The second race on the BICC race programme took place on the weekend of 12th May under completely different weather conditions compared to the first weekend’s race from Carentan, as this time the skies were clear and a light north westerly airflow steadied the convoy of 3,603 birds entered by 365 fanciers from all over mainland England and Wales. The breakdown of section entries for this race shows that 98 members from the North section entered 711 pigeons with 134 Centre section members sending 1,394 birds. The East section was represented by 84 members who sent 1,134 birds with 49 west section members sending 364 birds.

The following is President and race controller John Tyerman’s weather report:-

 Race Advisor's Report

 "With an excellent entry of 3,614 birds for the Club's second National race of the season, our thanks go out to all those I/C's and the fanciers who assisted at the various marking stations. At Horndean it was a wet and windy evening and the loading of the two transporters was not an easy task in such conditions. However, both vehicles left on time to board the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, and early next morning after disembarking, both of them arrived safely on site at Falaise. Birds were fed and watered later in the day and Chief Convoyer Trevor Cracknell rang to say all was well. Our weather advisor Steve Appleby rang on Friday evening to give the weather update and this was passed to our Convoyer on site.  

At 6-45am on Saturday morning Steve Appleby again rang to say it would be a good flying day with clear skies and excellent visibility in the channel, but with the North East wind in France and Mainly northerly force 4/5 in the channel it would be a tough fly for the birds. This weather information was passed to our Convoyer who reported a fine morning at Falaise with light north east winds, and due to the wind influence, it was felt that the birds should be released as soon as possible, bearing in mind the longer flyers on the eastern side of the country.

Liberation took place at 7-30am and Trevor reported that the birds cleared the site very well in the favourable blue skies and sunshine. In the main it was a difficult race flown in testing conditions where clearly the north east wind dictated that the winning birds would be on the west side of the country. It was good to see a National winning pigeon timed by Mr Luscombe into Plymouth, with the Staddon's almost making it a "Double National" win. 

John Tyerman ~ Race Advisor.

When speaking to the fanciers featured in this report almost to a man they reported 100% returns with the birds returning in superb condition, so the convoyer, Trevor Cracknell and all concerned with the care of the birds and liberation decision are to be congratulated on a job well done.

The result shows the west section once again dominating the top end of the result which is surprising given that the only east in the wind was to be found at the race point and in Northern France up to the French coast. Over the channel it was due north and here in Wales it was blowing at 10 mph from the North West all day. Nevertheless the birds in the west of the club obviously enjoyed the best of the conditions and none more so than a yearling blue pied cock to the loft of Plymouth fancier Steve Luscombe.

Steve was lost for words when I spoke to him on the Saturday afternoon – not long after he had clocked his National winner. The Falaise winner is bred down from two top performing distance hens as he contains the bloodlines of Bob Brown’s Tarbes hen as well as Steve’s brother Terry Luscombe’s seven times Tarbes hen, - these being a combination of Janssen and Eric Cannon pigeons.

Raced on the round about system, the National winner was mated in December, reared a pair of young birds and was then separated and placed on round about. As with all the Luscombe pigeons he has a ration of 1 ¼ ounces of widowhood mixture daily and is allowed free exercise for one hour twice a day. Congratulations Steve on your first National win!

In second spot is the West Country partnership of John and David Staddon who came so close to repeating their win in the Carentan National of two weeks previous. This is the third time they have been 2nd Open BICC with Pau & Falaise their other previous near misses. Their timer here is a 2009 blue cock now named “Shapway Chaos”. This cock was broken in late 2009 from their previous address at Merriott which is about 15-20 miles from Evercreech, as was their second timer a 2008 Blue Jos Thone hen. They are both being raced on their new total widowhood system, which is proving highly successful so far with 1st & 4th Open BICC Carentan, 16th BBC Carentan, and then this week they are also [provisionally] 19th BBC Messac and 1st Club Carentan as well. “Chaos” is a full brother to 1st Section 8th Open BBC Fougeres Old Hens National 2011. He is bred from “Shapway Larry” a winner of 48th RPRA One Loft Young Bird, and 9th RPRA Yearling Tours when there were only 11 day birds. “Larry” is a full brother to “Shapway Lady Caroline” winner of1st West Section 2nd Open BICC Pau and 21st Open CSCFC Bergerac. The dam of “Chaos” is their Jos Thone champion breeder “Shapway Blue Amelia”, which was sold on Pipa last winter for a substantial sum. “Amelia” has bred numerous champions including 2nd National Falaise, 8th National Fougeres, 9th National Cholet, 17th National Fougeres amongst others. John & Dave would like to send their congratulations to Steve Luscombe on his victory and the BICC convoyer for doing a great job in looking after the birds as all 9 entries returned in great order in good time. They would also like to give a special thank you to Geoff Cooper for running the Bath marking station.

The Welsh contingent excelled under the conditions with five pigeons in the first ten of the result and leading the way is a three year old hen flown on “semi” widowhood by none other than Spencer Jones of Pontypool. Spencer is a previous BICC race winner as well as winning the Lerwick National with the WGNFC and also a Welsh Combine race winner from 17,000 + pigeons on another occasion. The Jones timer here is bred down from Moore & Ogden’s Janssens and Bolton and Williamson’s Van Loons and has always been a consistent racer without ever setting the world alight. Mated in late February she reared a pair of young birds before being separated and placed on Spencer’s own version of the widowhood system. She had just two short inland races from Salisbury before her first tilt at the channel this year.

In fourth West section and fourth Open position is one to the Ystradgynlais loft of Bryan and Anthony Williams. The partners won the BICC Falaise race in 2011 and this season their birds have been on fire as they clocked one of their team to finish 10th Open BICC Carentan just two weeks ago and they also have two birds in the top six of the BBC race on the same day. This week, from Falaise they clocked two birds within seconds and both should therefore appear well up on the final result. Here’s what Anthony Williams has to say:-

“Gareth we got 2 widowhood cocks together, first to trap was a 2 year old Van Reet that won 3 x 1sts last year and is a very big bird in the hand. His sire was bred by Jock Handyside from Bristol and the dam is bred by Peter Holt from Scotland. Peter now owns both parents and bred the bird for us to race in 2010. The second to trap is bred by our good friend Carl Cousins from Aberdare. Carl bred this bird for our test loft in 2011 and it was our best young bird last year in the test loft. They are raced on widowhood and both cocks had the last BICC channel race as preparation for Falaise. They then had 2 weeks rest before this race. Our first bird is doing 1177 and second 1175.8ypm.”

Next in fifth section fifth Open we have a pigeon flying to the Radstock loft of Janet Wilcox and husband Ken. Anyone who has studied classic race results over the past forty years cannot have failed to notice Janet’s name at or near the top of the results – such has been her consistency at the top level. In this race Janet clocked a dark chequer cock flown on widowhood which is a multiple prize winner in National and Classic races. In 2010 he finished at 32nd Open Saintes NFC, going one better in 2011 to win 31st Open NFC Saintes These are just two of the many positions he has taken .

He is bred from GEOFF KIRKLAND bloodlines as Janet has introduced many outstanding birds from Geoff over the past 30 years. The policy here is to mate winners to winners irrespective of pedigree and this has been the Wilcox tried and tested system over the past 40 years. Janet commented that it was an excellent race with 10 out of 11 by 15.00 hours all arriving in great condition and she would like to thank Geoff Cooper and his team for running the local marking station. 

The partnership of Ron Scammell and Paul Peploe of Pontypool need no introduction to Welsh fanciers as they have won no less than EIGHT Nationals here in Wales. In this Falaise race they clocked a grizzle hen containing all the best of Ron’s late father Brian’s top bloodlines of mainly Busschaert and Herman breeding to win probable 6th section 6th Open. She was sent on the roundabout system and I have no further details as my telephone conversation with Paul Peploe was cut short when he told me he was on holiday in Tunisia!!

Yet another multi National winning Welsh loft comes in next at 7th section 7th Open. This is the phenomenally successful partnership of Preece Brothers and Sons from Cwmtillery. I think I am correct in saying that Colin and Henry along with Colin’s sons John and Leigh have won 13 Welsh Nationals plus two Queen’s Cups and in the Falaise race they timed a three year old round about cock which had previously competed from Tarbes in 2011 taking a week to home. This one is bred in the purple as he contains all the loft’s top breeders in his pedigree including “Old One Leg” a Bob Lee Verheye x George Josef x Lefebre Dhaenen that is responsible a 1st National winner plus three 2nd Open National and many more. The other side of his pedigree shows the “No Ring Hen” a grizzle hen bred by Burgham Brothers and gifted to the Preeces when John and Mark Burgham left the sport a few years back. She is dam of two National winners and many other top performers for the partners.

 In 8th Open position also winning 1st Centre section was one to the Fareham loft of R & R Clarke. Rob Clarke writes:-“First I would like to thank all the workers at Horndean marking station for all their hard work on a cold and wet night, and everyone at the BICC for all the good work they do to get these races on. I compete in Gosport RPC with a very select membership of top flyers. I race widowhood from one 12ft section this is part of a 24ft shed, 6ft for hens 6ft for young birds. All birds are fed Gem corns and supplements with the addition of Versele-Laga corns.
This blue chequer pied cock is 100% Dennis Sapin, bred down from birds purchased at Blackpool from Andy Gregson of Preston. This was his second race this year, last year he was sent to the Central Southern Classic, Carentan and he was first recorded bird home.


I like to think pigeon racing is easy, but you need three things, time, money, and good pigeons! But remember that if you haven’t got good birds, then you are wasting your time and your money.

John Williams of New Tredegar in the Gwent Valleys comes in with a timer to finish provisionally at 8th West section 9th Open. This yearling blue hen was bred for John by his good friend the great Dennis Ford of Blaenavon and was bred directly from one of Dennis’s many National winners. Raced on the roundabout system this was her first channel race having completed every race in the inland programme last year as a young bird. The round about team are fed on a conditioning seed mix after morning exercise and are fed to appetite on Gem Super widowhood mixture in the evening. The twice daily exercise periods are of an hour’s duration and the birds are left to do as they please with no forcing. This latest success will no doubt lift both John’s and Dennis’s spirits after both have suffered health problems over a long period.


Completing the provisional top ten in the Open result is a two year old widowhood cock to the Portsmouth loft of Malcolm Shipp. This one is a gift from Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts and is of Janssen bloodlines. He was mated, along with the other widowers, in late January and reared a pair of youngsters before being separated and placed on widowhood. This was his first race of the season and like the others in the team, he is allowed twice daily free exercise periods when the widowers are allowed to do as they please. Malcolm does not use break down mixtures but prefers to feed a good widowhood mix after each exercise period.


The winner in the North section was a 3 year old chequer cock of Jos Thone bloodlines to the Birmingham loft of Harry Sherlock. Harry obtained the Thone pigeons direct and also via Ian Stafford. The section winner is raced on the natural system and had been entered in just two short inland races prior to going to Falaise. Like all the birds in the loft he has had access to a trough filled with a mixture containing a high proportion of beans along with some maize, dari, barley and chicken layer pellets. This is fed ad lib so that the birds can take what they want when they want it. It certainly helps them to exercise as Harry has no trouble getting the team to put in two 1 ½ hour stints per day.


In 2nd section position for the second race in succession was one for Graham Jones of Cannock. I was unable to get in touch with Graham in time for the Carentan race report as the number I had was unobtainable. However, with the help of John Wills I managed to get the correct phone number this time. What is remarkable about this double runner up spot in two successive BICC races is the fact that the same pigeon features on both occasions!! This is two year old dark chequer cock of Houben bloodlines raced on widowhood. He is a previous winner of 41st Open Midlands NFC from Vire as a yearling and is raced on the classic widowhood system being fed a good depurative mixture early on in the week followed by a stronger widowhood mix nearer race day. Graham occasionally trains the widowers from Weston Super Mare about 90 miles to Cannock with the occasional 20 miler thrown in for good measure. Their home exercise takes the form of an open loft when the widowers are allowed to do as they please.

Troy Hobbs clocked a two year old Busschaert x Van Bruaene widowhood cock, bred from stock obtained from Tim Rodwell of Gravesend in Kent, to take 3rd North section. Troy still competes under the partnership name of Hobbs & son as his Dad, Barry sadly passed away last year. This was the cock’s first time across the channel and he had been entered in three inland races prior to going to Falaise. The racers are locked out of the loft for one hour twice daily and are allowed to do as they please with no forcing. 


Over in the East Section the winner was clocked at the Basildon loft of J. House. After more than half a dozen attempts to contact Mr House I finally made contact late on Sunday afternoon. The East section winner is a yearling red hen of Marcellis x Soontjen bloodlines and raced on the round about system. Mated in late January she would have none of it and remained celibate so has not sat a nest of eggs this year. She was raced through to the young bird National in 2011 and was having her third race of 2012 at Falaise.


The partnership of Martin & Watts, previous winners of a BICC race in 2011 come in with a yearling M & D Evans Vandenabeele for 2nd section. Micky Watts now competes alone as the partnership split at the end of 2011 and he told me that the Falaise timer was racing back to an empty nest box as his mate was lost earlier in the season. As with all the racers the birds are trained from 12 miles every morning as Micky takes them to work with him. They are then exercised around the loft each evening. Gerry Plus is fed after morning training with a stronger widowhood mix fed at night.


The Mount Lessing partnership of Keith Gosling and Mick Jarvis come in for 3rd East section. Their timer is a 2 year old Wall, Lunt & Green Janssen widowhood cock which had previously had two inland races before being entered for Falaise. He is a previous prize winner and as with all the widowers is allowed two one hour exercise periods each day with no forcing. The widowhood team are mated in late January, rear young birds and are then separated and given a few short tosses before the first race.

Well that’s another good race completed and a job well done by both Steve Appleby the weatherman, John Tyerman the race adviser and of course our convoyer Trevor Cracknell and his assistants. Keep up the good work men and here’s wishing all who compete good racing for the remainder of the season.

Gareth Watkins