Written by JCP - 7/23/2017




The 80 pigeons entered by BICC members were liberated at Marseille at 5.45 am BST along with a total convoy of 8,037 birds entered by fanciers from Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France and Luxembourg.

The make up of the convoy was as follows:-

Belgium: 1,795 birds; Germany 839 birds; France 2,712 birds; Netherlands 2,525 birds; Luxembourg 86 birds and UK 80 pigeons.

The conditions on liberation were perfect with sunshine, good visibility and a light breeze blowing. As can be seen from the weather and wind maps that accompany this report, the winds were light and variable in the early part of the race with the possibility that they would change to a more southerly aspect as the pigeons raced up the eastern side of France.

The Tour de France was taking place in the same south eastern region of France on the day of liberation and from the television images it was clear that the birds had excellent conditions with unlimited visibility to help them on their way.

The first birds began to be clocked at 15.29 BST at the loft of Duroy Ledoux covering the 675 kms to its home loft with a velocity of 1155 mpm. There then followed a stream of pigeons into north west France and south west Belgium with the eventual International winner being clocked at 16.11 at the Belgian loft of Etienne Charlier whose pigeon covered the 780 kms to its home loft at a speed of 1246 mpm.

Pigeons were also being clocked along the west coast of France between La Rochelle and Cherbourg with later timers homing to lofts in the Dieppe and Calais areas on the day.



Unfortunately there were no birds on the day into the UK. The English Channel proving yet again, to be an insurmountable obstacle for tired pigeons after a near 600 mile trek from south east France.



Nevertheless, fanciers who had entered were out and about early on the second morning and their faith in their entries was fully justified as the top class Dover partnership of Lee and his Dad Kevin Buddle clocked their great long distance hen “Lynx” at 7.17 am to be the first pigeon timed into the UK and recording 861 mpm over the 595 miles from South East France. The hen was clocked in terrible weather conditions with heavy rain and given these conditions it is almost certain that she crossed the Channel on the night but fading light and poor conditions prevented her reaching her home loft.

The first to be clocked proved to be the winner of the race in this case and it was good to speak to Kevin on the Saturday afternoon and congratulate the partners, who are in my opinion two of the nicest guys in the sport, on yet another great win with the BICC.

Here’s what Kevin and Lee had to tell me about their great hen Lynx:-

“Our provisional 1st East Section, 1st Open BICC Marseille winner is a 6yr old hen named 'Lynx' by my daughters. Raced on widowhood all season her preparation for this 595 mile International race was a couple of inland 100m Wingham Club trainers followed by BICC Alen├žon 194 miles on 13th May, EECC Boves 101 miles on 20th May, EECC Fontenay 187 miles on 27th May, EECC Fontenay 187 miles on 3rd June, then into BICC Pau/Mont De Marsan where she was our first bird clocked at 05:26am winning 20th Open. She was then rested for 3 week with a couple of 20 mile trainers in the last week build up to Marseille.

She has been a very reliable racing hen for us having previously won:- 3rd Open BICC Marseille 2016, 10th Open BICC Narbonne 2014, 17th Open BICC Perpignan 2015, 20th Open Pau/Mont De Marsan 2017, 28th Open BICC St Vincent 2013, 29th Open BICC Pau 2016 & 107th BICC Pau 2014. Having now won 1st Open BICC Marseille she has secured herself and our 6th 'BICC Certificate of Merit Award' for Three times top 15 open positions in BICC International races. She has now earned herself a place as a breeding hen and been retired..

Her bloodlines come down from some of the best long distance pigeons.

Her Sire is a direct G & C Cooper pigeon being a double grandson of their top breeder and racer 'Farm Boy'

Her Dam is a daughter of our good mate Mike Mitchell's 'Dutch Hen' herself a winner of 1st BICC Saran, 2nd BICC Perpignan, 8th BICC Tarbes, 11th BICC Pau, 13th BICC Pau, 13th BICC Tarbes, 13th BICC Perpignan Etc. The 'Dutch Hen' was paired to a son of our own 'BC' 2nd BICC Pau 2009, 1st Club Bergerac & Mike's 'Eve' 1st BICC Perpignan, 3rd BICC Perpignan, 6th BICC Tarbes etc..

She was clocked in the rain at 07:17am and was (bar a little wet) in super condition, going straight to a cock in her own nest box, not her own cock as he was lost 5 weeks prior from a preparatory EECC race.”

Congratulations Lee and Kevin on yet another outstanding performance. We’ll have a beer [or two] to celebrate in February. A comprehensive loft report of the Buddles can be found on the BICC web site.



Runner Up in both the East section and the Open was a two year old racing the 605 miles to the Wingham loft of Alan Annis & son and recording a velocity of 772 mpm. Alan clocked a good ‘un from the recent a Jan Aarden flown on natural and fed Bucktons VIP. Preparation included 3 x 40 mile single ups after coming home from Pau International where it was 145th Open BICC, it was sent sitting eggs to Marseille..Barcelona International finishing at 12th Open. Alan’s timer on this occasion was



At 1st Centre section and 3rd Open – ITMA – Its That Man Again Calum Edmiston of Horley. Calum clocked a 7 year old on 743 mpm for 625 miles. Regular readers of my BICC International race reports will immediately recognise Calum’s name as he invariably clocks well up on the result from the most difficult races. Despite this marvellous consistency in the hardest competition, try as I might, I cannot get Calum to agree to me writing an article highlighting his team’s marathon exploits. Be that as it may in this Marseille race he clocked two pigeons from his small team of long distance diehards to finish at 3rd & 10th Open. Here’s what an extremely reticent Calum had to tell me about his latest great long distance result:-

“My Section winner and third open Marseille winner is the loft favourite, nicknamed "Sergeant Major", he is the most honest bird I've had in many years' racing and he has never failed on any of his eight 500 plus milers. He has previously won 2nd BICC National Pau; 6th BICC National St Vincent amongst other positions and now wins a BICC Merit Award for three times in the first fifteen of the Open result in an International race. He was bred by Doug Gatland of Reigate from joint lines of his San Sebasti├ín cock/Van der Wegen hen and my Nico Volkens birds. He broke his leg on 13th May this year on a Coutances trainer but recovered to be lifted straight off the loft into Mont de Marsan where he was 151st BICC National, homing tired. He then had only loft exercise until Marseilles and was sitting up to time. He looked untouched by this second fly and had a full wing in one wing but had dropped his fourth in the basket on the other.
My second timer for tenth open and the two bird average(?) is my very good hen "Red rain". She has previously been 4th BICC National Agen(2nd National yearlings beaten by loft mate);11th BICC National
Pau as well as other positions. This is her seventh long distance International. She too wins a BICC Merit Award for finishing 3 times in the top15 Open in a BICC International race. Her breeding is Detlef Devers (interestingly winner of 1st German National in this race) paired with a direct Anton Van der Wegen that has bred me 3/4 good birds, she is a grand daughter of the Beer 1st Dutch National Marseille. She went to Mont de Marsan BICC Nat and was 91st open. In the Marseille race she was sent sitting 14 days and was lifted straight back with just loft exercise in between races. Feeding for both birds was 50% Vanrobaeys non stop / 50% relax and a few peanuts.
I have flown three long distance Nationals this year and won the section in them all.
My aim now is to try to build a new but stronger team for an assault on
in a few seasons. Success there would complete my pigeon journey. Thanks again for the unseen hard work you do to advertise the joy of long distance pigeon racing through the prism of the BICC.”


Open is the ever consistent father and son partnership of Geoff and Clayton Preece of th East section and taking 4rdNext up at 3Dover. The Preeces clocked a 6 year old on 740 mpm over the 596 mile course to maintain their excellent record in BICC International races. This is what Geoff had to say about this latest International race timer:-

“He is a Blue Widowhood cock, bred from our Stoffel ‘270’ Golden Barcelona lines. The sire of this pigeon was called ‘The Big Feller’ he was one out of the twenty Stoffel’s we bought back in 2008 when we was just starting pigeon racing, ‘The Big Feller’ scored three times from Marseille 12th, 15th and 20th National. Preparation for Marseille 2017 included Agen where he was 125th National, when he returned from Agen he was left to fully recover and just flew off the loft to keep him ticking over until 3 days before basketting when he was allowed to build a nest with his hen. This cock is also the sire to 13th National Marseille in 2015. Five of our Marseille National scores have been down to ‘The Big Feller’ and his off spring. “



F Knowles & son of Wingham, near neighbours of Alan Annis, come in at 4th East section 5th Open clocking a 4 year old on 703 mpm. Simon Knowles has I believe, won the Europa Cup for best Average all International races within the BICC on at least four occasions in recent years. Simon's pigeon was flown on the celibate system and was fed on Versele Laga All Rounder and prepared with 2 x East of England Continental Club races one of which was Fontenay where she finished at 12th Open. Its Sire is a Cyril Wells Cock, a full brother to the 6 times Marseille Cock, who was 21st Marseille 2013 and 79th Marseille 2012. The Dam is a Southwell hen which was 11th Marseille 2013, 66th Perpignan 2012 and 104th Argen 2011. The pigeon flew Marseille 2016 as well.


The Rhodes Family of Aylesham in Kent are enjoying an exceptional season in International competition even by their high standards and here they clock not just one but three pigeons to record velocities of 665.9, 590 mpm and 405 mpm to finish at 5th, 6th & 8th East section 6th , 11th & 15th Open. The second in the clock is another 4 year old chequer hen bred from Dennis Dall x A.E. Shepherd Seven Up bloodlines, crossed with the
3rd section 3rd open EECC Pithivers and flown Agen and Marseille twice. She has also won minor club positions and was sent to Marseille having just risen from her eggs and was “fooling around” with her mate again.
Open Marseille winner. The hen has previously wonnd Open NFC Tarbes, crossed with a twice 2th The first of the three timers is a 4 year old chequer hen, a daughter of 12
Rhodes’s Joost bloodlines. She has previously won 13th sect 26th open EECC Canappeville; 4th sect 4th open BICC Marseille and 14th sect 28th open BICC St Vincent. This hen was sent sitting 3 day eggs.

The third bird in the clock was a 2013 late bred carrying an old ring, this time a blue hen and a daughter of Joost x Euro Diva. The hen had previously flown Agen and Marseille winning 3rd club 22nd Fed Fougeres, sent to Marseille sitting 10 day eggs.


Mark Gilbert of Winkfield near Windsor comes in with three birds, the first of which is a 2 year old to finish at 2nd Centre section 7th Open velocity 665.5 mpm over the 653 miles. This is a grandson of Mark’s BICC Marseille winner. His father was a son of Rutz and Son’s Evo.


open Perpignan as a yearling in 2016 and now has been sent to four International races and scored well each time. Being 8th open th Open. She won the section and was 8th Centre section 9thMark’s second timer, another 2 year old, finished on 616 mpm for 4Perpignan, 23rd at Vincent as a yearling and 37th Pau and 9th open Marseille as a two year old. Her father is a son of Laureat the International winner from Barcelona and her mother is a Daughter of Euro Diamond.


Open. This is another hen and she is a daughter of a BICC Agen winner for Mark when paired to a cock that was 6th open th Centre section 13thOn the Sunday morning, the third day, Mark clocked a third pigeon doing 469mpm to finish at 7Barcelona for him.

Three pigeons impeccably bred to do the job that they did.


A & T Deacon of Waterlooville in Hampshire, have, over more than three decades produced some outstanding results in long distance International races fro Southern France and a little dark chequer Southwell cock, that is a grandson of Albi’s late cousin Ernie Deacon’s Millenium Supremo 1st Open National Flying Club Pau. His half brother was 1st sect 8th open Marseille for the Deacons in 2015. He flew the Pau substitute race this year and came late on the second day.Spain. In this Marseille race they clocked a 4 year old on 638 mpm to finish at 3rd Centre section 8th Open. Albi clocked

Albi clocked a second pigeon, a three year old on 476 mpm, to finish at 6th Centre section 12th Open.


Bill Knox of Tyler’s Hill near Canterbury is currently the holder of the Europa Cup with the BICC and in this Marseille race he comes in with one of his team, a 6 year old, to take 7th East section 14th Open on 429 mpm.


Next race and final International race of the 2017 campaign takes place on 4th August basketting 31st July. Good luck to all who send.


Copyright Gareth Watkins 2017.

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