for thought.While every chapter is important I would select The One Month; The Cheapest Medicine; Light Years Ahead and Ladies First as really crucial topics. Each chapter is discussed in great depth. No fancier can fail to learn from it, as was highlighted by Geoff Kirkland’s answer to a certain dilemma. He said honestly, ‘I will have to ask Frank about that one,’ so if Geoff can learn, so can we all. Jim Jenner says the one thing his ‘stars’ have in common is ‘their ability to move with the times and to try something new,’ as demonstrated in Ladies First. I will leave the last word to Jim. In his introduction he says ‘A great documentary is the truth well told’. Well, Jim, you have certainly done that, so I am off to sit and watch it again. Why don’t you do the same? I guarantee it will be money well spent.

Mike Lakin


Once again Jim Jenner and his team have produced a pigeon video of true class. As we have come to expect from Jim Jenner ,all aspects of the video are of superb quality from sound, production, filming right through to the jaw dropping content. I thoroughly recommend this work of art as the purchase price will soon be repaid in the hundreds of hours saved in pursuing the success that the purchasers will surely achieve if they take heed of the "pearls" it contains.

Gareth Watkins

This new DVD by film maker Jim Jenner is both thought provoking and informative. It gives the average pigeon fancier an insight into why the top men in our sport win seemingly ‘out of their turn’. It is not chance which makes them successful, but close observation, thought and attention to every detail. This, combined with a willingness to learn and modify their methods is why they are successful.

Every fancier can learn something from this DVD. Some will learn things they never knew, other will reflect on having altered their system to the detriment of their performance.

This disc will hopefully help to address these changes and enable them to refocus and return to the simple basics of success.

This is a truly valuable DVD which I plan to view many times.

This group of top fanciers have a consistency in their thinking and methods from which all of us, still striving for success, can learn.

Dr. G.A. Richmond

This is a terrific video! It will both inform and MOTIVATE you. It's not like anything that's come before. All of the champions who take part are true gentlemen of the sport. The way they are interviewed, the flow of what they say, and the relaxed and honest way they come across makes you feel like you are sitting in on a private conversation with the crème de la crème. The knowledge that they are sharing is clear, honest, basic, and so logical. A lot of it you know, but hearing them say it makes it real, and it's long overdue to remember this in today's world of potions and miracle cures. It has motivated me because these "dangerous men", as Jenner describes them in the movie, are winning by doing things right, and it gives you the information on what that is!

The section on respiration and the throat was mind blowing. It inspired me to look at my birds in a whole new way from the next time I step in the loft, especially when I'm picking my breeders. After seeing this video you will never use paper pedigrees alone to decide your matings ... it will be based on what you see in your pigeons!

If I have to be a film critic I should mention that all the good stuff is there. It's professional, good picture, pro quality, all that. But Jenner's movies have always been in a class by themselves. This is not a promotional loft visit. I know I'll watch it over and over.

That said, I should shut up about this! You wouldn’t want to buy this DVD and show it to your club mates. Oh no, It is a precious video and if you really want to go to the next level, listen to sound advice given by the best in the sport who quietly get on with their training, year in year out. But it is so well done I just have to sing its praises and hope my competitors don't hear me singing!

Chris Sutton

“Even though I’m in “Secrets of Champions” I can strongly recommend this new film to pigeon fanciers all over the world. There is too much sand in too many eyes that needs to be washed out! Jim Jenner’s new movie will truly help you learn to look at the hobby, and your own birds, in a different way. This is one of the very few pigeon movies that is not meant to promote pigeon sellers or products but to promote the PIGEON SPORT itself.

Ad Schaerlaeckens


After watching this new DVD from Jim Jenner, I would like to congratulate Jim, and everyone involved, on what is one of the best films on pigeons I have ever seen. The section on the throat theory makes it worth the money on its own.

I have watched a number of films by Jim Jenner and each one is a masterpiece.

Mick Betts - Midland Nat. Winner [twice]

Fantastic video!! I watched it with my good friend and mentor, Tim Kirshner, and we both agree...one of the most informative and entertaining videos ever. You exceeded my expectations!

Thanks for relighting the fire in my loft,

John Froelich

“Secrets of Champions” is another masterful production from Jim Jenner. Experienced fanciers and novices alike will benefit from watching Jim’s latest production. I only wish this video was available 30 years ago! I would have climbed the pigeon sport learning curve much faster. I hung on every word the Champions had to say as they revealed “secrets” I did not know existed and reinforced some principles I learned over the years the hard way. Their observations about the marketing mentality that permeates our sport resonated with my own thoughts about the folly of spending huge sums for birds that are not worth the paper their pedigrees are printed on. I thoroughly enjoyed the video and have recommended it to several of my friends.

Alex Cornella