BICC PAU INTERNATIONAL RACE REPORT.
The first International race of the season, once again generously sponsored by the House of Aarden, took place on Friday 20th June when the 379 pigeons entered by 117 British fanciers were liberated at 6.45am CEST along with 8,473 pigeons from the best lofts in Europe.
[I SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR HERE THAT THE BICC RACE ADVISOR IS NOT CONSULTED OVER INTERNATIONAL RACE LIBERATIONS].
Unlike the other races in the International race programme ,the Pau International has a limit on the number of pigeons that each fancier can enter, thus giving the fancier with more modest means the opportunity to compete on an almost level playing field so to speak.
The breakdown of the birdage can be seen in the table set out below.
STOWMARKET 3 / 4 *
ASH 29 / 112 *
BATH 12 / 52
GWENT 9 / 22 *
S/OCKENDEN 12 / 24 *
CHESTFIELD I'NATIONAL 47 / 145 *
NORTHAMPTON 5 / 20
TOTAL 117 / 379
Pau (French pronunciation: [po]) is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département in Aquitaine, France. It was also the capital of the historical Béarn Province. It forms the communauté d'agglomération of Pau-Pyrénées with 13 neighbouring communes to carry out local tasks together.
The Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, founded in 1972, accounts for a large student population. TheBoulevard des Pyrénées extends for 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles) from the Château de Pau to the Parc Beaumont, with views of the mountains. Alphonse de Lamartine said: "Pau has the world's most beautiful view of the earth just as Naples has the most beautiful view of the sea."
Pau is 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 km (31 miles) from the Pyrenees. Spain is 50 km (31 mi) away as the crow flies. The frontier is crossed by the col du Somport (1,631 metres (5,351 feet)) and the col du Pourtalet (1,794 m (5,886 ft)). Access to the crossings partly accounts for Pau's strategic importance. The city stands on a 200m elevation overlooking the valley of a mountain river called the Gave de Pau, where a ford gave passage to the Pyrenees. The Gave, which becomes a torrent when mountain snow melts, begins in the Cirque de Gavarnie. It is the principal tributuary of the Adour after 175 km (109 mi). The crossing was used for pasturage for sheep in the high meadows. The old route is now a hiking path, GR 65, that runs 60 km (37 mi) south to the border.
The other rivers of the region are the Luy de Béarn, a tributary of the Luy; the Ousse and the Ousse des Bois, which flow into the Gave de Pau; and the Uzan, which joins the Luy de Béarn.
Pau is located 200 km (124 mi) west of Toulouse, 30 km (19 mi) from Tarbes and Lourdes, 25 km (16 mi) from Oloron.
The weather on the day of liberation could not have been better with clear blue skies, excellent visibility and just a light breeze blowing from the east, north east. As the convoy made its way up the west coast of France the wind was forecast to take on a more north easterly influence so it was certainly not a day for the faint hearted.
Pigeons began to be clocked in Northern France in the early evening and seemed to be concentrated on a line north of Paris spreading east from Abbeville in the west through Amiens to St Quentin to the north of Reims in the east. Then suddenly, up popped two birds flying against the wind into south west Germany and these proved to be the eventual 1st & 2nd Open International winners.
With the easterly influence in the wind throughout the course of the race and over the English Channel, where it was forecast to be force 4- 5, it was hoped that we would get another International winner into the UK before nightfall on the first day.
This was not to be however, as although the early second day timings indicate that there were pigeons in England on the day, none managed to make it to their home lofts. First to clock on the second morning at 5.19 am recording a velocity of 994 ypm, was the legend that is Mark Gilbert. Mark clocked nine pigeons to feature on the result with 1st 3rd & 4th Centre section and 1st,12th,13th, 41st, 49th, 70th, 84th & 102nd Open. The winning pigeon is a dark chequer hen and her breeding shows that the sire is from Rutz & Shone "Pau 06" International winner from Pau 2006, and the dam is one of the best breeding hens at Southfields. She is responsible for 3rd International Pau, 3rd National Barcelona, 7th National Tarbes and now 1st National Pau. She is an Emiel Deweerdt pigeon and is a full sister to "Ivan" who was clocked to be 4 times in the top 50 International. Ivan's sister "Joan" was 11th International Barcelona. The hen must have flown for 16 hours on the first day and was not very far from her home loft on the day due to the early morning arrival at 5.19 am. In the build up to the Pau race she had been to three inland races and three channel races in as many weeks and was given three weeks resy from racing with just loft exercise in preparation for the Pau international. All being well she is earmarked for St Vincent as well as Perpignan in a few weeks time.
She is raced on the roundabout system where both cocks and hens are raced and was allowed to spend the night with her partner before basketing for Pau. She was paired on the 10th February and reared two youngsters but not allowed to go to nest again.
A terrific performance yet again one which shows the enduring properties of the Deweerdt pigeons and their amazing ability to cross well with other top class families to continually produce superb long distance racers.
A comprehensive loft report on Mark can be found on the BICC web site.
In the bridesmaid's position of 2nd Open but topping the West section vel 989 ypm was one to the highly successful High Littleton loft of Brooks Brothers. Rob Brooks clocked a six year old widowhood cock called Mendip Magic .The bird was timed at 5.26am so had to be one of the few birds in England on the day of release. It was mated in February and reared two young birds prior to racing. It's breeding is ¾ Brooks Bros, famous for strong long distance birds, such as Knocker 1st Classic Pau and the Chuckle Bros, multi National prize winning pigeons. The other ¼ is from good friends Geoff and Catherine Cooper, a hen Geoff gifted Rob a couple of years ago bred the Dam. This hen also bred the Dam of Rob's 5th National FC Tarbes winner.
Rob also clocked a second pigeon which will be well up in the BICC result, this is a full brother to Mendip Magic. Pau International was the main aim for these two birds all winter. They both flew Falaise, Alencon and Tours with the BICC. They took 10 ½ and 9 ½ hours from Tours, then three weeks off and into Pau.
Mendip Magic has been a very consistent racer for Rob, winning 210th National FC Tarbes, 36th Classic Tarbes and 222nd National FC Tarbes, all over 560 miles and also 76th Carentan BICC, 27th Tours BICC and 110th Alencon BICC. In 2011 he was timed in every National Flying Club old bird race.
The last couple of weeks have been very hard for Rob, with his mother Jean in hospital with a serious infection after a hip operation. Jean, was not only married to Rob's dad Trotsky, a life long pigeon fancier, she is also the daughter of a pigeon fancier, so Rob rang her early Saturday morning to tell her the good news. He said she was so excited and pleased she must have woken up the whole ward !!! It was just the tonic she needed. He was very pleased with the condition of the birds when they arrived home, Mendip Magic was still bouncing around in his box when his photo was being taken later that afternoon!
Rob has asked me to congratulate Mark Gilbert on another top performance. Well done Rob and hard luck on coming so close and here's hoping that your Mum recovers fully and in a very short time.
I should also point out that Rob clocked the second of his two entries and full brother to his first timer to take 26th Open. Not bad eh?
Derek and Jackie Reis of Colchester come in next at 1st East section 3rd Open vel888ypm.
Their pigeon is a three year old widowhood cock bred from a pair purchased direct from the British Barcelona Stud in 2010, He has previous channel performances of 2nd open East of England Continental Club Canappeville and 2nd in the local club the Colchester Inv in this year's BICC Tours race after which he was rested prior to being sent to Pau.
The Reises have raced pigeons for many more years than they care to remember mainly sprint/middle distance with their well known and very successful Janssen family. Having retired in 2009, Derek and Jackie decided to build a team to compete in the International races with this Pau race being their first serious attempt.
They would like to thank all those who have offered their congratulations on their bird's performance as it's very much appreciated.
Taking 2nd east section and 4th Open is one to a young 15 year old fancier from Whitstable in Kent none other than Richie Lee Dawes and this is what a delighted Richie Lee had to tell me:-
" Hi I'm 15 years old and I've had pigeons for 3 years and been racing pigeons for 2 years. The only club I'm in is the BICC. My mum trains my pigeons to 50 miles then they go with the Wingham trainer every Wednesday. They are given an open loft and are flown on the natural system.
The pigeon GB-12-H-12427 (Benny) is a 2 year old red grizzle cock Jan Arden/Van Geel . The parents were on loan to me from M.Dunn & Daughters which come from John Lane's pigeons who are both friends of mine from Whitstable. As a youngster he was only trained to 40 miles. In 2013 he flew Alencon twice and Tours with the BICC and was timed in all 3 races. So far this season he has flown Falaise, Alencon and of course Pau with the BICC once again timing in all 3 races. He is paired to a Corbett Busschaert hen from J Water of Hull.
When I'm not racing the pigeons I'm either playing Drums in a band or playing with my German Shepherd pup." Well done Richie -Lee I hope this success is one of many more to come in the future.
We then move back over to the west side of the country for 2nd West section 5th Open to the fantastically successful loft of Preece Brothers and sons of Cwmtillery in the Welsh Valleys. The partnership consists of brothers Henry and Colin aided and abetted by Colin's two sons John and Leigh. This is what John had to say about their latest success:-
"THE HEN WE TIMED TODAY WAS A FOUR YEAR OLD ROUNDABOUT HEN CALLED GWASTED BRIANS GIRL. IT IS THE SAME HEN WE TIMED LAST YEAR FROM BICC PAU AND BICC ST VINCENT WHEN SHE WAS 3RD BICC ST VINCENT.
SHE IS A DIRECT DAUGHTER OF OUR GOLD CUP WINNER GWASTED BENONI , 1ST WELSH SR NATIONAL BERGERAC COCK BEING THE ONLY BIRD HOME ON THE DAY IN THE NATIONAL; HE IS A PODEROSA MULLER AARDEN CROSSED WITH A COCK WE BORROWED OFF ALAN MAULL BEING A KO NIPIUS JAN ARDEN.
THE DAM WAS LOANED TO US BY OUR GOOD FRIENDS B,W+,P HYATT , SHE WAS A TOP RACER FOR THE HYATT FAMILY WINNING 4TH C S CLASSIC FROM PAU, SHE CONTAINS THE BLOOD OF PADFIELD FAMILY AND K HINE.
THIS YEAR OUR HEN HAD THREE SHORT RACES THEN ALL THE BICC RACES TO DATE . IN HER LAST RACE FROM TOURS SHE HAD 10 HOURS ON THE WING WHICH PUT HER PERFECT FOR PAU. SHE LANDED FRESH AS A DAISY.
SHE HAS HAD TWO TOSSES AT THE START OF THE SEASON AND HAS EXERCISED 1 HOUR MORNING AND NIGHT WITH THE REST OF THE HENS. FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS SHE HAS BEEN BOXED UP AS SHE IS THE WRONKIEST HEN WE HAVE AND IF LEFT WILL DRAG ALL THE HENS INTO THE BALLS WHICH WE KEEP ON THE FLOOR SUPPOSEDLY TO STOP THEM PAIRING ,BUT NOT HER. "
Next we have a pigeon to Robert Harris of Ramsgate taking 3rd East section 6th Open vel841 ypm. There's quite some story to this pigeon. I'll let Robert relate the story in his own words:-
"The winning pigeon for me is a 3year old hen raced on the natural system and sent sitting eggs for 4 days. This hen was unraced as a baby because she was lost off the loft one Saturday morning when I let the youngsters out forgetting that the Scottish National was liberated from Ypres a little time before! She was reported in Edinburgh later that same evening to my surprise. Bearing in mind the fact that I hadn't trained my youngsters yet! the chap that had her in wanted to keep her so I said ok. He then gave her 2 x 10 mile training tosses after which she returned to him. When she was let out next time she was off back here! I was on holiday in Ibiza when my good friend Mark Cowell who was looking after my birds phoned me and said he let a pigeon in and when checking the ring number with me it was this hen that had flown single up from Edinburgh as an untrained youngster! The breeding of this hen contains the bloodlines of the Gebroeder Bruggeman and their famous pigeon Orhan, and the bloodlines of Piet Lazerooms,. This season my hen has had 3 inland races with the Kent Cosmopolitan Fed up to 136 miles and was sent in preparation for Pau to BICC Alencon, and the BICC Tours. She also flew the Pau international last season . She returned in fantastic condition as if she hadnt been anywhere. I'm over the moon with clocking from Pau, as I have had a run of bad luck with my van engine blowing up on me when returning from training the birds, then a fox getting into my stock loft and killing 18 stock birds and also taking 9 youngsters from the nest. However, in the last couple of weeks my luck has changed as I was 1st Kent Cosmopolitan Fed, 1st Kent Combine from Le Mans with the same bloodlines as this hen I timed from Pau so hopefully my luck is on the up! I am now looking forward to the Barcelona International where I will be sending 3 .I just hope my luck continues! I would like to congratulate everybody that has timed in as it ended up a difficult race". Well done Robbie but you forgot to mention that you also won 2nd Open BICC 8th Hens International 78th Open International Pau in 2011 and followed this up with 5th Open BICC Pau International in 2012 clocking on the day.
In fourth East section 7th Open is one to the outstanding father and son partnership of Kevin and Lee Buddle of Dover. Kevin and Lee have an excellent record in International races with the BICC and this is what Lee had to tell me about their latest success:-
"Our first bird on the clock sitting 4th ES, 7th Open is a 2010 Mealy Hen we call "Saffron" she as all of our cocks and hens is raced on 100% widowhood. Her daily exercise during the race season is 30 mins around the loft in the morning and 45 mins in the evening, but during these exercise time we are lucky if we can get our hens to fly much more than 10 mins and we never force our birds to fly as we want them to have a 'Love for Home'. She has been a performer within the BICC International races before having previously won:- 24th BICC Agen Int 484 miles 2013 and 26th open BICC Perpignan Int 579 miles 2013. She as all of our race team are fed on versele-laga superstar plus with a little versele-laga best all rounder add to give it a bit more 'strength', also a daily pinch of hemp and sunflower is given to all birds after their feed. "Saffron's" breeding is as follows:- SIRE is a grandson of both of Jim Peters BICC Barcelona winners "Lacoste" & "The Barcelona", The DAM is a daughter of our "BC" who won 2nd BICC Pau Int 2009, beaten by his loft mate "Amoy" & "Eve" who was a super racing hen of M G Mitchell who won amongst many prizes 1st BICC Perpignan Int 2009. In preparation for Pau Int "Saffron" was raced from Bedhampton 101miles on 10th May, EECC Canappeville 136 miles on 17th May, EECC Saran 220 miles on 24th May & EECC Pithivers 209 miles on 7th June. No training was given to them after this.
Our 2nd bird on the clock is a very good 2010 widowhood cock we call "Tom" and he is Prov 8th ES 15th Open Pau. His previous BICC International performances are:- 5th Open BICC St Vincent Int 531 miles 2013 & 30th Open BICC Pau Int 2013 clocked on the day of lib. "Tom" is a direct son of a super pair of race birds of ours "Amoy" 1st Open BICC Pau 2009 & "BC" 2nd Open BICC Pau 2009, these two birds "Amoy" and "BC" were the only two birds home into the UK on the day of liberation from BICC Pau 2009.
Our 3rd bird on the clock is a 2008 cock called "Spitfire" and he is Prov 9th ES 17th Open Pau. he is a previous winner of 4th open BICC Bordeaux/Agen 481 miles 2012, 15th Open BICC Perpignan Int 579 miles 2013 & 36th BICC Agen 484 miles 2013." Another excellent team performance from the Buddle's pigeons with five pigeons in the first 112 of the result.
Mark Bulled of Harlow comes in with one of his old reliable King's Cup winning Westcott family for 5th East section 8th Open. Mark's timer is a Grand daughter of his good hen Sergeant Cecil which was a winner of 1st LSECC Tarbes. She is also closely related to Legacy 1st NFC and King's Cup Tarbes.
Sent sitting 5 days at basketing, having previously flown Alencon and Tours with the BICC this season.
Another Dover based father and son partnership come in at 6th East section 9th Open that of Neil and Philip Coleman who are previous winners of the BICC in 2012.
Philip has this to say about the partners leading pigeon:-
"Our single entry is a 3 year old blue w/f natural cock sent sitting on 6 day old eggs. He has had five races in the build up to Pau. 3 Inland races up to 150 miles, BICC Alencon where he took 7 hours 27 minutes, finishing 1,384th open 233rd ES and BICC TOURS finishing in 9 hours 8 minutes 622nd open 137th ES.
The naturals are paired up around the 14th Feb. The pigeon was bred off a pair we picked out from the late Brian Williams loft. The feed is GEM best all round with some peanuts added two weeks before the race.
The Padfield Family of the small former mining village of Cwmtillery
timed a multiple prize winner to their loft no more than 300 yards from the loft of the Preeces and there has always been a keen rivalry between the two sets of fanciers. In this race Vince and brother Dave clocked a 5 year old cock that has the following National positions to his credit:-
As a 3year old in 2012 he was 5th Open Welsh South Road National Tarbes also taking 26th Sect 205th Open NFC Tarbes 607 miles.
He had previously won as a 2 year old 76th Open CSCFC Tarbes Also 1 month later AGEN BICC International 4th Open 1st West Sect in a very strong West wind. His breeding is as follows.
His father is Brian Leadbeater No 1 Cock the Favourite when paired back to a daughter of the immortal "48" - 5 times in first ten in Midland Nationals.
This hen always stocks a full sister to VINCE 1st PAU WSRN 2000 Gold cup winner.Her sire 8th WELSH SRN FC Pau and Dam responsible for 4th WSRN Pau. This year the cock had a few inland races and then Carentan with the NFC followed by Tours with BICC then into Pau. All birds at the Padfields are raced on the roundabout system. A full loft report on Vince and Dave's methods can be found on the BICC web site.
Calum Edmiston of Horley enjoyed another good team performance clocking three good pigeons early on the second morning. The first of these looks good enough for 2nd Centre section 11th Open vel 821.00 in a very close finish with N & P Coleman on 821.45 and the Padfields on 821.3 ypm.
This is what Calum had to tell me about his birds and methods:-
"I timed my two year old red hen at 08.08.She is of mainly Van der Wegen breeding. Last year she was 4th BICC Agen as a yearling. This year she had a Blandford and three channel races out to 250 miles. She was feeding a three day old baby on basketting being a natural hen. Fed a rich mix prior to basketing she has not been treated for anything other than the PMV injection. I breed 30 babies each year and just put them straight into club inland and channel races without training to suit. Birds fly out once a day and I normally house 24-28 race birds with half always being yearlings. No darkness and no early breeding. At time of writing I had timed three birds."
Calum's other three pigeons look good enough for 42nd,57th &80th Open, so another good team performance for the Edmiston loft.
Simon Knowles of Wingham in Kent is in with one for 14th Open and good friends Lee and Kevin Buddle clock their second for 15th Open as stated earlier.
Club Chairman and dedicated BICC International competitor Albi Deacon timed a little black chequer cock, one of his old Southwell family, to take 5th Centre section 16th Open. This was the cock's third time at Pau with a 25th Open in 2013 clocked on the day, already to his credit. He is bred in the purple as his Sire is none other than Millenium Supremo winner of 1st Open NFC Pau for Albi's cousin Ernie Deacon. Albi clocked two others to appear on the result at 73rd & 87th Open in one of the hardest Pau International races for many years.
The Buddles come in for 17th Open with their third timer and another father and son partnership from the Dover area, Geoff and Clayton Preece come in at 18th Open with a German ringed pigeon- the brilliant long distance racer Jack Jones. This is what Geoff Preece had to tell me about Jack Jones following his 4th place finish in the 2013 Perpignan International race:-
'Jack Jones' has flown in races across the sea on 36 occasions from race points located on the western side of France (the Atlantic) and the eastern side (the Mediterranean) including 9 International races. This pigeon has won many positions including 1st Open BICC National Perpignan in 2010. In that race he became the first ever recorded Perpignan day bird in the UK; having crossed the sea from France to England late in the evening. To date his winnings are approximately £3000.
He was bred by Stoffel-Gr.Ophoff of Dorsten, Germany- ring number and was purchased as a 4 week old baby. He is a very honest pigeon who always gives of his best from this small loft".
Darran MCFadden who was the runner up in the 2013 Pau International race comes in next at 19th,22nd &50th Open and this is what Darran had to say about the race and his timers:
"Here are the details of my first two birds yesterday.
Gb10n87365 blue cheq cock clocked at 8.46 and my pool pigeon! He was flown widowhood and before going to Pau had a Falaise, Alencon, Carentan and Tours in his preparation!
His sire is from Megan's lad who is the father and grandfather of a lot of my best performing Pau/Tarbes pigeons! He was clocked on the day of lib from the Pau NFC in 2005 for 12th sect, 70th Open.
65's mother is a full sister to:
Snow Prince 1st sect, 4th open Tarbes NFC
Snow Duke 3rd sect, 14th open Tarbes NFC
DarkPprince 5th sect, 11th open BICC Pau, 243rd open international Pau.
65 has always been a reliable pigeon and some of his highlights have been:
3rd sect, 75th open NFC Saintes
17th sect, 237th open NFC Saintes
20th sect, 217th open NFC Tarbes
My second arrival
Gb10n87367 mealy cock clocked at 8.54. He was also flown widowhood and before going to Pau had the same 4 prep races as 65! This was his first time at Pau as I have never sent him past Bergerac!
67 is a half brother to Pau princess who last year scored 1st sect, 2nd open BICC, 2nd open international hens, 2nd open international Pau 8500+ birds. Both of these birds being bred from my good Van Berkel Pau cock that my dad bought from Keith Edwards when we started in the sport.
The mother of 67 is Arthur's expected my good mealy Bergerac hen. She was bred through a hen I got from Arthur and Paul Bridgewater of Godalming through their good Busschaert pigeons that Arthur and Paul had cultivated over many years!
67 again has been a real worker and highlights for him have been:
95th open BICC international Agen last year
12th section NFC Fugeres
2nd club Cholet
3rd club 5th fed Cholet
5th sect, 96th open NFC Saintes.
I also clocked a cheq hen at 10.50 out of Megan's boy, a son of Megan's lad and a London and southeast classic club merit award winner.
I have 4 out of 5 back and all look in wonderful condition!
Mark Gilbert tops off the first twenty in the Open result with his fourth bird in the clock.
Next I'll move on to the section prize winners.
The east and west section top three have been covered in the first ten Open positions.
At the time of writing this report there are only two birds recorded in the North Central section both to the Chipping Camden loft of Gavin Duggan recording 718 and 606 ypm for 1st & 2nd section and 51st and 103rd Open. This is what Gavin had to say about his latest section win with the BICC in 2014:-
"My first pigeon is a 3year old blue chequer cock which I bought through a charity auction and would like to thank Willie Donaghie of Scotland who bred him. Unfortunately, I don't have any details of breeding. He was sent sitting eggs. My second pigeon is also a 3year old blue chequer hen and her breeding is "Camden Van Aarden". She has flown well for me in club racing at Evesham DFC and I would like to thank all that have helped out at the marking for BICC races this year so far. They know who they are and it would be impossible to run the marking station without their help."
There are no birds recorded in either of the North West or North East sections as I complete this report. Should any be clocked in race time after this report goes to press then I will do my best, assuming I get the cooperation of the fanciers concerned, to highlight their performances in the next race report.
Good luck to all who send to Agen and don't forget that each International race winner will be presented with a late bred, valued at £250- £450, reared from one of the principal stock cocks at stud at the House of Aarden. Fill your boots!!
MArk-Gilbert-1st Open BICC-Pau-
1st Open BICC Pau forM-Gilbert
MendipMagic 2nd Open BICC Pau for Brooks Brothers
Rob Brooks with 2nd Open BICC Pau
Derek Reis 1st east section 3rd Open BICC Pau
Richie Lee Dawes 2nd section 4th Open Pau
Preece Brothers & sons 4th Open Poitiers & 5th Open Pau
Robert Harris with son Alfie 3rd sect 6th Open BICC Pau
Mark Bulled 1st east section BICC Alencon & 8th Open Pau International 2014 pictured with his two daughters Abbie and Charlotte
Neil & Philip Coleman 9th Open BICC Pau
Dave and Vince Padfield 10th Open BICC Pau
Calum Edmiston 2nd,4th &7th Open BICC Agen International2013 and 11th Open Pau International 2014
Gavin Duggan with 1st & 2nd NC section Pau International
Kevin and Lee with twom of their Pau International timers