The 185 BICC pigeons along with 16,921 pigeons entered by fanciers from all over continental Europe were liberated at 5.55 am on Friday 3rd August. Weather conditions throughout the course looked to be ideal, with a light north westerly breeze over the first part of the course changing to light south westerly in the closing stages. This was accompanied by sunshine and good visibility from southern France to the Belgian /French border. Perpignan is situated on the French/Spanish border and the convoy, consisting of the vast majority of pigeons from Belgium. Holland and Germany, would have, in all probability, headed north east skirting the Massif Central passing over Montpellier before running up the Rhone Valley to Lyon ,Dijon and on into north east France and the German/French/Belgian border country. The British contingent would then have had to head virtually west north west to hit the French coast between Boulogne and Calais. Pigeons were being clocked in Northern France and Belgium on the day, but the imposing sight of the English Channel obviously proved too much of an obstacle late in the day for the British birds. However, early on the second morning a steady flow of pigeons began to come through into Kent before gradually working their way across country to the more central and westerly located lofts.

Geoff and Clayton Preece with two of their long distance pathfinders.

Dickie Pearmain with 2nd Open BICC Perpignan

BICC Perpignan Mike Mitchell holding his two hens 3rd & 8th Open BICC perpignan

Peter Grettan 6th Open BICC Le Mans

Don & Elaine Harvey with Playboy 7th Open BICC Perpignan

Crowley & Green at the BICC presentation with trophy for 1st Open Barcelona 2011
The partners are 10th Open BICC Perpignan International

Ron Dove has enjoyed an excellent season
winning 7th Open BICC Barcelona 8th Open BICC St Vincent
& 5th Open BICC Perpignan International International

Wilf and Janet Reed

BICC Perpigna Joe Raeburn 1st west section

Leading the way was a two year old widowhood cock to the Dover lofts of Geoff and son Clayton Preece. The partners are no strangers to success on the international stage as they are previous winners of the BICC clocking the only bird on the day into the UK, and this season have finished 3rd Open BICC Pau International and 12th Open BICC Marseille International. The BICC Perpignan winner also winning the "House of Aarden" sponsored young bird is a chequer widowhood cock now appropriately named 'Wiggins' GB 10 D17160 - his breeding is a 100% long distance lines. He is a grandson of Bill Woodall's Barcelona winner - 'Dragon's Boy' and a hen from the German Stoffel- Ophof loft containing the bloodlines of '270' and 'Marseille Star'
I'll let Geoff relate the story of their latest BICC winner:-
" 'Wiggins' is only 2 years old and has competed in 4 International races of more than 500 miles
In 2011 - he won 10th Open BICC National Perpignan (Yearling) - 581 miles
In 2012 - 10th Open BICC National Pau - 547 miles
39th Open BICC National St Vincent - 533 miles
1st Open BICC National Perpignan - 581 miles

Readers will note that these results are from long distance International races with liberations from the Western Atlantic side of France and the Eastern Mediterranean side. Many of the outstanding pigeons in mainland Europe do this every year including the 2012 - 1st Open International winner from Barcelona for Philippe Deu.
We sent 4 pigeons to the Perpignan race and timed them all; winning 1st, 18th, 19th (Yearling) and 20th Open, 586 miles (the latter is in fact the nest mate to the National winner)
The 19th Open winner gave us a special personal satisfaction because in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 we have the first Yearling in the race results.

A special thank you is necessary from us to Bill Woodall, Dr Jeff Horn and our friends and fellow fanciers, without their support and encouragement we would not have been so successful" .Not bad going when you consider that Geoff and Clayton started the season with just nine widowhood cocks and in the latter stages introduced seven hens to complement the team. Congratulations on another excellent performance.
In the runner up spot is one to the Wickford, Essex partnership of Dicky Pearmain and son Steven. This is another partnership that has enjoyed a terrific season of International racing with the BICC as they clocked five pigeons to appear on the Marseille international result and a further seven on the St Vincent International result where they again finished in the R/U position. In the Perpignan race they clocked a three year old chequer pied hen closely inbred to Nico Volkens Dutch National winner from Pau. The Pearmain hen has a terrific track record as she has won 13th Open Pau International and 30th Open Tarbes/Agen National in 2011 and this season has been 34th Open BICC Pau International on the day; 18th Open BICC st Vincent International on the day and now 2nd Open BICC Perpignan International. She was sent to the race feeding a 6 day old young bird - the first baby she has ever been allowed to rear. As with all the Pearmain racers she is allowed an open loft and is raced on the natural system albeit with periods of celibacy at certain times during the season.

Mike Mitchell of Dover has earned an impressive reputation in a very short time competing with the BICC on the international stage. Here he clocked five pigeons to finish at 3rd, 8th,26th,56th & 79th Open to maintain this impressive record. The first in the clock is a celibate hen of Van Helmond bloodlines which had previously featured at 138th Open in the Agen International race. Mike's second timer is a real beast of a pigeon with the following turns on the International stage:- 16th BICC Pau 2009: 1st BICC Narbonne 2010; 33rd Pau 2011; 15th Tarbes / Agen 2011: 88th Pau 2012 and now 8th Open BICC Perpignan. This is yet another of Mike's celibate hens. The hen at 26th Open is another outstanding racer for the Mitchell loft as she has won 1st Open BICC Tarbes/Agen in 2011 when she was the only bird on the day in the UK. A full loft report on Mike Mitchell can be found on the BICC web site.

The next man on the result at 4th Open is the world class "Winkfield Wizard" - Mark Gilbert. Mark sent 27 birds to this 619 mile race and clocked 17 on the result at :-4th,6th,9th,12th,17th,28th,29th,31st,34th,39th,42nd,44th,58th,59th,61st,65th & 66th Open and these also finished at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th,7th etc Centre section. What more can I say about this absolutely outstanding fancier? He should be competing for GB at the Olympics!!! Mark's pigeons were as follows:-
" I sent 27 birds these were my Tarbes National team and the Barcelona team this year and I returned them to this race. The first 5 birds were roundabout cocks that went to Tarbes NFC a month or so earlier. I think the Barcelona took too much out of them, however they did all return but were later in the day. I now have 22 home of the 27 sent.
The first bird was a two year old cock which was 29th Open Tarbes this year, he his a direct son of the Treble Cock, who was 6th Open Perpignan and 12th Open Barcelona. His mother was a double grand daughter of Brian Denneys Tuff Nut.
The second bird was from a daughter of a full sister of Derweerdt's Iban, when she was paired to a son of Smaraagd the International winner from Barcelona, He was 21st open Saintes NFC last year
The third bird was a brother to the first and was 278th Tarbes NFC last year
The fourth birds was a grandson of Southfield Supreme and Derweerdt's Emiel 1st Open International Bordeaux and was 278th Tarbes this year
The fifth bird was a gift from John Wills and was 21st open Tarbes this year."
There you have it then 27 birds to a 619 mile race timing 17 on the result of AN INTERNATIONAL RACE. This guy is taking pigeon racing to a new level.

Ron Dove of Ashford in Kent is another fancier who has had an excellent series of results with the BICC in 2012 rarely missing out on the result in the International races. In the Perpignan race Ron clocked three of his six entries to take 5th ,15th & 54th Open. Ron has developed his own family of pigeons over the years with no specific strain name but based entirely on performance at the distance. Hs first in the clock is a red hen that finished at 61st Open BICC in the Agen International earlier this season. She is a grand daughter of Ron's 5th Open NFC Pau hen and has had 4 channel races with the EECC plus the Agen International before being set up for the Perpignan race sitting due to hatch as was Ron's second in the clock at 15th Open.
The Dove team are raced on the natural system and are not raced as young birds just receiving a perfunctory training programme before being thrown in at the deep end as yearlings with a first race at 130 miles across the English Channel!

Don Harvey of Dover comes in next at 5th east section 7th Open. Don has not enjoyed the best of health this year but this Perpignan performance added to his 1st sect 3rd Open BBC in the Barcelona race should act as a good pick me up. This four year old widowhood cock now named "Playboy", has had every race with the EECC this season plus Niort and Tarbes where he finished on the result. He has also flown Tarbes in 2011. As with all Don's widowhood cocks he is fed a good widowhood mix in pots in the nest box and this is supplemented with some treats fed communally in a hopper. Don does not use a breakdown mixture as his widowers are expected to work hard in preparation for the long distance races. The 7th Open winner's pedigree shows a strong influence of Eric Cannon pigeons in his breeding with a touch of Ian Benstead Shepherds and Eric Fox bloodlines thrown into the mix for good measure. With that lineage he couldn't fail!
" PlayBoy's" racing results are as follows:-
2010 Bordeaux BBC 38th open 1065 birds 3rd section G.
2011 Tarbes NFC 222nd open 3290 birds 49th section E. 767 birds, 11th Paul O'Leary single bird National Flying Club nom. and 2nd Kent 500 mile club.
2012 Tarbes NFC, 237th open, 2808 birds , 62nd section E, 582 birds,
2012 Perpignan BICC, 7th open, 5th east section, and first IPRR single bird Nom. and probable 3rd Kent 500 mile club.

Crowley and Green of Compton Bassett come in at 10th Open. Richard Green writes:-
" The pigeon clocked was a five year old blue hen called "Big Blue" who is one of our best middle distance racing hens having previously won 138th Open NFC Saintes as a yearling in 2008, 51st Open BBC Bordeaux in 2009, 76th Open BBC Vire and 77th Open CSCFC Bergerac in 2010, 469th Open NFC Fougeres and 79th Open BBC Bordeaux in 2011. So far this season she had been raced on widowhood and had competed from Lyndhurst, Carentan, Cholet, Messac and Littlehampton but her performances were well below par which could be attributed to losing her cock at Cholet therefore it was decided to put her in the young bird loft where she immediately paired up with a young cock. She had never been raced further than 460 miles but is bred for the distance her Sire is direct from the triple national winning loft of The Santens Brothers of Oudenarde in Belgium. I was fortunate to visit Marc and Gerard in 2006 and came away with four cracking cocks but had to wait until 2007 when I went back and collected the hens to pair to them as none were available the previous year. In 2007 I paired one of these cocks to a Van Loon hen bred from S & P Kulpa stock and they were the parents of this cracking hen.
Whilst in the young bird loft she was exercised and trained with the young birds and mistakenly (2007 and 2012 bred have white rings) sent to two any age races from Poole and Portsmouth with the Bourton Midweek club which obviously did her no harm as she put up an exceptional performance from Perpignan considering our loft location."

Over in the west section the winner was clocked at the King's Cup winning loft of Joe Raeburn of Melksham. Joe clocked a grand daughter of his San Sebastian King's cup Winner Gwen sent feeding an 8 day old baby. This hen had previously flown Tarbes earlier in the season and Palamos in 2011 after competing from Tarbes with the NFC for the first time in 2010, so she has certainly had plenty of experience in long distance racing.
Joe tells me :-
"The Blue hen's breeding is Vanbruaene -[Laureaat Barcelona] - Gwen 1st open San Sebastian NFC X Mark Gilberts.
The sire's side a son of a Vanbruaene cock (1st sec G Nantes NFC) x Daughter of Gwen ( this hen a winner of 1st west sect Tours) when paired to a son of Laureaat Barcelona.
Dam was a hen I had selected on a 2008 visit to Mark Gilbert but I have no breeding details to hand.
My section winner has flown this year from Fougeres,Cholet, and Tarbes, than on to Perpignan,
She started the season paired to Gwen in the young bird loft as Gwen at 16 years old no longer lays, She flew Fougeres and Cholet with the NFC paired this way. Than I re -paired her to a late bred cock on 5th of June and sent her to Tarbes sitting 12 day eggs she returned on the Monday morning from Tarbes. I kept her sitting the same eggs until 25th July than slipped a chipping egg under her so she was sent to Perpignan feeding a 5/6 day old chick. She has flown from Tarbes twice and Palamos so maybe next year I'll try her at Barcelona."

Wilf Reed of Monmouth, now 80 years young has become a "naturalised Welshman" despite being born and raised across the border in England. Wilf, assisted by his lovely wife Janet, has won just about all there is to win in the fancy and in the Perpignan race he clocked a direct daughter of his Barcelona hen " Barcelona Belle" when mated to a grand son of "Red Barcelona" to win 2nd west section. This hen was raced round about earlier in the season before being re mated for Tarbes NFC where Wilf clocked the winner of 1st section G. She was then set up for Perpignan as a widowhood/round about hen.

P. Holley comes in next at 3rd west section but unfortunately I have no details of Mr Holley's pigeon.

In my last report on the Le Mans race I was unable to include any details of the winners of 6th Open for Peter Gretton, alias "Pedro in the South" as I had been unable to contact Peter - not surprising realyy as the number I had was the wrong one! However, Peter contacted me later and provided the following details:- V"The bird is a yearling raced on natural and the father I bought off A&J Grantham of East Yorkshire and is a Vandeabeele, The mother I got off O'Hare and Woodward and she is a S.V.R I feed Bamfords Young Bird Mix [no maize] to which I add some small seed also from Bamfords. This bird was sent sitting eggs and when it arrived home it decided to keep flying for another two minutes. I give garlic in the water every day".

Well that's the last of the old bird races done and dusted just the two young bird/ old hens races to go on 25th August and 8th September.

Once again I have to offer Steve and Lesley Wright at the "House of Aarden" our grateful thanks for their generous sponsorship of the International races. Those readers out there who are not yet members can still join for the young bird/ old hens races as one of the section winners in the Perpignan race joined in the week leading up to basketting. Go on - have a go you'll never regret it.

Gareth Watkins