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Perpignan in the UK

Written by JCP - 8/6/2017







On Friday 4th August the convoy of 14,930 pigeons entered by fanciers from all parts of Europe was liberated at 7 am CEST [6 am BST] from the French town of Perpignan situated in the beautiful Rousillon region of South East France close to the border with Spain.

Weather conditions were near perfect with blue skies and hardly any wind with excellent visibility.

The 14,930 pigeons consisted of 4,677 from Belgium; 4,159 from France; Netherlands 4,789; Luxembourg 45; Germany 985 and UK 275.


The first birds began to be clocked at 5.18 pm at the French loft of Richard Roge recording a velocity of 1118 mpm. Bernard Weischaar then clocked at 5.22 pm recording a velocity of 1160 mpm over the 792 kms to its home loft. This later proved to be the winner of the French National race. Freialdenhofen & sons timed to win the German National on 1147 mpm with Rans Stein & Jeroen winning the Belgian National on 1145 mpm. Pigeons were then being recorded throughout France and Belgium and even as far north as North Holland on the day with the eventual International winner being clocked at 1.27 am in complete darkness at the Dutch loft of Pieter Woord of Urk recording an incredible 1229 mpm.

Unfortunately there were no day birds recorded into the UK and it was not until 13.14pm on the second day that a two year old widowhood cock dropped on the loft of multiple National and International winner Mark Gilbert to record a velocity of 712 mpm over the 634 mile course from South East France to southern England. Mark clocked a second pigeon at the same time as I was speaking to him on the Sunday morning and this one – a yearling looks good enough for 2nd Centre section 15th Open vel 449 mpm. Mark’s third in the clock, a 2 year old takes 18th Open vel 432 mpm. Mark’s winning pigeon is certainly bred in the purple [ as are most of the Gilbert pigeons].

This is what Mark had to tell me during our brief conversation – i.e. before the arrival of his second pigeon from Perpignan so rudely interrupted our conversation!

“As mentioned the winner is a son of “Golden Barcelona” the 2nd ace pigeon of Europe at Barcelona over three years and the Gold Wing winner. His performances include 6th National Barcelona 8,764 birds; 23rd National Barcelona 11,590 birds; 175th National Barcelona 10,542birds also 2nd Provincial 919birds Narbonne.

The mother is daughter of New Laureatt 1st International
Barcelona when paired to a daughter of the old Laureatt 1st International Barcelona

With bloodlines of that calibre its easy to appreciate why this man is winning National races out of turn.

There’s not a lot more that I can write about this phenomenon that goes by the name of Mark Gilbert. He must now rank in any objective assessment as amongst the best fanciers in Europe if not the world. Well done Mark on another National win with the BICC. A comprehensive loft report on the Gilbert set up can be found on the BICC web site.


The Dover father and son partnership of Geoff and Clayton Preece have a truly excellent record in BICC International races with Perpignan usually their most successful race in the International calendar. In this year’s race they maintain their excellent record by timing not just one but FIVE pigeons to finish at 1st ,8th, 9th 14th & 17th East section 2nd ,9th & 10th , 16th & 20th Open vels 620,552, 541,437 & 423 mpm. Here’s the detail on the pigeons that Geoff and Clayton clocked:-

National Perpignan proving he can fly both Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the race calendar. He returned from nd National Agen and now 2th National Barcelona to 9th National then he was given a 65 mile channel trainer 10 days before Perpignan basketting and was also allowed to build a nest with his hen 3 days before basketting. This cock is proving to be one of our most versatile pigeons as he has raced in 8 Internationals: 2 x Barcelona, 3 x Perpignan, 1 x Narbonne and 2 x Agen scoring in all 8 ranging from 16th National Perpignan (2016/2017). The lead up to Perpignan for ‘792’ was Agen International where he came 18nd“First home is a five year old Chequer Widowhood cock. This cock is a Grandson to the legendary day bird from Perpignan 2010 ‘Jack Jones’, this is Jack Jones’s second grandson to be 2Perpignan in the rain, soaked through however we knew when the weather turned bad he would be the one to push through for us as he always does.

Second bird in the clock is a French ringed Chequer pied widowhood hen. Bought at a French auction from the 2014 and 2015 Super Marathon champions Rezenthel Freres, she is a grand daughter to their ‘920’which has 10 International Prizes to its name . As a yearling she came 5th National Narbonne and this year she has flown Mont De Marson , St.Vincent where she was 12th National and Perpignan 9th National. This was her 4th International performance at just 2 years old, a great prospect for the future.

German National Barcelona 2012. Final preparations for st German National Barcelona 2005 and a granddaughter to his 1st Yearling Perpignan 2017. This yearling hen is a granddaughter to Raymond Hermes’s 1stNext up a Blue Celibate yearling hen. 1Perpignan included BICC Le Mans 223 Miles (6 hours flying time) 2 weeks before Perpignan basketting. She is also a half sister to our yearling that was 2nd National Narbonne 2016. We bought the Sire to the pigeon at the beginning of the 2015 season direct from Raymond Hermes and his offspring are already making a huge impact on our loft. The Raymond Hermes stock cock also produced our 2 year old Barcelona 2017 returner.

Then we have the fourth bird home, a National Perpignan 2016. He is a son to our great performer ‘Wiggins’2x1st nd Chequer Widowhood cock. This late bred 2014 cock was 2Perpignan and a grandson to the legendary record setting ‘Jack Jones’ the first ever day bird to be recorded into the UK. This pigeon flew Mont De Marsan this year returning hawked but still scoring 28th National and managed to make a speedy recovery just flying off the loft and then in time for a 65 Mile Channel trainer 10 days before Perpignan basketting picture below of how he returned from Mont De Marsan.

Finally the fifth pigeon clocked is a 2 year old Blue hen. Due to a serious injury as a young bird this hen has had a delayed debut to the international racing scene, as a yearling being treated as a young bird and as a 2 year old being treated as a yearling to try and make up the education and experience lost in its first year due to injury. This hen is a great granddaughter to ‘Jack Jones’. The Dam to this pigeon was gifted to us back in 2010 by Danny Knapp (D B Knapp of Laughton) it is a 2003 Stoffel that still to this day produces fertile eggs. The sire is 50% Bernd Mosnowski and 50% ‘Jack Jones’. Preparation for this hen also included BICC Le Mans, she also had 6 hours on the wing and trapped from Le Mans with the yearling that is 1st yearling Perpignan 2017. A week before basketting she laid an egg paired to another race hen but due to it being the last race of the year we gave them straw and let them sit the eggs in a nest alongside the grit tray.”



Open is 2 year old on 617 mpm to the Aylesham , rd East section 3ndNext up at 2Kent loft of Mr & Mrs Rhodes and family. Steve, Sally and family have enjoyed an outstanding season of International racing with the BICC in 2017 with the following positions:-

Barcelona Open; th&15th, 11th Open from a 5 bird entry; Marseille : 6nd & 22th,11th, 10th: 8Perpignan: 3rd Open. Add to these performances an excellent race with the BBC from Zaragosa and you have the sort of season that dreams are made from. Steve and Sally had this to say about their latest race success:-

“We are very pleased to time a good pigeon in the last International race Perpignan taking 3rd open 2nd section. This pigeon was sent driving his hen to nest and was timed down the list from Mont de Marsan earlier this season. He is a two year old bred down from House of Aarden stock. The sire was our second timer from the recent Barcelona BICC race and his blood line is Titus, Sister Victoria, The President on sire’s side and the dam’s line is “De Barcelona " “Invincible Double” x " Lady Invincible "
When he came home we had a very bad storm with the rain crashing down so he is now named "Storm”.


Robert Collins of Whitstable in Kent got two birds well up on the leader board at 3rd & 7th East section 4th & 8th Open vels 604 & 560 respectively. The first in the clock is a 4 year old chequer hen of Southwell bloodlines bred by Mr Cotton of Belvedere in Kent. She flew Perpignan in 2016 and this year has had 2 x Poitiers and Pau International with the BICC where she finished at 23rd Open. She was then set up for Perpignan where she was basketted sitting 4 day old eggs. Robert’s second timer is a chequer cock of Louella Jan Aarden x Invincible Spirit lines on the sire’s side of his pedigree and Van Hee from the Natural Breeding Station on the dam’s side. He was sent driving his hen to nest.


Alan Annis & son of Wingham have also enjoyed a remarkable season’s racing with the BICC at International level with the following positions:-

Open; thAgen: 12 was also clocked from Perpignan last year. It's sire is bred by his good friend Simon Knowles, it was 9th open BBC Barcelona, 15th BICC Barcelona and 56th open Pau BICC. The hen is a full sister to 65th open NFC Tarbes 2017. The Annis team are flown on Natural and the Perpignan hen was sent sitting on 14 day eggs and Fed on Bucktons VIP.

Barcelona:13th Open; St Vincent: 47th & 50th Open; Marseille: 2nd Open and now Perpignan 5th Open. Alan’s timer here is one that


Open velocity 575 mpm we see a 3 year old hen racing the 615 miles to the outstanding long distance lofts of J. Nicholson & son of th East section 6thAt 5Rochester in Kent. This is what Spencer had to tell me about his latest timer:-

“Our 6th Open Perpignan hen, 'Polly', is a 3 year old late bred who has been an excellent bird for us this year, flying 3 internationals in the same year, clocking well up in all of them to be 35th Mont de Marsan, 13th St Vincent and now 6th Perpignan, homing to an 8 day old youngster. She is bred from a hen that also flew 3 x 600 mile races in the same year and her sire is a son of Kate (a Spanish diploma winner & 3rd BICC Perpignan) & Plum (Plum flew Barcelona, Marseille & Perpignan in the same season). She flew Agen last year, taking around a fortnight to return home and apart from 4 times at the long distance she has only ever had 2 short channel races in her life, always flying inland. She has accumulated 3,000 miles of racing this year and she had 3 x 30 mile training tosses in the last few days leading up to Perpignan.”

David Hales of Hockley in Essex is yet another fancier with multiple wins with the BICC in International races. In this Perpignan tester David, ably assisted by Duncan Goodchild timed a 3 year old on 565 mpm to finish at 6th East section 7th Open. This is what Duncan had to tell me:-

“Firstly congratulations to Mark Gilbert the race winner and all the birds clocked on the winning day in what proved to be another steady International.
We have named our bird “Just for John” after a friend who was waiting in Dave's garden desperate to see an International bird home although we explained you don't really wait they just turn up?
The 7th Open is a Blue 3 year old widowhood cock our first bird from Perpignan 2016 being 13th Open.
Not paired this year only seeing his hen on return from channel racing he had 3 short channel races then onto Mont De Marsan again our first bird being 80th Open, he was then rested and had a couple of 50 mile training spins before being sent off to Perpignan to do his best.
His sire is the classiest International bird we have raced being Tubby a Fauche x Parker Blue cock he was 3rd Open BICC 677th International 637 miles, 7th Open BICC Pau 575 miles on day, 8th Open BICC Marseille, 9th Open BICC Pau 110th International 575 miles again on day and 37th Open BICC Tarbes 580 miles.
The grandsire of our bird is 88 a Biss pigeon who was the sire of our 15th Open BICC Barcelona bird 2017 and was 7th Open Barcelona himself being clocked on the 2nd day at 709 miles”.

It was good to speak to David again. Keep your chin up mate and all the best.

Robert Collins’ second timer comes in at 8th Open with Geoff and Clayton Preece’s second and third in the clock taking 9th & 10th Open.

Open. Here’s what Robbie had to tell me about his th East section 11thThen we have Robbie Harris’ first in the lock coming in at 535 mpm to take 10Perpignan timer:-

“My Perpignan International hen is a full sister to my 1st section 1st open BICC Perpignan International winner of 2015. This season she has had 2 x 100 mile training tosses followed by BICC Alencon, BICC Poitiers 1, then sent to Pau International{ Mont de Marsan} being my 4th pigeon to the loft. I was in two minds to send to Perpignan as myself, the Mrs and the 2 squeakers went to Turkey for a holiday for the week and only returned 6 days before basketing for Perpignan and the birds had been locked up for a week. So on my return I exercised them with the youngsters, then on the Friday before basketing I took them 25 miles for a trainer then the Saturday I took them 50 mile just to loosen them up a bit in preparation for Perpignan. I was starting to wonder where all the UK Perpignan birds were on the 2nd morning up till lunch time as the weather here was terrible - raining hard and thunderstorms most of the morning and the afternoon. I said to the Mrs “you watch old miss reliable will be here she will not give up” - then as I opened my 1st can of beer at 19.45 she swung round the loft. Happy to see her would be an understatement!!!! All being well, Barcelona will be her main race next season. I would like to congratulate Mark Gilbert on winning the race and everyone else that has clocked in on a very testing International race”.

Charlie Simmons of Basildon takes 11th East section and 12th Open with a yearling on 467 mpm.

The Dover partnership of Lee and Kevin Buddle, fresh from their great win at Marseille timed a 3 year old on 463 mpm to take 13th Open and followed this up with another two birds at 19th & 23rd Open. Here’s what the partners had to tell me:-

“Our first bird in the clock from Perpignan is a 3year old cock on his 3rd 500+ mile International race of the season where he won a prize in all three races being Provisionally 13th Open Perpignan 2017, 35th Open St Vincent 2017, 50th Open Pau/Mont De Marsan 2017. He has also previously won 39th Open Perpignan in 2016. As with all our birds he has been raced all season on 100% widowhood and was given his bowl and hen a couple of hours prior to race marking. His breeding is G & C Cooper on the Sire’s side being a g-son of their 'PD' & 'JW' and the Dam is Mark Gilbert blood being a g-dtr of 'Southfield Supreme' winner of 1st International Dax for Mark. Our Second pigeon in the clock is a 2yr old on her first time to an International. She is a daughter of our good 4x Barcelona cock 'Pipi' winner of 5th, 9th & 10th Open BICC Barcelona when he was paired to a H & P Archibald Hen being a daughter of 'Barcelona Bob' 2nd & 4th BICC Barcelona & 'Pau Hen' 4th Open BICC Pau, 24th International Hens.”


Simon Knowles a near neighbour of Alan Annis in as much as they have their lofts on the same patch of land at the former Malibu Stud, comes in with a bird on 461 mpm to take 14th Open.

open BICC Agen 2014. Also the half sister of this bird has been 30th open BICC St. Vincent 2016 and 21st open BICC thSimon's bird is of Cyril Wells bloodlines, sent sitting 14 day eggs and fed on Versele Laga All Rounder with added peanuts, sunflower hearts and other small seeds. It has previously had; 122nd open BICC Agen 2017; 10th open BICC Perpignan 2016; 101st open BICC Agen 2016; 20th open BICC Perpignan 2015; 125th open BICC Agen 2015; 44.Perpignan 2016


Ron Dove of Ashford in Kent, the 2016 BICC Barcelona winner takes 17th Open vel 434 mpm with a 3 year old.

Then we have Lee and Kevin Buddle’s second timer on 428 mpm at 19th Open followed by Geoff and Clayton Preece’s fifth pigeon at 20th Open vel 423 mpm.

There then followed a brief flurry of activity with Doug Gatland timing a 2 year old on 397 mpm for 4th Centre section 21st Open. Bill Knox is there once again timing a 3 year old on 393 mpm for 22nd Open. Mr & Mrs Angell of Iver in Buckinghamshire come in with a 4 year old flying 635 miles with a velocity of 371 mpm to take 5th Centre section and 23rd Open followed by Lee and Kevin Buddle’s third in the clock , a 4 year old at 24th Open on 369 mpm. At time of going to press Mike Mitchell’s 3 year old completes the top 25 in the open on 346 mpm.

A very difficult race to finish off the BICC International race programme and yet the same old faces of the “usual suspects” have sprung to the surface yet again. Well done all.


A late addition to the result is one pigeon that has made it home into the west section battling against a strong west north westerly wind and this one is a two year old chequer cock racing the 683 miles to the Ponthir, Newport loft of Ray Strawbridge and John Williams recording a velocity of 317 mpm. He was at Mont de Marsan a month before Perpignan where he finished at 3rd Gwent Greater Distance club. Sire is from the best of John Wills’ Old Shepherd family when mated to a Bruggeman hen from Gareth Watkins.

stDam is from Tom Thumb 1Barcelona when mated to The Vandervelden Hen dam of Dennis Ford’s great racer and National winner Seren Eleven.


Club President John Tyerman has sent me this short piece which I have included here. It should make interesting reading for our more northerly members.

“Along with John Wills I travelled to Ash on the Monday for the BICC marking at the Lion Brewery Pub. It was a lovely sunny afternoon spent, in the pub garden having refreshments in the company of Mike Armitage, Mark Gilbert and others. We chatted about the fairly serious bird losses for some organisations and BICC having being fortunate to have had good returns from our National races. Some of the International races proved quite difficult but the BICC have no input to the actual liberations. We also discussed the possibility of replacing this year's first Poitiers race with a new race point such as Ancenis or Cholet, and this will be on the agenda for the October Committee meeting.

As usual our Secretary Carol was working hard on the admin side to ensure the Perpignan entries all went through correctly. Incredibly this was our 15th race of the season and we have to commend Carol for the very efficient manner in which she deals with all the race markings, paperwork and getting a result out in good time. Doug Gatland was also at the table assisting Carol. The bulk of the birds were marked through the ETS and rubbered by young Luke Oglesbury who I am told races in partnership with his Nan and Grandad, Mr and Mrs Beasley of Reading. His mate Chris Weathers also was a good help at the marking, so our thanks to you all for taking the time and effort to help Carol. Indeed the same thanks is extended to all those involved in the race marking and running of all BICC marking stations


John Tyerman (President)”



….And finally a brief report from Russell Bradford our treasurer……

“With the BICC’s old bird program at an end for another year I felt a few facts and figures may be of general interest. The membership count currently stands at 1,536 which, in the last five years, indicates an impressive increase of just over 40%, although this year’s headcount is very marginally down on 2016, which perhaps shows how the sport is slowly but surely shrinking. The membership may have decreased a tiny amount but the birdage is still on the rise overall. Up to and inclusive of the International races, but with still the Young bird and Any Age races to come in August and September, the club has sent 21,748 pigeons to the various races, eleven hundred up; or just over 5% better than in 2016. We have sold over 9,000 “B” rings; almost double any previous years, and every “B” ring will eligible for a prize in the forthcoming young bird races for no additional cost. The first “B” ring in each section, in both races will collect a £25.00 prize. There are a few hundred rings left if any member is breeding late breds, so contact Carol Francis. The club has been saving specifically over the last five years or more with a view to replacing the larger of our two lorries - the old Volvo which is now some twenty one years old and was used this year to go to Poitiers and runs well. This vehicle will carry around 3000 birds in BICC wire bottomed crates that comfortably take 16/18 birds. Troughs allow feeding and watering on both sides of crates. If anyone out there is interested in purchasing this vehicle the best offer over £3000 secures.

Yet again this year, we have been able to add to the dedicated bank savings account which now has very close to £50,000.00 in it for the purpose of purchasing a new purpose-built lorry, which hopefully is not too far away.”


That’s yer lot for Old birds. Next race up is the Guernsey Young Bird and Any Age National on 19th August. Good luck to all who enter.

Gareth Watkins


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