After a good deal of negotiation the BICC finally got the race from Alencon that was originally planned on the race programme. Members will probably know that the Alencon race point was withdrawn as there was no agent available and so the BICC committee decided to replace it with Fougeres and Le Mans instead of the second proposed Alencon race. However at the last minute an agent was found and so with a strong easterly wind forecast for race day it was thought wise to move back to Alencon so that the birds could have a 70 or so mile run at the French coast to get their bearings before being exposed to the strong easterly wind in the Channel. Race advisor John Tyerman gives his report here:-

" With strong east winds forecast for the weekends racing the Committee took the decision that in the best interest and welfare of the birds, the race point should be moved from Fougeres to Alencon which is approx 70 miles further east.
Having collected the 1904 birds from the various marking stations the birds were loaded onto one transporter at Horndean and the vehicle then left to board the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. Chief Convoyer Trevor Cracknell phoned to report safe arrival at Alencon on Friday morning and birds were later fed and watered late afternoon. Steve Appleby our weather advisor called Friday evening to give a favourable forecast with east winds in the channel rising to force 4. He phoned again at 5am on Saturday morning confirming a good flying day, with excellent visibility, and blue skies and sunshine - his only concern being the strong east winds in the English Channel and he advised an early liberation. This information was relayed to Trevor our Chief Convoyer and birds were liberated at 5-45am into sunshine and a very light east wind. They cleared instantly and in the east wind the birds made good time with the west side of the country again coming out on top. A remarkable second National win for Mr Luscombe in Plymouth, so congratulations to him again. Thanks to Steve Appleby for his weather advice and of course to Trevor and Lawrence our two Convoyers, who always take good care of our pigeons."

John Tyerman (Race Advisor)

Below is Steve Applebys weather report for race day.

Examining the weather conditions on Friday the main concern for this race was the easterly wind strength over the channel. Talking to the duty forecaster at the Met Office on Friday evening I was reliably informed that wind force over the channel was forecast to be force 4 (12 to 18 mph) gusting force 5 ( 19 to 24 mph) on Saturday and that it would be a hot day. This information was then passed on to John Tyreman and an early liberation was planned allowing the birds to take advantage of the cool of the morning before temperatures rose. This coupled with the light easterly winds over northern France enabled the pigeons to reach the French coast line in good time. Viewing the NOAA satellite image showed all of northern France, the Channel and England under clear blue skies. So to summarise the pigeons raced home under cloudless skies in hot dry easterly winds resulting in testing conditions but favouring the west side of the country.
Steve Appleby.

1st BICC Falaise and 3rd BICC Alencon

Steve & Lee Luscombe 1st BICC Falaise and 3rd BICC Alencon

Les Fry with step son Phil ,daughter in law Karly and Grand children 1st BICC Alencon

Adrian Ware with the late Glyn Cousins of Newport both Queen's Cup Winners
Adrian was 2nd Open BICC Alencon

Graham Jones with daughter Gracie and Drogba winner of 2x 1st & 3rd section in BICC races 2012

J ohn Pennell with 1st East sect BICC Alencon

Mr & Mrs Donny Spruce 3rd North Sect BICC Falaise

Scott Storie 1st centre section BICC Alencon

With the direction and strength of the wind it was expected that the west section would once again dominate the result and this proved to be a correct assumption as the birds in the west recorded more than 1600 ypm. At this point I should emphasise once again that the following is a provisional list of timings based on first bird verification times and as a result could well change if the fanciers mentioned have clocked subsequent early birds.
The likely winner appeared to be Plymouth fancier Steve Luscombe whose bird recorded 1624 ypm. However on checking it was found that due to a clerical error on inputting data onto the provisional early times this was not the case and a revamped result shows Steve's Champion Cracker- the winner of 1st Open BICC Falaise two weeks earlier, having to settle for 3rd Open. Commiserations Steve and Lee on having the golden chalice of 1st National snatched from your grasp in such a manner. Provisionally placed at 2nd Open was a pigeon racing to the Dorchester loft of L.J.Fry. This one is now the actual winner of the race
Les Fry writes:-
"First of all may I say a Big thank you to Dave Davies for taking my pigeons to the National races and without Dave we would all struggle to enter these pigeons .Also thanks to Dave Whitefield on this occasion for taking our BICC pigeons up to the marking station".
Les competes in partnership with his next door neighbours, stepson Phil Hoddinott and his beautiful wife Carly and two grand children Kaya and Mia. Les started pigeon racing over 12 years ago flying natural pigeons and only races in national races as he doesn't belong to any club .
He believes in simple feed and clean fresh water with plenty of natural exercise around the lofts
The Family of pigeons are based from their good friend and top fancier Garry Inkley of Uxbridge. This family has scored 1st section prizes and also1st Open for Les in the BICC races. On this occasion the pigeon taking 1st Open is a widowhood yearling cock and this is the first time Les has tried widowhood as he usually uses the natural system but this year his stepson redesigned the lofts for both widowhood and natural flying.
The sire is direct Machiel Buijk stock pigeon purchased direct from Machiel and is of Jan Aarden bloodlines and only bred from for the first time in 2011.
The dam is a pigeon purchased of Bob McDonald of Fraserburgh and is also of Jan Aarden bloodlines. Les has found that these pigeon usually like hard day races but they can obviously also turn on the gas in fast races! Belated congratulations Les. Phil and family on your National win.
The provisional runner up to the Open National winner, beaten by just 0.2 ypm and flying 70 miles further than the eventual winner, was clocked way up into Wales by the multinational winning fancier Adrian Ware of Beddau near Pontypridd. Adrian has won just about everything there is to win in Wales including 4 x 1st National along with the Queen's Cup, J.O.Davies Trophy and Taffy Bowen Sprint Trophy and a couple of years back he won the BICC at Messac. Adrian's timer here is a yearling widowhood cock that had just three short training races as a young bird and this season has had every race including three Channel races from Carentan, Falaise and now Alencon. He is bred from a direct Herbots sire when mated to a direct Bert Hession Staf Van Reet hen. Exercise for the widowers takes the form of two one hour open loft sessions daily. The birds are fed depurative at the start of the week followed by a good widowhood mix later in the week as race day approaches with all food supplied by Brian Wall at GEM.

As mentioned earlier Steve Luscombe's Champion Cracker now comes in at 3rd West section 3rd Open BICC. Champion Cracker 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 five times Tarbes hen- these being a combination of Janssen and Busschaert pigeons. Raced on the round about system, this now double 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 supplemented with some energy corn in the last days before basketting. As with all the race team he is allowed free exercise for one hour twice a day. Steve gives the following information:-
Champion Cracker

GB11N15190 Blue pied cock was flown on the roundabout system, of which he was shown his hen just before basketing on Thursday .When watching the cocks all week it wasn't until the Wednesday that he sort of come alive and dancing around the loft

Champion cracker was bred from a hen (GB08S17775) that was loaned to Steve for ten days from his brother terry (Luscombe &Allen ) we managed to foster two eggs from her which then hatched to produce champion cracker and the other egg a hen which Steve put a old ring on so that he could not race her and keep her for stock, Steve now wonders if she could be a racer to but he will never no because she is staying put in the stock loft

GB08S17775 was bred from Terry's long distance hen who flew the Chanel with the NFC and recorded many prize winning performances a couple of performances to mention is 1st club ,1st fed 1st comb as yearling & 2nd sect 3rd open Poitiers NFC and 2nd sect 11th open tarbes NFC she was found in the loft by Terry's wife feeding GB08S17775 after he phoned her to check the loft for any arrivals due to Terry still at work

GB08X84027 was bred from two gift pigeons from Dave Sterry of Plymouth who had won them on a coach trip visiting loft in Belgium and Holland, Dave said to Terry try this pair in your stock loft due to not having any room at his loft. One of the pair was Peter Gijbel and the other was Gebr Bastiaans.

The sire of Champion Cracker was a gift pigeon from Bob Brown of Plymouth which was bred from blue pied cock GB06N 33280 which is Bob's best breeder and he was bred (GB02P03507) Bob's best performing distance hen which flew Tarbes five times winning the best averages over four year period in the NFC She is Stichelbout x Busschaert

These two hens - GB03X84027 & GB02P03507 were the best two performing hens in the country according to Paul O'Leary's stats at the time.

Steve and his son Lee would like to thank Terry (Luscombe & Allen) and Bob Brown for giving him the chance to breed Champion Cracker and also every one who has phoned them to congratulate them on this performance.

In 4th west section 4th Open position is yet another household name here in Wales- none other than Preece Brothers and Sons of Cwmtillery in the Gwent Valleys.The partners finished at 9th sect 9th Open in the BICC Falaise race two weeks earlier and in the Alencon race they clocked a yearling BLUE cock flown on ROUNDABOUT . He is bred down from the Preeces’ old reliable LEFeBRE-DHAENEN X Morgan & Cook x Burgham brothers family that have been winning out of turn in Classic and National racing for more than 30 years now. His SIRE IS A SON OF THE “SAINTES COCK” a winner of 1ST NATional HERSTAL X OUR NO 1 STOCK HEN “NO RINGS.”
The Bristol partnership of R E Taylor & sons look to be provisionally 5th open,5th west section with yearling chequer cock sent sitting about 8 days. The bird had only previously had 2 races, one as a y/b from Carentan when he took a month to return and a channel race 3 weeks ago. All birds kept are raced natural and remain together 365 days a year, flying out most days. The race team are sent regularly across the channel if fit and in between channel races compete from the coast with the Bristol Federation. Plenty of corn is fed at all times, with beans and mixed chicken corn as a base with added Willsbridge mixtures. John and Nigel would like to thank all BICC race officals for liberating on what turned out to be a very good race with excellent returns. Yet another West Country partnership who regularly appear on National and Classic race results is that of Brooks Brothers of High Littleton. In this race their first timer looks to be good enough for 6th section 6th Open BICC. The lofts are now managed by Rob Brooks and their first in the clock here is a 3 year old chequer widowhood cock which is a great grand son of Geoff and Catherine Cooper’s “Farm Boy”. The cock took 12 days to return from the Bedhampton race on “Black Saturday” as it is now called throughout the country. It seems he didn't want another 12 days out so got a shift on!! Rob is full of praise for the race controllers and convoyers of the BICC, as after three races flown under trying circumstances, the race controller has got it spot on each time.

Les Nicholls of Bedminster, Bristol is a double National winner and is enjoying another good season’s channel racing in 2012 having finished as runner up to the Staddons in the earlier Carentan National race this year. Les’s Alencon timer which is provisionally 7th section 7th Open BICC is a three year old cock raced on the natural system and bred directly from a pair of birds purchased from Nigel Templar. Mated on 14th February he was basketted for Alencon sitting 10 day eggs and like all the birds is fed exclusively on Willsbridge Mixtures. The cock was in the Falaise race two weeks previously and is a winner as a yearling earlier in his career.
John Ludlam of Nelson in the South Wales valleys is having yet another fancier who is enjoying an impressive season in cross channel Classic and National races. John has clocked pigeons to feature well up in the results of BICC, BBC and NFC races already this season. The Alencon result shows John’s timer to be provisionally 8th sect 8th Open BICC. A previous winner of two Welsh Nationals from Tarbes and Tours John’s first in the clock here is a full sister to his Tours National winner. These are both hens bred from chequer pied cock bred by Patrick Bros and his sire is from M BIEMANS breeding cock INVINCIBLE LEADER half brother to INVINCIBLE SPIRIT 1st International Barcelona etc. The dam is from Bonte Girl from 1st Nat , 7th Hens International, Perpignan, etc.
The Dam of the two hens is chequer hen bred by Paul Woolliss of Grimsby. Her sire is 43128 from Ambition 1st sec K NFC Pau 703mls and Lona 1st section at 815mls from Palamos. Her dam is 52058 1st hens Nevers 473mls, etc. This proves the old adage that like breeds like. I look forward to seeing how John’s pigeons perform in the forthcoming long distance National and International races.
The Bradshaw family from Swansea, four times winners of BICC races, are keen supporters of the BICC because as Dave Bradshaw said to me “We send with the BICC because we know the birds will be looked after and we usually get them all home”. The Alencon race proved to be no exception as Dave had 2 from 3 on the day and his first in the clock looks good enough for 9th section 9th Open. This one is a three year old Mealy cock bought at Ken Jones’s clearance sale and broken to the Bradshaw’s lofts in Swansea. Hopper fed on a good Irish mix with widowhood mixes added the birds are raced and trained hard going with Dave on his many business trips and in all directions. The Mealy was at Fougeres with the NFC the week before Alencon and was sent just showing to a new hen as his original mate was still missing in action from Fougeres. Dave is now ably assisted by his two grand sons Lewis and Jamie who are both a great help to him with the birds.
Next we have yet another member of the Bradshaw family clocking to take 10th sect 10th Open – this one to Dave’s brother Charlie Bradshaw Jnr. Charlie is also a National winner and in the Alencon race he clocked a two year old widowhood cock of VanBruaene x Nouwen Paessen bloodlines. Ated in mid February he reared a pair of young birds in his first nest and was then widowed when the squeakers were 15 days old and enjoys the pleasure of two one hour sessions of free flight each day.
That’s the first ten positions in the provisional Open result covered next we move on to the leading pigeons in the North section and in pole position here is another exceptional pigeon raced by Graham Jones of Cannock. Graham’s timer is the same pigeon that has won 3rd North section Carentan and 1st North section Falaise already this season. This two year old dark chequer widowhood cock of Houben bloodlines 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.
In the runner up position at 2nd section is a pigeon racing all the way up to Chirk on the English/Welsh border for Darren Roberts. This is a three year old chequer cock bred by Darren’s good friend and mentor Cameron Stansfield. Darren's timer, which also scored from the NFC last weekend, was a gift from Cameron and is bred out of a cock which flew Tarbes for Cameron as a 2y before Cameron stopped racing. Cameron now contents himself with giving a few away to friends and has previously bred a 1st section BBC for Darren plus the winners of 2nd & 9th section NFC Tarbes Grand National. As a matter of interest, in last year's MNFC Blue Riband race from Bordeaux when day birds were very thin on the ground, 3 of them contained the blood of pigeons gifted by Cameron to Northants fanciers.
The Alencon timer is full of the best of the “Old English” long distance genes containing Wills, Bush, Stan Dangerfield and Graham Baker “Meritman” bloodlines. He was allowed to sit two rounds of eggs this year but had not reared a young bird. Fed on a mixture of Versele Laga feeds he, like all the other widowers, is allowed 90 minutes free flight each day with no forcing. Watch this space for more from the Roberts loft in the forthcoming long distance Nationals and Internationals.
3rd North section was a three year old blue pied hen raced by Tim Collier of Coventry. Raced on round about and fed on Versele Laga mixes, she was mated in January and had been entered in two inland races out to 80 miles early in the season before going to Carentan where she ended at 3rd North section BICC. She was bred for Tim by Bob Lee of Coventry.
The Centre section result saw Poole fancier Scott Storie take top spot with a five year old widowhood cock that has plenty of “previous” with 2nd sect 5th Open CSCFC Messac;5th sect 40th Open NFC Poitiers and four other National turns on his CV. He is also full brother to Scott’s 1st sect 5th Open NFC Tarbes winner in 2012. This was the cock’s first race of the season as he returned from an early season training toss badly hawked. So after a few weeks rest and recuperation he was lifted straight into Alencon. The section winner is of predominantly Biss bloodlines and was mated in late February, allowed to rear a pair of young birds before being widowed. As with all the racers he is fed on Versele Laga Mixtures and has two 45 minute exercise periods daily.
Taking 2nd Centre section on the provisional result is the Southampton partnership of Clare, Martin and Jack Norman competing as Mannor Lofts. The partners’ timer here is a yearling widowhood hen gifted to the Norman’s as one of a pair of squeakers by Guernsey fancier Mick DeCarteret. The hen is of R & M Venner bloodlines and she flew from France last year as a young bird and had competed from Fougeres a week before the Alencon race. The partners also clocked a second pigeon three minutes later – a grizzle cock which is a brother to their timer in the BICC Carentan race. This one should also feature well up on the section result.
Next at 3rd Centre section is yet another top class fancier the partnership of Bartlett & Jones of Southampton. The partnership is Rob Jones and his uncle Fred Bartlett who passed away several years ago now but kept the partnership name going. Rob writes;-
“First bird in the clock was my good cock called "DAMAGE".who came with another loft mate. He showed his form last week in the NFC Fougeres winning 12th open being all pooled and was the all pooler from this Alencon race. He was racing to eggs just layed in preparation for the NFC Cholet race next week so watch out east wind Attrill!! "DAMAGE" is coming for your "NIGHT MARE" pigeon the great racer and champion for John Attrill from Sailsbury. "DAMAGE" was one of the best racers to the loft last year and his name came from him from snapping his 9th flight on one race , hitting his keel on another race and knocking his chest on another race. The more work you give him the better he gets and this race was a bit fast for him.Last year he won over £5000 racing and 1st section 1st Open BBC Poitiers National 312 miles plus 4th section 20th open BBC Messac National, 3rd Section 6th open BICC Falaise National, 46th open NFC Nantes National and winner of the CSCFC classic double. All birds are raced Naturel Hood and fed on My own mixes made up from Marimans - Versa Laga - Van Robaeys. All birds are given the Aviform products for total health racing and breeding and would like to thank the Aviform team for there help. Once again a great race with 4 birds in under 2 minutes with 13 out of 15 home on the day with one next morning” .

Finally we come to the winners over in the East section who, given the prevailing easterly wind, had it all to do on the day. The eventual winner was clocked for the second time this season at the Bishops Stortford loft of John Pennell. Readers may recall that John also topped the east section in the BICC Carentan race and here at Alencon he clocks a two year old Marike Vink x Koopman widowhood cock to repeat the process. This one was not raced and only lightly trained as a young bird and last year as a yearling had a number of races from Poole at 120 miles.
In 2nd East section is 89 years young Bill Joyce of Theydon Bois in Essex. Bill has been a fancier for 80 years and his Alencon timer is a four year old pencil blue hen bred from a John McLaren Southwell cock when paired to a Jim Donaldson hen. The hen is flown natural and was sent to Alencon sitting 14 day old eggs. She is also a previous winner of 24th section Poitiers National and has crossed the channel on at least six occasions.
Charlie Simmons of Basildon comes in next at third East section with a yearling widowhood cock. This one was purchased from John Redfern of Doncaster in a batch of six young birds. He is of Hofkens Janssen lines and had just one race last year as a young bird – the BICC Guernsey race! This season he has had the three BICC Channel races from Carentan, Falaise and now Alencon. Charlie obviously doesn’t let the grass grow under their feet!
Well that another National race completed and yet again John Tyerman along with Trevor Cracknell and the team deserve great credit in producing an excellent race given the weather conditions. Many of the fanciers I spoke to when compiling this report asked me to pass on their thanks to all concerned on a job well done.
As I have made clear when writing these reports, the positions quoted are purely provisional and are based on fanciers’ first bird verification times. Occasionally things work out differently when the final result is published and in the last race from Falaise I erred slightly when giving the list of winners in the North section. It transpired that Mr & Mrs Donny Spruce of Cromer in Norfolk actually clocked the winner of 3rd North section and I have included a photo of Donny with his winning pigeon in this report. Donny’s timer has always raced consistently winning prizes at Littlehampton and Guernsey as a young bird. This season he has had three races to Falaise and wins 1st Norfolk & Suffolk Fed plus 1st Norwich Continental Specialist club and of course 3rd sect BICC. The birds are raced on the natural system and fed Gem corn. Bloodlines of the winning pigeon are Soontjen via Ray Forbes of South Shields and Dennis Sapin via Steve Fenech.
Before finishing this report I should remind members that our Longest National race from Tours is fast approaching.This will take place on June 9th, with basketing on Thursday 7th, June.
No need to pre-pay ~ just turn up with your birds at any of the 14 BICC marking stations.
The International Season begins on June 22nd with the Pau International.
Marking on Monday 18th, June.
Bordeaux/Agen International race follows on June 30th,
Marking Tuesday 26th, June

Remember that both these International races were won in the UK in 2011
Good luck to all who compete.
Gareth Watkins