The second race of the BICC Old Bird race programme took place on Saturday 17th May from the French town of Alencon. This is situated in the Orne department of Normandy and 107 miles west of Paris. The town is famous for its lace making industry and was once besieged by, yes its that man again, William the Conqueror. If ever there was a man who deserved an ASBO it was our Will!

Once again this season, we are happy to announce that Meriden Health the makers of Orego Stim have kindly agreed to sponsor the club with bottles of Orego Stim to each of the winners of 2nd & 3rd in each section for the first four National races.

Marking at the various marking stations around the country went well and it appeared from the enthusiastic support accross the club's boundaries that a new record send would be achieved. The final figures show that a total of 6,590 birds were mustered to create a new club record.
Unfortunately, one of the transporters suffered a mechanical failure on the Thursday night and birds had to be transferred onto a substitute vehicle. During the transfer process, two hens, believed to be a mealy and a pied escaped. These are thought to be from the Norwich marking station.
Nevertheless, after much hard work, the convoy eventually resumed its journey to Alencon and the 6,590 birds were liberated at 7am and this is Race Advisor John Tyerman's report on the preparations for the race.

Race Advisor's report:
"With a record entry of 6590 pigeons for the Alencon National the last thing we needed was transporter problems, but as members now know we had a clutch failure on the large lorry, so were very grateful to Andrew Daniels from the Norfolk and Suffolk Club who offered the BICC the use of their lorry, which was in fact our old transporter that we had parted with last year. Obviously the lorry break down meant serious delays in the logistics and timings for collecting the birds from the various marking stations and many of our i/c's and helpers stayed on very late in the night to ensure the birds were taken care of and loaded onto the transporter. The 3 transporters eventually met up at Portsmouth early on Friday morning and Transport Manager Albi Deacon had his team in place to help with loading and transferring birds, so our grateful thanks to Albi, Micky, Dave, Kevin and Jimmy who turned up very early to complete this task. Also as members know we unfortunately had two birds escape but both owners later notified the secretary when their pigeons returned home. The lorry breakdown meant we had to cancel the overnight ferry and re-book a crossing to Caen on the Friday, but as Alencon is only a 2 hour drive from the ferry port this did not present any problem with getting to the race point on time.

I spoke several times with our Chief Convoyer Trevor Cracknell and he assured me the pigeons all looked well despite the problems. On Friday evening I spoke to Steve Appleby our Weather Advisor and he gave a very favourable and detailed forecast for the race, details of which I passed to Trevor on site at Alencon. Around 6am on Saturday morning I again spoke with Steve Appleby, who reported blue skies and sunshine at Alencon with light NE winds variable at times in the Channel, - this information was relayed to Trevor and at 7 am the 6590 birds were released into brilliant sunshine and cleared immediately. (See Steve's report and weather photo at Caen)
Despite the transport problems our Convoyers, Trevor, Steve and Barry did an excellent job and our sincere thanks to them and all others involved for their hard work over the weekend which ensured the race went ahead as scheduled. Lastly thanks to Tom Firmager who loaned us the small ex BICC transporter which enabled us to safely carry the extra birds to Alencon. Overall with 550 first bird verifications, it seems to have been a successful race with birds being timed all over the country, and up as far north as Newcastle."
John Tyerman
Race Advisor

I'm sure all members will want me to thank those mentioned above as well as all the hard workers at the marking stations who make our racing possible. On behalf of all our members many thanks to each and every one of you for all your hard work.

Steve Appleby our weather expert gives the following information regarding the weather on the day of liberation. Weather Report
As forecast a good flying day presented itself for this BICC channel race from Alencon. The welcome view obtained from the weather satellites looking down over France was one of clear blue skies. Over England some cloud was located affecting the south east of the country mainly along the south coast line. Some areas of the channel were affected by cloud but of little significance. Due to the winds being so light direction difficult to determine over land but over the channel the direction was mainly from the north east at about 7 mph. Visibility good all round with data showing 11 miles plus over the open sea. I updated race controller John Tyerman with weather conditions at 06:15 which resulted in a liberation from Alencon at 07:00.
Steve Appleby

From the weather reports on the day it seemed clear that although the birds had an easterly edge to help them along in the early stages of the race, which might favour the members on the western edge of the club's radius, this was counteracted by the westerly airflow over the last leg of the course so it could be anyone's day and that is how the race developed. Although the first five Open positions were won in the west section, all six section winners figured in the top thirty of the provisional result. You can't get a much fairer distribution of winning pigeons than that.

I should point out once again, that all positions quoted here are purely provisional and are based on members first bird verifications. The final result may well differ considerably from this provisional one.

The winning pigeon, doing 1384 ypm, was clocked way down west in Plymouth by Mark Shepherd. What's more this was only Mark's second attempt at National racing, the other one being BICC Falaise two weeks earlier. But wait there's more. The National winning pigeon is THE SAME PIGEON that Mark clocked from Falaise to take 5th Open and this was only the fourth race of this yearling's life!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mark's timer, is a blue Van Dyke x Vandenabeele widowhood cock, that was bred by Mark's friend from the North East, Colin Priestman of Consett. Not raced as a youngster, he had two short inland races this season before going across the channel for the first time in only the third race of his life. In one of these inland races he finished at 10th Fed. He was rested from racing following his success at Falaise and gradually built up again before basketting for Alencon.
All the widowers are fed in their boxes on an ounce of good widowhood mixture from Beyers, both morning and night. They are exercised for 45 minutes to 1 hour in the mornings and then usually have a 25 mile "livener" most evenings. Tollisan Schroeder products are used to keep the team in good nick.
Congratulations Mark on conditioning and racing a truly outstanding young pigeon. Congratulations also to Colin Priestman of Consett on breeding such an outstanding performer.
A full loft report on Mark's incredible racer will appear shortly.

In second spot with a pigeon recording 1369 ypm is a household name in the fancy, namely John Halstead of Kington Magna in Dorset. John clocked a yearling having only the sixth race of his life. The following is a brief outline of John's recent time in the sport since moving to Dorset:-
This is the 4th time John has been 2nd Open National, previously these have been from Barcelona twice and Vire, this to add to his 3 National wins from Bordeaux, Palamos and Barcelona, all achieved since moving to Dorset from the Midlands in 2002.
This weeks successful pigeon is named Ruby's Lad and is a blue yearling widowhood cock of Gaby Vandenabeele bloodlines, bred down from original purchases from Mark and Dickie Evans back in 1999. These were the Jester and Carrie, National Fideel and Belle, and Pearce and Jade Leanne breeding icons. Two more hens were introduced from Mark and Dick in 2010 and the dam of Ruby's Lad is a granddaughter of Eisenhower and The Golden Gaby. This medium sized hen was mated with retired racer 'Ruby' who had three 1st positions racing but has produced some top pigeons in recent times including twice 1st Federation, 2nd Section NFC and 3rd Classic. Two weeks ago R Goodier and Sons were 2nd Open BBC Carentan (2233 birds) with a hen from a brother to Ruby's Lad.
This cock was having only his second race of the season after losing a few body feathers in a preseason training toss - but he had shown great promise as a young bird winning prizes in each of his four races. These were 29th Dorset Fed Open Guernsey and 2nd Federation member in the race; 2nd Club 3rd Fed Maidstone; 2nd Section Gold Ring and 17th Section 163rd Open (1737 birds) CSCFC Guernsey and 19th Section NFC Carentan. The Halstead team of widowhood cocks exercise for 50 minutes to one hour twice each day and are given Golden Boost in the morning and Hormoform in the evening on entering the loft. This is followed by a slight tweek to previous feeding schedules in the use of Versele Laga 'Start Plus' and more recently 'Champion Plus' all feeds have been supplied by A E James of Barrow Gurney.
John had entered six birds in the race and only two minutes after sitting down to await arrivals the Blue cock appeared quite high and directly from the South and he trapped immediately. Three birds were timed in 22 minutes and all six were home before 6 pm and were in great condition so full credit to the convoyer, driver and marking officials.

The Templecombe partnership of Mr & Mrs Hodges come in next at 3rd west section 3rd Open vel 1367 ypm. The Hodges timed a 2 year old blue pied hen bred from a pair gifted to them by Mark Dorrington of Litton. She is fed on the "Carlsberg system" and raced on the "chaos system" make of that what you will. A brother was 1st in club, 14th Combine out of 4,054 birds the week before Alencon.

At 4th west section 4th Open we have the outstanding multi National winning Welsh partnership of Ron Scammell and Paul Peploe of Garndiffaith, near Pontypool. The partners clocked.a 4 year old black hen flown on round about. to record 1351ypm. The round about team was only separated a few weeks ago and the hen has had Lyndhurst and Maidstone races prior to going to Alencon. She is bred from Ron's father's old Karel Herman pigeons crossed with the National winning bloodlines of Bernard Clarke of Rhymney and Edwards Brothers.

Paul Murrell of Poole in Dorset comes in next at 5th west section 5th Open with a yearling vel 1350 ypm. Paul writes the following:-
"My first pigeon was a yearling blue hen raced on the Natural system. She is bred from a Nigel Lllewellyn of Holbury blood stock being Van Der Espt on one side and a Peter Van De Merwe on the other.
She has had only two races this year the other being BICC Falaise. She raced back to a new baby put under her 15 minutes before she went to Marking. I do not train the birds after the beginning of the racing season due to the ever present problem of our Nemesis the Hawks!
I would like to Thank Nigel Llewellyn for his friendship over the years."

At 1st Centre section 6th Open we have one to the long distance specialist Ray Hammond of Albury. Ray's bird, a yearling, recorded 1335.3 ypm in a very close finish in the centre section.
After many attempts to contact Ray myself, club President John Tyerman finally got through and this is what John has to report on the elusive Raymond Hammond:-
Ray lives in the small village of Albury in Surrey, and flies in the Godalming Club. Over the years he has had some outstanding performances winning several Classic distance events, racing to his small back-garden lofts. His section winner is a yearling blue bar hen that had two short races as a yb and this year flew Kingsdown before being sent to Alencon. On the day of basketing he slipped a day old yb under the hen and this obviously worked very well. This yearling hen is a grand daughter of his Tarbes Classic winner, "Simply the best" and on the other side the lines are "Razors Boy" who was the nestmate to "Razors Girl" a pigeon that went on to win the LSECC Tarbes Classic for Des and Darran McFadden of Cranleigh. Ray flys natural and and does not do much training. The birds are fed on Gem Irish mix and two days a week he puts cod liver oil on to the feeding, which he finds puts a nice shine on the feathering and keeps his birds in good condition. He had full returns from Alencon and was very pleased with the race.

Mark Gilbert of Winkfield is just pipped at the post for 1st Centre section with his timer doing 1334.9 ypm. to take 2nd centre section 7th Open. Mark clocked a yearling hen on roundabout. The father is a son of Southfield Supreme Mark's Dax International winner when he was paired to a daughter of Brockamp's "George". The mother is a double granddaughter of "Lucky 848 ".

The winner of the North Central section and 8th Open on 1334.4 ypm was one to the Wellingborough loft of L.A.{Andy} Smith. Andy's first in the clock is a two year old..........

Mark Dorrington of Litton timed for 1333.9 ypm to take 6th west section 9th Open. The timer is a yearling chequer hen gifted to Mark by his good friends Paul and Stephen Gregg of the Gregg Brothers & McAndless partnership of Belfast. The hen is flown on the "CarlsbergSystem" and was racing to the young bird loft having not been mated so far this season. Mark was a great friend of the late great Frank Tasker who gave Mark many useful tips on conditioning pigeons for racing. Mark has asked me to thank the Greggs for all their help and advice and top class gift pigeons. Not forgetting Paige for all her help with the loft management.

Phil Newton [ably assisted by wife Tess] of Weston Super Mare is in once again at 7th west section 10th Open with a bird recording 1332 ypm. Readers may recall that Phil clocked to take 7th Open BICC Falaise two weeks earlier. In the Alencon race he clocked a yearling hen. She was sent to the race sitting 7 day eggs and this was only her 4th race of her life as Phil and Tess did not race any youngsters in the 2013 season, This year she has had two 60 mile races and one 80 miler in preparation for Alencon. She is bred down from Phil's own family of birds and is a grand daughter of his N.F.C. Certificate of Merritt winner.

Moving on to the winners in the various sections now we have the following:-
The winner in the East section is none other than Tarbes King's Cup winner Mark Bulled of Harlow. Mark's timer recording 1280 ypm, is a "bit of an animal" in cross channel racing, as he has previously won a number of prizes in top class competition. Here's what Mark had to say:-
"My section winner is a 3 year old widowhood cock that was 2nd NFC Messac 6500 birds last season. He has won 3 times across channel and also inland. He is bred from my red sprint family."

In second east section vel 1272 ypm is one to the Bishop Stortford loft of Mr & Mrs Tofts. The Sire is a Vandenheede bred by Roger "the Reading wizard" Lowe. Dam is a Granddaughter of our National winner. Raced on widowhood and fed Versele Laga and Bamfords top flight. The Tofts say that their bird arrived home in great condition.

Bruce McAllister is in again at 3rd East section vel 1254 ypm with a very inbred Jos Thone blue hen going back to Emperor on both sides of her pedigree. Once again she is a celibate hen which was just "messing about" with a spare cock bird.

The Centre section top three positions were taken by Ray Hammond at 1st section followed closely by Mark Gilbert's timer in 2nd spot. The Ramsdean partnership of Wearn Brothers & Nielson come in at third section vel 1330 ypm. The partners timed a Verkerk x Vandenabeele. The Verkerk coming from their good friend Dave Cave and the Vandenabeele from M & D Evans . In the North Central section L.A {Andy} Smith of Wellingborough takes the red rosette with one on 1334 ypm to also take 8th Open.
Andy's timer is a 2 year old cock of Matt Rakes Van Breeman crossed with a German bloodlines. Raced on the roundabout system the cock had 2 club races and then into BICC Falaise two weeks ago and then Alencon. All birds are fed Garvo sprint and peanuts day before basketing.

Mr & Mrs Smith of Rushden come in next with a 3 year old Willy Thas widower on 1317 ypm. This one entered the Smith loft as a young bird stray. He was duly reported returned to his home loft only to promptly return to the Smiths. After a few more attempts at repatriation he was finally transferred to the Smiths and has now won a number of prizes at his adopted home.

D Lyden & Son of Yardley take 3rd North Central section on 1316 ypm timing a 2 year old Van Hee dark chequer cock flown on round about.

Next we move on to the winners in the North East Section and here we find Terry Roughton of Wisbech leading the field with one on 1315 ypm. This is what Terry had to tell me about his section winner:-
"First bird was GB12Z86257 a blue bar Cock. As a member of Midland Social Circle, we exchange youngsters with Lancashire Social Circle. This was a bird exchanged with Mike O'Hare. It flew consistently well as a yearling and had one race over the channel from Fougeres. Speaking to Mike earlier in the year at the Lancashire Social Circle, I told him that I had great hopes for this cock this year.
Second bird GB12Z01183 arrived just 5 mins later. This hen has already scored as a yearling 10th Section 25th Open Fougeres.
On verification it looks like I may have taken the first five in the section with velocities of 1315, 1296, 1283, 1252, 1215. This is only my second year racing south road. All the birds are raced on roundabout system and fed on Gerry Plus and built up at the end of the week on a mixture of three different widowhood feeds."

In second spot on the provisional result which may well slip down the pecking order, is a bird racing to the Great Abington loft of John Searle which records a velocity of 1198 ypm. John topped the section in the Falaise race of two weeks ago and at Alencon he timed a chequer pied widowhood cock, with three previous 1st prizes. This one is of Jos Thone bloodlines through 'Sumo' and 'Sars' . Alencon was the cock's 5th race this year and he also went to Falaise two weeks ago.

Third North East section provisionally, goes to Dennis Brand of Willingham on 1182 ypm. Dennis' timer is a 2 year old hen flown on total widowhood. Her bloodlines are three quarter Jan Aarden and one quarter Louella Ebony and she is a previous prize winner at club level.

The winner in the North West section looks to be the Birtsmorton partnership of T & J Davies who clocked 8 sharp ones starting on 1305 ypm to possibly take the first eight section positions. This is what Jeremy Davies had to tell me about the race and the family history in the sport.
Jeremy Davies is 40 years old has continued to race and keep the racing name of T & J Davies in memory of his Father Tim Davies who sadly passed away in 2010. The Grandmother of the section winner being bred by his late father Tim this hen which won 1st Section J in 2004 in the young bird National. Jeremy paired this hen to her full brother also a top channel National Classic racer this pairing bred the sire of the section winner in 2009 and were put to stock and bred channel winners from the word go. They go back to the old hen which Tim brought bred by Mike Ganus of America which are from the world famous Terminator lines. The sire of the section winner bred a London North Road Combine winner in 2012 for another fancier. In 2013 it was paired onto the Father daughter mating hen Jimmys which has scored from Tarbes in 2008 for T & J Davies flying with the NFC winning 1st section J 617 miles on the Day ! These were not raced as young birds in 2013 as Jeremy did not have the time as being the loft Manager for the R.P.R.A One Loft Race the One Loft Young birds are in full swing.
The section winner was bred in 2012 and scored as a young bird from over the channel as a Yearling he was given 3 channel races being high up in the National classic results. He has now been named Birtsmorton Terminator and he will be hand picked for future races in the 2014 season. The dam being Gaby Vandenabeele and has won sprint races in the club and also won 1st Club 4th federation in 2011 from Messac. These Vandenabeeles have done very well for the partners both pure and crossed winning at all levels. From Alencon Eight pigeons were timed in within 28 minutes.
The whole team are at present are on the round about system which Jeremy finds this an easy to control system as time is limited .The Pigeons are given Jeremy's Pigeon Tonics which leading to the race they had the everyday tonic and on the Wednesday morning the birds had the Race Boost tonic . Jeremy's Health & Energy Oil was added to the food for 2 days prior to being taken for marking on Thursday morning. Jeremy uses 2 commercial mixes to which farm barley and wheat is added. The whole team were put together on Wednesday night with straw being put in Corridor and early Thursday morning Jeremy selected 26 pigeons that were tight in the bowls and also had carried straw into the nest bowls. Birtsmorton Terminator was tight in the bowl with his hen which is also provisional 2nd Section.
Jeremy only joined the BICC last week and would like to thank the Marking team down in Newport Gwent who made him feel very welcome , the team in Gwent are very professional and the birds certainly were very well looked after by the convoyers as the team returned in great condition. With the record send of over 6590 birds this club is certainly growing into one of the top National clubs in the UK and with the birds having to be thinkers to break from a lot of birds being on the eastern side of the UK. Jeremy is looking forward to competing in the BICC in the next race from Tours
Jeremy would like to thank his family for putting up with the pigeons as they take up a lot of time and he could not do it without their support.

That then is a report on the second race in the BICC Old Bird programme.

And finally.........BICC Treasurer, Russell Bradford has obtained funding for a new trophy donated by the family of the late Barry Hobbs. Barry was a keen supporter of the BICC and it seems appropriate that his family donate a trophy in his memory.

This is Russell's take on the matter:-"A good friend of mine - namely Barry Hobbs - Passed Away some three years ago. At his Funeral a sum of 533 was collected, and his Widow June and Son Troy made the decision to donate the money to the Pigeons in War Museum at Bletchley Park so that an item could be purchased upon which Barry's name could be duly inscribed. As the Pigeons-in-War museum doesn't have a bank account 'per se' the money was presented to David Higgins, and the RPRA, effectively as Custodians charged with spending the money so that Barry's name could be inscribed on some item and live on in perpetuity. However very little progress was made at this level and so the monies raised were returned to the Hobbs family.
Barry was a great supporter of the BICC, and Troy still races in the same club as me (Burton Latimer) and of course with the BICC, still under the partnership name of B. Hobbs & Son. Troy and his Mother June would like the BICC to purchase a suitable trophy and have given me a cheque for 533.It will be for the first Young Bird at the longest YB race clocked into Northamptonshire.
Barry was a well known and well liked fancier in the County and more than one hundred people attended his Funeral, so it will be a lasting and perpetual tribute that will also give local BICC members and fanciers in Northamptonshire a quality trophy to aim for."

That's the second race in the BICC old bird programme done and dusted. We next move on to Tours in two weeks time. Lets hope the good weather holds up.
Gareth Watkins

Mark-&-Sam-Shepherd 1st Open BICC Alencon

BICC Alencon winner

John HalsteadholdingRuby'sLad 2nd Open BICC Alencon

Mr & Mrs Hodges 3rd Open BICC Alencon

Ron Scammell with son Dellan of the Scammell & Peploe partnership 4th west section 4th Open BICC Alencon

Paul Murrell 5th Open BICC Alencon

Ray Hammond 1st Centre section 6th Open BICC Alencon

Mark & father Geoff-Gilbert. Mark was 2nd sect 7th Open BICCAlencon

Paige Dorrington Daughter and loft managerof Mark Dorrington. The Dorringtons were 6thsection 9th Open BICC Alencon

Tess & Phil Newton 10th Open BICC Alencon

Grandad Andy Smith and grandkidswiththepigeon that won 1stNorth Central section BICC Alencon

Jeremy Davies1stNWSectionAlencon with daughters Jessica and Heather

Mark Bulled 1st east section BICC Alencon pictured with his two daughters Abbie and Charlotte

Terry Roughton 1st NE section BICC Alencon

Troy&BarryHobbs with the RPRA East Midlands Region 450 mile trophy [see text]