The fourth race in the BICC Old Bird race programme, and the last National to be sponsored by Meriden Health manufacturers of Orego Stim, was scheduled to take place from the French city of Poitiers on Saturday14th June.
A total of1,938 pigeons were entered by 310 members and liberated at 6 am on the scheduled day. The following table shows the breakdown of the number of members and birdage from each marking station:-
NORWICH 17 / 59
EVESHAM 17 / 84
HORNDEAN 33 / 193
ASH 27 / 244
BROMLEY 26 /137
IPSWICH 8 / 47
DISS 9 / 53
BATH 26 / 206
GWENT 15 / 102
BRIGHTON 23 /132
S/OCKENDEN 35 / 310

TOTAL 310 members entered 1938 birds.

Before concentrating on the race itself perhaps a little history of the city of Poitiers would be of interest, so here goes with the pocket guide to Poitiers......
Poitiers was founded by the Celtic tribe of the Pictones and was known as the oppidum Lemonum before Roman influence. The name is said to have come from the Celtic word for elm, Lemo. After Roman influence took over, the town became known as Pictavium, or later "Pictavis", after the original Pictones inhabitants themselves. The city lies on the Clain river in west-central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. Poitiers is a major university centre. The centre of town is picturesque and its streets include predominant historical architecture, especially religious architecture and especially from the Romanesque period. Two major military battles took place near the city: in 732, the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours), in which the Franks commanded by Charles Martel halted the expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate, and in 1356, the Battle of Poitiers, a key victory for the English forces during the Hundred Years' War.

Poitiers is strategically situated on the Seuil du Poitou, a shallow gap between the Armorican and the Central Massif. The Seuil du Poitou connects the Aquitaine Basin to the South to the Paris Basin to the North. This area is an important geographic crossroads in France and Western Europe.
The city's primary site sits on a vast promontory between the valleys of the Boivre and the Clain. The old town occupies the slopes and the summit of a plateau which rises 130 feet (40 m) above the streams which surround it on three sides. Thus Poitiers benefits from a very strong tactical situation. This was an especially important factor before and throughout the Middle Ages.

I should point out that during the winter months, the BICC Committee allocated the Poitiers race as the event to commemorate the start of the First World War. Mike Armitage reported to the committee that Gloria Hunniford's husband had approached him concerning sponsoring an event for the BICC and that he had offered to give 1000 euros first prize and a Silver Trophy. Competing members are able to nominate as many birds as they wish @ 1 a pigeon and all proceeds will go to the charity known as the "Karon Keating Foundation". As most fanciers will no doubt be aware, Karon Keating was the late daughter of Gloria Hunniford. Lets hope that the event and the nomination prize has been well supported for such a worth while cause.
Also, the Open race winner and all section winners will receive a special commemorative diploma in this race.
So much for the history and geographical location of our race point. What of the race itself. I have included here John Tyerman the race advisor and Steve Appleby, the BICC weather man's reports.

Race Advisor Report.
'The Poiters National had an entry of just under 2000 birds and with the predicted North east winds it was never going to be an easy race. The two transporters met up around 8pm on Thursday evening at Horndean Marking Station and the birds were all transferred on to the larger vehicle, before travelling overnight on the Portsmouth/Caen Ferry. Thanks to Albi, Nicky and the other lads who helped with this task.
Chief Convoyer Trevor Cracknell reported a safe arrival just after lunchtime on Friday at the new liberation site in Poiters - a site which he says is very good with excellent facilities, including restaurant, bar and toilets. Around 4pm on Friday I spoke to our Weather Advisor Steve Appleby and he gave a good line of light forecast for the race next day. I later spoke with Trevor who confirmed it was a fine evening in Poiters and with a good race day weather forecast, we agreed to liberate as early as possible if the conditions remained suitable. There were also 5 Belgian Transporters on site and it was mutually agreed that they would be first to release in the morning. I again Spoke with Steve Appleby early on Saturday morning and he gave a good forecast, pointing out that the rain/storms in North West France would quickly dissipate and have no bearing on our race. With temps in the mid 20's and a North east wind it would be a testing fly. I relayed this weather information to Convoyers Trevor and Steve and the birds were liberated at 6am into sunshine and a light north east wind, clearing immediately. (The 24,000 Belgian birds had been liberated at 5-30am) Trevor later phoned from Caen to say the weather had been excellent all the way up from Poiters, but the north east wind was fairly strong in places, which overall made it a very testing race. Well done again to John Rumney who timed at 7-18am on Sunday morning flying 578 miles. Thanks again to Steve Appleby and both Convoyers.'

John Tyerman
Race Advisor.

Weather Report.
In the small hours of Saturday morning as forecast by the Met Office thunder storms developed over southern England. At 0530 hours they migrated southwards over the channel to the east side of the Cherbourg Peninsula. These were clearly identified on the numerous rainfall radar charts available. They continued moving south over northern France weakening forming into rain showers. Again as forecast these rain showers petered out during the early morning. This effectively cleared and line of flight up through France and the channel from Poitiers to southern counties of England. I informed race controller John Tyerman of the weather conditions and that the rain affecting some areas of northern France would soon clear. At the time of liberation winds over France were light from the north, north east but as the morning progressed they gained in strength reaching 12 mph plus. This wind speed and direction was sustained throughout the pigeons whole journey home including the channel. The data recorded by the channel Met buoys confirmed wind strength and direction. Our convoyer Trevor conveyed on his return journey that flying conditions were excellent from Poitiers to Caen. So to conclude the pigeons had to battle all the way through France and the channel against the winds until they reached southern England. Without doubt this factor played the major role in making this a very testing race for the BICC pigeons.

Steve Appleby

Once again I must emphasise the fact that all positions quoted are purely provisional and are based solely on members first bird verifications.

Leading the way once again for the second time this season, and flying the flag for Wales in fine style, was one to the father and son Partnership of Gareth and Stuart Treharne of Nantyglo at the top of the Welsh Valleys. The partners clocked a three year old hen and this is what Stuart has to say about their second BICC triumph this season:-
"Some details of our winner from Poitiers - before I start please can I thank all of the many people that have contacted us and the rousing reception Dad had from the Cwmtillery members at the clubhouse last night .

The pigeon is a hen bred in 2011 she is bred from an Eijerkamp Janssen cock and a Marcel Sangers hen. The sire is a grandson of Glamourboy and Wonderboy06, whilst the dam is a direct Marcel Sangers hen which has a bred us a lot of good birds. She is a Koopman cross Sangers Janssen . The hen was our 3rd bird from Tours and arrived quite fresh although a bit behind. She has previously won 12th open Welsh South Road National Carentan as a young bird , and last year won 8th open Welsh South Road NFC from Bordeaux as a two year old . She did not race a lot as a yearling as I accidentally stepped on her wing when catching birds to go to a race and pulled her last two primaries out of her one wing so she just had a few inland races in 2012. She is not the tamest bird in the world and is flown on the conventional roundabout system exercising an hour morning and night with no training after the first race. She was let into her box before basketting but the hens and cocks do not see each other before going to the race. Our second bird was the cock she was paired to which was bred out of a Combine winning son of Wall, Lunt and Greens Merlin pair. Our third bird was a yearling hen out of our Gold Cup winner. It was a real tough race and at the moment we have 13 out of 19 with mostly yearlings missing.
The hen was a little tired when she arrived but was still holding good body when I picked her up to check her . The condition of the birds after such a hard one was very good considering and the birds recovered reasonably quickly".
Congratulations Gareth and Stuart on yet another excellent performance. A comprehensive loft report on the Treharnes can be found on the BICC web site.

In the bridesmaid's spot for the second BICC race in succession was a round about hen racing to the Garndiffaith[Pontypool] loft of the super successful loft of Ron Scammell and Paul Peploe. This is what Paul had to tell me about the partner's latest "near miss" :-
"The pigeon is a Chequer hen bred by Jimmy Richards of Laindon in Essex. The sire is out of a son of Chris Gordon's NFC Pau winner paired to a dam of Jim Biss NFC Pau winner. Jim obtained these bloodlines from Terry Robinson of Goffs Oak. The dam of our 2nd Open winner was bred by us and sent to Jimmy for stock( we exchange birds every year).. She is the same way bred as the double national winner we bred for D & C Flowers.of Pontypool. We had 6 out of 6 pigeons and clocked 5 in just over an hour."
You can't say fairer than that!! Well done yet again lads. A full loft report on the partners can also be found on the BICC web site.

Next we have Frome fancier Keith Haines in at 3rd west section 3rd Open vel 122 ypm. Keith had a good bird in the Tours National a week or two ago and unfortunately I failed to make contact with him for details of his pigeon. However, I have now managed to contact Keith and he has provided me with the following information on both his Tours timer and this week's Poitiers pigeon. This is what Keith had to tell me:-
"My Tours pigeon is a two year old Red Cock . He only had two races as Young bird, one channel race as a yearling then Carentan and into Tours with the BICC where he was 6th Section 8th Open. His line has Hagen Bros, Lucas and a gift hen from Clive and Jill Rogers of Treetops corn supplies where I purchase all my corn.
My Poitiers timer is another two year old which looks good enough for 3rd Section 3rd Open Poitiers. He also only had one race as a Y/bird, one channel race as a yearling and he was 1st Club 1st Fed Portland. This year Carentan with NFC and Tours with BICC then into Poitiers. His line has Red Barcelona De Narbonne on one side and Full Try Vale Cahors ,Braakhuis and Taverne Rigiole on the other. My system is a very flexible roundabout system with each sex getting exercised once a day with no training once racing starts.
This was an enjoyable performance and nice to beat the big guys for a change."

The multi National winning and twice Queen's Cup winning Cwmtillery partnership of Preece Brothers & sons take 4th west section 4th Open on 1100 ypm. John Preece gives the following information:-

Plymouth fancier and previous winner of the BICC in 2013, none other than Steve Luscombe, comes in next with one on 1099 ypm to take 5th west section 5th Open. Steve clocked the same yearling round about hen that won 10th Open BICC Falaise earlier in the season. The hen, now named "Little Rose" was bred from a cock bred from a grandson of the great Vale Cahors, [gifted to Steve by Robbie Prettyjohn] when paired to a red pied Jan Theelen hen. The Dam of Little Rose was purchased at the Blackpool Show from Robert Ten Berge of Futural.

The West Country partnership of Wyatt & Grey from Wraxhall come in for 6th West section 6th Open vel 1095. If my memory serves me correctly the partners are previous winners of the Palamos National in 1996 and topped the BBC from Bordeaux only last year. In the Poitiers race they clocked a two year old widowhood cock having his 6th channel race of the season. He is one of the loft's most consistent performers and last year he was14th sec. 120th open from Cholet N.F.C
This year he has been first bird to the loft on three occasions taking 8th section25th open Carentan B.B.C a few weeks earlier. He is bred from a son of Gary Summers of Nailsea N.F.C. Saintes winner, when paired to a De Klak from C. J. Smith of Salford. The birds are fed on farm grown cereals and beans, plus a mix from Countrywide. The Evercreech partnership of John and David Staddon come in next at 7th west section 7th Open with one recording 1078 ypm.
The partners are keeping up their good form from Tours National where they were 3rd section 3rd Open. David writes:-
"Firstly can we send our congratulations to Gareth & Stuart Treharne on another spectacular 1st BICC win.. Really well done lads. We would also like to mention Scammell & Peploe who are having another remarkable season. We timed our 2yo Cheq/W/F hen Shapway Miss Caroline after 9 hours 17mins for the 341 miles. As usual she is raced on our Chaos System. She is bred from Shapway Larry, a full brother of Lady Caroline who won 1st Sec 2nd Open Pau BICC. He is already a sire of 2nd Open BICC Alencon. The dam is Shapway Dark Velvet 1st Section 10th Open BICC Perpignan and 2nd section Tarbes NFC. She is a daughter of dad's 1st NFC Vire winner. So as you can see this hen is bred in the purple. It was a tough day for the birds but at the time of writing on Sunday morning we have 17 out of 20. All birds returned in great condition".
Topping the Centre section was one to the Gosport loft of Paul Ayling recording 1070 ypm. Paul timed a good 'un in the Tours race to take 12th Open but unfortunately I was unable to get any details of that pigeon as Paul and his better half were away visiting a sick relative over the weekend of the race. I hope your relative is much improved now Paul. I'll start with details of Paul's Tours pigeon which unfortunately I was unable to mention in the report on the Tours race.
This one was good enough for 5th Centre Section 12th Open. He is a blue cock of Distance lines mainly Delber X Janssen. He has previously been 10th open 1st sect B NFC Messac and many other good performances.
The Poitiers pigeon is a blue yearling cock a Staf Dusarduyn x Deymeyere bred by Crammond & Langstaff of Fontwell (thanks Nigel). He was Paul's first pigeon from Falaise and has been very consistent leading up to this race. The second pigeon clocked close behind and could also feature well up in the section, is another blue yearling cock. He is from Paul's best Vandenabeele hen of Jimmy Wearn bloodlines. This second bird records 1010 ypm in this race and is bred from the forementioned Vandenabeele hen when she was mated to a son of "Home Alone" Paul's 1st NFC Pau winner and only bird on the day. All birds are raced on double widowhood with the partner always waiting on their return. Paul tells me that as always, the birds returned in good condition.
In second spot in the Centre section also taking 9th Open vel 1062 ypm was one to John Rogers of Portsmouth who clocked a yearling cock flown on the natural system and sent feeding a 12 day old baby . This one contains a lot of Geoff Kirkland bloodlines in his pedigree and is bred from one of John's top racers. John has asked me to give a special mention and thanks to the members of the Five Heads club at Horndean for all their help and friendship.

The Winkfield wizard aka Mark Gilbert clocked for 1055 ypm to take 3rd Centre section 10th Open. Mark timed a Koopman hen flown I assume on round about. She was Mark's first pigeon from the Cholet NFC National the week before. Close behind - just a minute in fact was a Red cock direct from Kanibal Barcelona 4th International Barcelona 25,000 birds and 26th International Perpignan.

That's the Top Ten in the Open dealt with, lets now have a look around the sections.
The first three in both the west and centre sections have been covered in the first ten open winners above so we'll move on to the North West section winners.
Here we have Chris Preece of Bridgnorth leading the way with a pigeon on 1038 ypm to take 1st section 14th Open. This is the same three year old Ian Axe Janssen widowhood cock that Chris clocked from Tours two weeks earlier to take 2nd section 25th Open. Named Ben after Chris's two week old grandson he has certainly taken to National racing with the BICC as this is Chris's first year with the club.

In second section was one to the Birtsmorton loft of T & J Davies , a partnership which has topped the section in the previous two BICC races from Alencon and Tours. This is what Jeremy Davies had to say about his latest successful racer:-
"Winning the NW section 2 races on the trot then 2nd NW section , the first timer this time being a two year old Red Cheq Hen . She is a great grand daughter off the Red Barcelona cock. Jeremy bred this Red hen and gave her to his daughters for them to race as a young bird and she has been a consistent racer ever since. She was timed in from Alencon & Tours this year with the BICC and looked to be in great form on the round about system and so was entered for Poitiers with some confidence.
The pigeons have been conditioned on Jeremy's pigeon tonic range which are keeping the birds in superb condition."
Third North west section was one to the partnership of Booth & Roper. The partners clocked a three year old widowhood hen of Brian Sheppard bloodlines which has been a really good racer for them being their first bird from BICC Tours two weeks earlier in their first ever race with the BICC. She will now be set up for NFC Pau. They would also like to thank all at the Evesham marking station for their professionalism and friendliness- it gets a 10/10 from Len!

The winner in the North East section was a pigeon doing 956 ypm to the Diss loft of A & C Daniels. Andrew and son Craig clocked a two year old widow hood hen recording 956 ypm. This one was bought in a futurity sale and was bred by Andrew's club mate Tony White. The hen has been a consistent racer and was at Clermont with the local club the week before Poitiers.
Second North East section was the Otley partnership of A Wright and daughter Bethany with a Wal Zoontjens widowhood cock bred down from birds obtained from the late Les Hill of Pontypool. The cock has been to Alencon and Tours prior to basketting for Poitiers. This one is Bethany's favourite so the partners are very happy with his performance as he also won the local club race where the Wright's finished at 1st & 2nd so a good day 's racing in what proved to be a testing race.

Third north east section vel 930 ypm was one to Kelvin Sharman of Syleham. Unfortunately at the time of going to press I have no information on Kelvin's pigeon.

Jamie Mitchell of Bedford clocked for 1024 ypm to top the North Central section with a Gaby Vandenabeele x Peter .v.d Merwe via Jutla Bros. Jamie does not race in club or Federation this year and would like to thank all those who have helped him in the past.

Mr & Mrs Stafford of Higham Ferrers timed a four year old mealy widowhood cock to take 2nd North Central section vel 944 ypm. This one is a consistent performer for the Staffords with a number of turns accross the channel. He is bred down from original Busschaerts obtained from Tim Rodwell of Gravesend.

Club treasurer Russell Bradford comes in at 3rd North Central section with a 3 year old recording 941 ypm. Russell has this to say about his timer:-
"This is a 100% Deweerdt pigeon and a G/son from two birds obtained from Bernard Deweerdt on a visit a few years ago. It is only his fourth race this year having had a Blandford the previous week at 114 miles with the local club, and the BICC Alencon a fortnight previously. I have always said that being Treasurer for the BICC does not impact on my racing as the finances can be attended to through the week, but on this occasion Carol was having trouble loading the 'Early Times' on to the BICC web site and had sent me a file to load elsewhere, and it was whilst I was doing this that the bird arrived. Thank Goodness for ETS.
Congratulations to Jamie Mitchell winningthe north central section with an excellent pigeon on a far from easy day!"

The winner in the East section recording 1019 ypm to finish provisionally 23rd Open was clocked at the Bishop's Stortford loft of Mr & Mrs Hawkins. Les and Rosalind timed a two year old widowhood cock which was being prepared for the NFC Tarbes race in a few weeks time. His sire is the partners' top stock cock of Ken Hine x Van Bruaene bloodlines and this is related to 3rd & 12th Open Barcelona winners and also has some of Eric Cannon's Culmer Bess bloodlines along with many other top class racers in his make up. The dam was bred by King's Cup winner Mark Bulled and is a direct daughter of Legacy the King's Cup winner when he was mated to a dark pied hen winner of 1st Open LSECC Tarbes only bird on the day. Les would like to thank Mark for all the good birds he has let Les have as they have really "knocked" with Les's old family. He would also like to thank all the fanciers who have phoned to congratulate him on his section win.

In second east section 25th Open is a three year old widowhood cock racing to the father and son partnership of D Heywood & son of Laindon. The Heywoods are no strangers to success at the highest level having won at National level with both the BICC and NFC. Their timer here carries the bloodlines of most of their National winners as his sire is Tours Lad winner of 1st Open BICC and LSECC from Tours whilst his dam is from John Joe which is the sire of three National winners. The cock clocked has five top 100 finishes at National and Classic level including 5th Open BICC.
The Chadwell St Mary partnership of D Wilton & son come in for 3rd East section 37th Open .The Wilton's clocked a 3 yr old widowhood cock, Jan Aarden Invincible Spirit lines. Sire was 5th Open London North Road Combine Lerwick and is the sire of the partners Arbroath London NR Combine winner in 2013. He was sent to Poitiers in prepariaion for the NFC Tarbes race in few weeks time having been the partners' 2nd pigeon from NFC Tarbes in 2013

I cannot finish this report without mentioning the terrific performance put up by a pigeon racing the 578 miles to the Houghton le Spring loft of John Rumney. John clocked the same cock that 8th sect 79th Open Alencon a month ago flying 449 miles with the last 200 or so miles flown single up. What is even more amazing is the fact that this was his first ever race. In the Poitiers race [his second] the two year old looks to finish at 4th section 69th Open and again covering the last 200 mile leg of the 578 mile slog on his own. I've spoken to John and a full loft report on the methods he employs will appear shortly. It should be well worth reading.
There you go then. Another race over and by all accounts a bit of a "tester" with the pigeons having no help from the wind over the course of the race. As the old saying goes "when the going gets tough - the tough get going". The International races are looming on the horizon. Good luck to all who send and lets hope we can get another International race winner amongst our ranks.

Gareth Watkins

Stuart-&-Gareth-Treharne-1st Open BICC-Falaise & 1st Open Poitiers-2014


Ron Scammell and Paul Peploe with Dellan Scammell. 2nd Open BICC Tours and 2nd Open BICC Poitiers 2014

Keith Haines 3rd Open BICC Poitiers & 6th Open Tours 2014

Preece Brothers & sons 4th Open Poitiers

Steve & Lee Luscombe 1st BICC Falaise & 3rd Open BICC Alencon 2013 plus 10th Open Falaise & 5th Open Poitiers 2014

Mervyn Grey of the Wyatt & Grey partnership 6th Open BICC Poitiers


Paul Ayling 1st centre section 8th Open BICC Poitiersimage

75_Mark Gilbert 10th Open BICC Poitiers

Chris Preece with Ben 1st NW section BICC Poitiers for Chris Preece

Jamie Mitchell 1st North Central section BICC Poitiersphoto

John Rumney 3rd North section BICC Alencon 2013 and the furthest flying pigeon on the result

Les Hawkins with grand daughter Meg 1st East section BICC Poitiers