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Written by Marcel Görtzen - 6/26/2017





June at 6.35 am BST when 11,164 birds entered by fanciers from all over mainland Europe were liberated into high cloud and good visibility with a light west north west wind in their faces. The convoy included 508 BICC pigeons which in turn included nine pigeons entered by thThe first International race of the 2017 campaign took place from the French town of Mont de Marsan on Saturday 24Northern Ireland fanciers Paul Swindell and daughter. This year’s entry is up by more than 100 on the 2016 figure so the interest in International racing with the BICC is certainly continuing to stay firm.

The original intention was obviously to race from the French city of Pau but due to forecast bad weather for the region in the northern foothills of the Pyrennes the convoy was relocated to the town of Mont de Marsan approximately 40 miles north of Pau.

The town of Mont-de-Marsan is inland in Aquitaine, in the Landes department and south of the Parc Naturel Regional des Landes de Gascogne. It is at the confluence of the Midou river and Douze river (which together form the Midouze river).


Right, now let’s get on with the report on the runners and riders who were successful in this latest International race.

The convoy of 11,164 birds was made up as follows:-

Belgium 2,147 pigeons; Netherlands 3,514 pigeons; UK 508; Germany 1,197 pigeons; France 3,764 pigeons; Luxembourg 30 pigeons.


The first pigeons began to be clocked in north central France at 15.37 pm recording a velocity of 1239 mpm there then followed a stream of pigeons in an arc around the north of Paris between Amiens and Riems. One partnership in particular enjoyed a truly outstanding series of timings and that was Ledoux & sons of Rollot who clocked 9 pigeons between 15.43 pm and 16.17 pm. The early leader on the leader board was one to Dominique Casail who clocked at 15.59 for a velocity of 1248 mpm. Jean Dumas was the first to clock into Belgium with his 16.18 pm timer recording 1239 ypm.

However, the eventual winner of the International race was clocked at Limmen in the Netherlands by Ed Maat, the winning pigeon covering the 1036 km[600+ miles]distance to its home loft with a velocity of 1310 mpm.

Hopes were high therefore that birds would get across the English Channel on the day. These hopes proved to be well founded as Dean Childs of Basildon clocked his 2 year old hen at 6.58 pm to record a velocity of 1152 mpm over the 532 mile course. Dean also clocked further pigeons to finish at 24th, 27th,58th, 72nd & 80th Open, so his young team consisting of yearlings and two year olds seem to be coming into their own.

The Pau [Mont de Marsan] winner, now named Chalice Darcey after Dean’s newly born niece, is a two year old blue hen flown celibate. The usual practice with the celibate hens has been to only allow them access to the racing cocks on their return from the races. However, on the night prior to Pau basketting all hens were allowed together with the cocks. In preparation for Pau the hen was given every inland race plus BICC Falaise, Alencon and Poitiers 1 followed by the difficult NFC race from Messac. She was then given three weeks rest and sent to Pau fresh and raring to go. Her breeding is immaculate as her sire is Dean’s No 1 stock cock which in turn is a son of Alwyn Hill’s Champion Wing Down. Her dam is a direct daughter of Mark Gilbert’s Dax International winner “Southfield Supreme” when he was mated to the great “L” ring Hen - bred in the purple then.

Feeding is a combination of Versele Laga mixtures including Superstar Plus in races up to 300 miles. Dean then “beefs up” the feeding with Champion Plus along with Energy Plus and extra peanuts in the final days before basketting for the long distance International races. . The racers are exercised for one to two hours daily depending on what Dean thinks they need. All birds have health checks regularly throughout the season by a professional avian vet.


Dean has asked me to thank all those fanciers who have phoned to congratulate him on his win and would also like to say a big thank you to his Dad, John for all his help with the birds.

Congratulations Dean on an excellent team performance. I’m sure the readers will look forward to the loft report I will be writing in the very near future, highlighting your methods and recent successes.


Open in this year’s thIn the runner up spot with a velocity of 1150 mpm is two year old to another fancier who regularly clocks pigeons at or near the top of the results in BICC National and International races, none other than Robbie Harris of Ramsgate. This is Robbie’s second near miss of the 2017 BICC campaign as his timer finished at 4Alencon National. As readers will no doubt be aware Robbie is a double International winner with the BICC and this latest success was achieved by atwo year old chequer cock bred by Robbie’s good friend and top class fancier John Chipperfield.

Here’s what Robbie had to tell me about his latest top ten finish:-

“The 2 year old chequer cock I timed was bred for me by my good friend John Chipperfield and it is a half brother to John’s 1st open BICC Perpignan and 2nd open BICC Pau. The sire of the pigeon is John’s good stock cock from Raymond Moleveld and the mother of it is the same mother that bred john 1st open Perpignan and 2nd open Pau. My 2nd Open winner had 1 Bedhampton trainer 110 miles 1 trainer from Lyndhurst 136 miles then BICC Falaise, Alencon, and Poitiers 1 taking 39th open 17th section. I then gave him a 65 mile trainer 9 days before basketing ready for this International, me and my son have named our winning cock Johnny Boy!! I’d like to congratulate Dean Childs on winning and every body else who timed in and a big thanks to John Chipperfield for breeding me the cock.”


In third Open on 1089 mpm and topping the West section is another two year old racing all the way into the West Country against the prevailing west wind to the loft of multiple National and International winners, Geoff and Catherine Cooper of Peasedown St John, a truly outstanding performance given the prevailing conditions. Apparently, Geoff was waiting on his own in the misty rain for the Pau birds as Catherine was missing - gone with friends to Royal Ascot. She was thrilled to hear from Geoff that they had timed at 19.21 to win 1st section.

The first bird timed was a three year old son of Georgeson, son of George and Gina, dam of Wollongong, making him a half brother to Wollongong 1st International Pau and a Grandson of George 1st Grand National Tarbes.

He has previously won 8th National Falaise and 17th Classic Coutances.

  1. second bird was a 2 year old Blue hen, a daughter of EuroStar, a son of Euro Diamond and Dark Cathay who is a daughter of George 1st Grand National Tarbes. She is a sister to many good pigeons including 1st Ace bird Europe Wuhan Golden Sands Derby and 1st Greater Distance club Agen.

The third bird was a three year old hen, she is a grand daughter of Farmer George 1st International Bordeaux and George 1st Open NFC and King’s Cup from Tarbes. She raced well as a young bird but hadn't been raced again until this year.

The sire was a son of George and the dam is out of Farmer George. All the birds are flown widowhood and all are grandchildren of George. Geoff and Catherine would like to send their congratulations to Dean Childs on winning the race..


Ken McGowan of Chatham in Kent comes in at 3rd East section 4th Open with a two year old cock on 1070 mpm. Ken’s timer was bred by Kevin Foster from Deweerdt bloodlines through “George” the King’s Cup winner for Geoff and Catherine Cooper. He was raced on round about early in the season and then re mated and sent to Pau sitting eggs. Preparation this season included four inland races through to Poole followed by BICC Alencon and Poitiers 1 and a single up from Southampton in the week before basketting for Pau.


Open on a velocity of 1066 mpm is one to the Horley loft of Calum Edmiston. Calum is a dedicated “Internationalist” and I can honestly say that in the six years since I took up the BICC Press Officers role there are very few, if any International races he has failed to get on the result sheet. This level of consistency in International races isn’t surprising given the fact that his mentor was the late, great John Nicholson of thIn at 5Rochester. Calum only races a few pigeons and he usually gets a team performance from his small “band of brothers” and in this race he clocked another of his team to finish at 26th Open plus several others to take Open positions which are detailed later in this report. This is what he had to tell me about his latest success:-

“This is my second BICC Pau section winner in four seasons being
11th 2nd & 18th Open with my first bird in those corresponding races. So far this season birds bred by me have been 1st Open BBC Coutances, 9th CSCFC
Pau and now 5th Open BICC Mont de Marsan.
I was a little disappointed with the weather this weekend and thus the
selected shorter distance liberation point. My section winner is a two
year old dark pied hen from my Volkens based birds. She was flown natural to her 14 foot racing loft on 12 day eggs. She had 3 short channel hops and BICC
Poitiers 1 in preparation. She is a sister to the previously mentioned 9th CSCFC Pau
winner. Feeding was Van Robaeys Non Stop”.


The Clacton on Sea partnership of Terry and Tucker Fox and Michael Symonds come in next at 4th East section 6th Open with a four year old recording 1033 mpm. The partners’ timer is a grizzle cock bred by Robbie Harris of Ramsgate[ 2nd Open in this race] containing the bloodlines of Robbie’s “Tusky” hen that was 6th Open BICC Marseille which in turn is closely related to all of Robbie’s BICC winners. The grizzle is a broken pigeon as the present partnership was only formed for young bird racing in 2016. The cock was raced on widowhood and has had two Boves races with the EECC followed by Poitiers 2 with the BICC in preparation for Pau. He has been fed on Superstar Plus with a little Super Widowhood and Gerry Plus. On basketting Michael thought he was handling a bit light but blown up like a balloon!! It certainly didn’t stop him Michael.

Its been an emotional time for the partners as Michael lost his granddad, Bill Symonds last week and his partner Terry lost his wife last year who was Tucker’s mum, so this performance has gone a long way to cheering up the lads. They also clocked the second of their two entries to be 29th open. Well done lads!!


Mike Mitchell of Dover has won a number of BICC International races in recent years and in this race he clocked a two year old on 1032 mpm to finish at 5th East section 7th Open. This hen was bred from two generations of birds from Mike’s race team and she carries the blood lines of most of the loft’s winners from the past with the great racing hen EVE being the grand mother on one side and great grandmother on the other side. Preparation of the hen was as follows:-

2x 40miles trainers followed by 2 at 60miles with the local club, then1x100miles again with club. Her Channel races included Boves with the EECC at 103miles when she was on the wing for 4½ hours, then Fontenay at 189 miles where she had a 4 ¾ hour pipe opener.


Geoff and Catherine Coopers second in the clock comes in next at 2nd West section 8th Open on 1023 mpm.


Yet another top class partnership come in at 6th East section 9th Open with a two year old on 977 mpm, none other than the Wickford, Essex duo of Dickie and son Steve Pearmain. Here’s what Steve Pearmain had to tell me about their latest long distance success:-

“Dad has raced the birds this year as I'm back home in Ireland working now.

We were well chuffed when the cock came at 9.14 pm on the night

The father of this 2 year old cock has now bred 4 or 5 pigeons to score in the top 20 of BICC races, normally at a slower pace.

A big well done for all the fanciers that timed on the night and congratulations to Dean Childs and his father John on winning 1st Open BICC Pau - fantastic flying.”



Finishing off the top ten Open prizes is another two year old racing to the Dark Blue White Flight Hen. This hen is a granddaughter of the late Bill Woodall’s ‘98’ cock and also a great granddaughter to the legendary ‘Jack Jones’ and on the other side has the bloodlines of Stoffel Ophoff ‘270’ lines x Hermes.Dover lofts of multiple BICC winners Geoff and Clayton Preece. Their timer recorded a velocity of 953 mpm . The first bird across the ETS pad for the partners was a two year old

National Perpignan 2016 as a yearling. The hen had been training on the widowhood system but paired to another race hen and was sent to thShe was 25Mont de Marsan sitting 5 day old eggs. Next bird over the ETS pad is a three year old chequer widowhood cock. This late bred 2014 cock was 2nd National Perpignan 2016. He is a son to Geoff and Clayton’s great performer ‘Wiggins’2x1st Perpignan and a grandson to the legendary record setting ‘Jack Jones’ the first ever day bird to be recorded into the UK from the Perpignan International. Apart from being hawked he returned from Mont de Marsan in good condition.


Some other birds clocked in other sections include the winner in the North Central section racing to the Hitchin loft of John Black. John clocked a two year old widowhood hen on 598 mpm . The sire was from John Chipperfield and is a son of "De Brive" 1st NPO 7,700 birds from Raymond Moleveld. Dam was a gift from ex president of NFC Fred Sharman and is a daughter of Mark Bulled’s Tarbes NFC King’s Cup winner Legacy. John’s timer has had two water races from Alencon and Messac this year before going to Pau .This is her fourth top ten section position and her next race will be Perpignan in early August.

John Haverly comes in next in this section again with a two year old on 594 mpm. John’s timer is a Jan Theelen Red cock that was on widowhood in the early part of the season and was re mated specifically for the Pau International and sent sitting eggs. He had two short channel races this season in preparation. As a yearling he flew Bergerac returning badly injured due to a hawk attack.

Clive Brown of Alconbury clocked a two year old on 567 mpm to take 3rd North Central section.


In the Centre section Calum Edmiston tops the section with Adie Zepciuc in the R/U spot with a two year old doing 947 mpm. This one finishes just outside the top ten at 11th Open. Unfortunately the mobile phone number I have for Mr Zepciuc was unobtainable.

Open was a four year old to former thIn third spot in the Centre section and taking 13Barcelona winners Mannor Lofts of Southampton. Clare Martin and Jack Norman clocked the four year old on 930 mpm. This is what the partners had to tell me about their pigeon:-

“Our timer has been a very reliable bird for us and is normally in the top 5 back to the loft. His racing highlights are 21st Open BICC Alencon, 80th Open BICC Agen, 128th Open CSCFC Messac and 140th Open BICC Poitiers which was his last race before Mont De Marsan. He is our own blend of distance pigeons which include Venner, Red Barcelona, Delbar and Brian Sheppard. His Grandsire was one of only 20 birds on the day from BICC Agen in 2012.”


The Coopers did a “demolition job” on the Opposition in the West section recording a superb 1-2-3 with other birds to follow on the result.

The top three in the East section were Dean Childs at 1st section 1st Open; Robbie Harris 2nd section 2nd Open and Ken McGowan at 3rd section 4th Open.


There were a number of excellent team performances in the race and these multiple timers included:-

Geoff and Catherine Coopers 1st ,2nd, 3rd section 3rd, 8th & 12th Open; Calum Edmiston with five birds on the result at 5th,26th, 91st,126th & 149th Open; Mark Gilbert’s 14th,16th,19th, 31st, 39th ,48th,74th[2],79th,82nd & 88th Open; Dean Child’s 1st ,24th, 27th ,58th, 72nd & 80th Open; Nicholson & son’s 18th, 35th , 45th ,92nd & 97th Open; L & K Buddle 20th , 25th,50th , 54th & 146th Open clocking 5 of their 6 bird entry on the result; Preece & son 10th,28th, 42nd, 87th & 93rd Open, terrific flying by all at the highest level.

The above list of prize winners is based on the provisional result provided at time of going to press.


To finish this report I would like to draw BICC members’ attention to the following IMPORTANT INFORMATION. When you read this report BICC members will have had the opportunity to compete for the second time this season in an International race – on this occasion Agen. However, I will not be able to be contacted by telephone UNTIL SUNDAY EVENING 2nd JULY. Those BICC members who have successfully clocked pigeons can however SEND ME DETAILS OF THEIR PIGEONS BY E MAIL prior to this. I can be contacted on and I will do my best to write up the Agen International report during Sunday evening so that it will be ready for publication by early Monday morning 3rd July. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated. Good luck to all who compete from Agen.


Gareth Watkins

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