The Le Mans race at approximately 300 miles is the ideal race to blood yearlings in preparation for the more serious work of International racing as two year olds. The 2014 Le Mans race attracted a total of 1,936 entrants with the vast majority being entered by members in the Centre and East sections.
The table below gives a breakdown of the entry.

NORWICH 12 / 78 *
EVESHAM 9 /64 *
HORNDEAN 16/ 86 *
ASH 39/ 371 *
BROMLEY 14/125 *
LOWESTOFT 7 / 36 *
IPSWICH 3 / 14 *
DISS 3 / 33 *
BATH 8 / 39 *
GWENT 18 / 112 *
BRIGHTON 21/ 115 *
S/OCKENDEN 37 / 500 *
TOTAL 245 /1936

After a two day holdover due to storms and heavy rain in Northern France, the English Channel and south East England, the convoy was eventually liberated on Monday morning 21st July and the following is Steve Appleby's weather report:-
Weather report
A busy weekend for the race team dealing with the storms which had now thankfully moved away over night eastwards into the continent. Monday presented us with a much better day for racing with no rain on the flight path. From the time of liberation the convoy raced under almost clear blue skies until till they reached the most northerly regions of France where more cloud was evident. Conditions over the channel were excellent mainly clear blue skies and little cloud. Overall winds were from the north west lighter over land but as usual fresher over the open sea reaching force 3 occasional force 4. (10 to 18 mph) These winds veered to more northerly direction (see wind map) as the pigeons approached the south coast of England and obviously slowed down velocities. Visibility in the channel as far as the eye could see all due to the high quality air coming from the Atlantic Ocean. I updated race controller John Tyreman with these weather developments which resulted in a liberation at 06:45.

And here is President and Race Advisor ,John Tyerman's preliminary report of the long weekend's work:-
The 1,936 BICC Le Mans National pigeons were liberated at 06-45am this morning into blue skies and sunshine. They cleared well into a light NW wind and the weather en-route to UK is mainly fine with a clear channel and winds shown as around force 4/5 NW.
I am very grateful to the invaluable assistance provided by our weather expert Steve Appleby over a difficult weekend.
Also bearing in mind many members work commitments, I have discussed with our Chairman Albi Deacon, the one hour 'verification process' and we feel a 'common sense' approach needs to be taken, so members are asked to phone in their arrival times as soon as possible, but no one will be disqualified if out of the time. This relaxation of the rule is only applicable to the Le Mans race but it may affect the initial result posted on the website."
John Tyerman
Race Advisor.

The race winner, unsurprisingly given the wind direction, proved to be in the East section at the Rochford, Essex loft of John Hemmings. This one recorded 1151 ypm over the near 300 mile course. The following is the story surrounding the National winning hen as related to Chris Sutton:-
John had begun the season racing natural but lost some of his cocks after a few bad races, so he held an imbalance of hens in his lofts. The decision was then taken to race the hens celibate. As a motivational trick, John allowed some older stock cocks to parade around in the corridor of the loft in front of the hens' section and it was in this condition that he sent the eventual Le Mans winning hen.
Being a July late bred from 2013, and wearing an old ring from the year before, she had been trained all through the winter and is still carrying nest flights. However, with it being late in the old bird season, she was now more than ready to pair to one of the cocks and suitably motivated to return home as fast as possible.
She is a slightly built blue hen of Soontjen bloodlines, which John obtained from a local ace called John Buckfield. One year John had lost all his young birds and Mr. Buckfield offered him the loan of five pairs to set himself up and they won for him right from the start. The Le Mans winner's father was second in a hard open race from Narbonne and her mother has also won from Bergerac. So channel winning pigeons make up the parentage of this little late-bred hen and now she has won the British International Championship Club.
Congratulations John on your win and I hope your Mum gets better soon. My thanks also to Chris Sutton for the photos of John and his winning pigeon and for the information provided.

The Chadwell St Mary father and son partnership of D Wilton & son fill the Runner Up spot on 1145ypm. The partners' PIGEON IS A BLUE CHEQUER YEARLING COCK RACED ON THE WIDOWHOOD SYSTEM, HAVING HIS 4TH CHANNEL RACE OF THE SEASON.

Past BICC winner Roger Lowe of Reading clocked a good 'un on 1137ypm to top the Centre section and take 3rd Open. This is what Roger had to say:- "I clocked a yearling widowhood cock having his fourth channel race of the season and already a winner of 1st club 5th Fed 1,581birds from Carentan. He is a pure Freddy Vandenheede, bred from two directs. His sire is "New Kid on the Block" grand son of Trigger Finger winner of 3x 1st National. His dam is grand daughter of Limoges the best breeding cock of De Raw Sablon blood .Having 10 home on the day from the 16 sent and 3 the next morning after a two day hold over it didn't turn out too bad!! Well done to the convoyer". And I assume you would want to include the race advisor and weatherman in your congratulations Roger? .

J & J Brady of Benfleet in Essex are regulars on BICC race results and here at Le Mans they come in with one for 3rd East section 4th Open vel11118 ypm. Their yearling Pencil Blue Cock has the right pedigree for this type of race. On the Sires side is a direct Jos Thone paired to a Hen purchased off the late Kenny Hine from his Eric Cannon pigeons. The Dam is the Brady's "Apache Dawn" their 2011 BICC Old Hen National winner. The Cock was having his second Channel race this year having flown Fougeres two weeks previous. The Bradys have been trying a new celibate widowhood system this year which has started to produce dividends, they are now looking forward to racing their old Hens, who like this Cock and the young birds should start coming into form this coming month.

The Swanley, Kent partnership of Joe Clark & son got one on 112.9 ypm for 4th East section 5th Open This is a two year old hen flown on a form of semi widowhood. She was bred by Steve and Robert Fenech and contains Cooreman and Sapin bloodlines. This is far from the first of the hen's racing performances as she topped the Fed from Exeter as a youngster and followed this up with 1st Club 8th Combine from Messac. This year she has had all of the shorter BICC Channel races plus two Channel races with the club. A bit of an animal you've got there Joe!

Bryan Dowsett of Eastbourne clocked a yearling hen on 1112.6 ypm for 5th East section 6th Open. Bryan's yearling hen was having her first taste of "salt water" having previously only been raced inland. She is of Peter Van der Merwe x Marika Vink bloodlines and was sent on chipping eggs - which seems to have done the trick as a motivator.

Vic Shaw & Son of Harlow in Essex come in next with one recording 1112.3 ypm for 6th East section 7th Open. Vic and helper, grandson Andrew clocked a two year old widowhood cock. The sire of the cock was a gift to Andrew from Daniel Pirez in Belgium and is a grandson of Daniel's National winner. The dam is a Soontjen purchased at the late Brian Baxter sale. Vic's timer has been across the briney a couple of times this season and was given a week's rest from racing prior to Le Mans being allowed with his hen the day before basketting.

The winners in the West section and taking 8th Open vel 1109 ypm was the Nantyglo partnership of Gareth and son Stuart Treharne. The Treharnes have enjoyed an amazing season with the BICC already having won 2 x 1st Open from Falaise and Poitiers when the wind was in their favour. However, in this Le Mans race the Treharne pigeons had to battle against a north west wind and yet their first in the clock was still good enough for 8th Open with the seven birds beating it in the Open result racing to lofts more than 100 miles to the east. This is what Stuart had to tell me of their latest success:-
"Gareth, Firstly we would both like to pass on our congratulations to J Hemmings the winner of the race . I have included the details of the first three birds as I think we have the first four in the section with our other birds doing more than 1000 ypm.
First bird is a yearling blue white flight hen some may call her pied as she has white ticks around her head. She was a third round natural youngster and just had two 76 mile races as a youngster. She has not been paired up this year and was one of the spare hens I had in with the roundabout hens, as I had more hens than cocks. She has raced steadily and has had a few channel races. She is generally flying to her perch and hasn't shown any interest in either hens in the section or cocks when she gets home from a race. She is a half sister to the BICC Falaise winner being bred from the same dam which is a direct Eijerkamp out of Jonge Polly. The hen's sire is a fairly new introduction and is bred directly out of Abel who is one of Eijerkamps best stock birds when he was paired to Carly also a big winner at Eijerkamps.
Our second bird was also a half brother of the BICC Falaise winner but is bred out of the same sire - a direct Eijerkamp out of Hamburg and Lady Martine. The dam is a direct Eijerkamp being a grandaughter of both don Leo and Fabio .
Our third bird is a full sister of the hen that topped the section in NFC Messac earlier this season, being out of two direct Eijerkamps , a son of Kain and an inbred granddaughter of Miss Saigon. We sent all yearlings bar one three year old . All birds returned in good condition we are two missing from 16 and ironically one of the missing birds is the three year old."

In second spot in the Centre section and taking 9th Open vel 1109 ypm, is a pigeon to the lofts of John and Bradley Donovan and P J McHugh. After phoning the partners four times on the number provided in the members list and leaving messages on the answer phone I was unable to gain any information on their pigeon. John Donovan did email me to say that he would forward the info' but unfortunately at the time of going to press I have received nothing.

David Coward Talbott of Chelmsford maintains his excellent record in BICC Le Mans races with one on 1107 ypm for 7th East section 10th Open. David's timer was bred by Lee Fribbins from two direct Brian Hawes Leo Van Rijns Sire GB09J63385 Rossi x More Than, Dam GB09J16507 Snowman x Zanta . David and Lee have a stock section of Van Rijns both from Brian Hawes and Direct from Van Rijn himself . This race last year David was 2nd Open with another Van Rijn from the same family of pigeons . These lines of pigeons have been very successful for David and Lee . This cock was also first pigeon to David s loft on the last BICC race he competed in .

Next let's move around the sections.
The east section has been covered in the list of top ten Open prize winners as have the top two in the Centre section.
Third Centre section goes to Jeff Poole of Kings Langley who timed a yearling hen on 1093 ypm. Jeff's timer is bred from two Koopmans, purchased from Premier Lofts at Blackpool show. She was paired up for the Poitiers club race on 29th June where she was 2nd club , beaten by a loft mate who won 1st Combine and 14th UBI combine. She was sent to Le mans sitting eggs and had to be lifted off the eggs as she sat very tight. Jeff says that she is a small apple bodied pigeon, that sits very well in the hand.

Over in the west section the "all conquering Treharnes of Nantyglo" look to have recorded a clean sweep of the top three prizes.

The North East section winner can be found at the lofts of father and son partnership Eddie & Clayton Oxborough of Great Yarmouth recording 1101 ypm. The section winner is a 2 year old smokey blue hen of 3/4 The Boss Busscheart x 1/4 Soontjen Tanner lines. She is raced on the round about system and has been a very consistent bird in club & channel races and was in excellent condition on return. In the build up to Le Mans she was fed on Superstar plus and Energy plus with Naturaline in the water.
This is the partnerships 6th national section win and Eddie and Clayton would like to thank all the club secretaries of local clubs for all their hard work and all the people who congratulated them on their latest section win, not forgetting brother Craig for all his support and help.
The hen is now being called Plumbase due to the fact that they were on the phone to the company at the time - missing her land .

A & T Wright of Poringland come in with one on 1058 ypm for 2nd NE section. Once again, despite several attempts to contact the partners I was unable to obtain any information on their pigeon. .

D Osborne & son of Ipswich round off the NE section top three with a bird on 1032 ypm. This is a 2yr old Janssen xWal Zoontjen hen raced on the roundabout system and this was her 5th channel race of the season. The hen had previously won a couple of minor cards over the water and the previous week she went to Canappeville with the local championship club and this must have put her in the right condition for Le Mans. This year has been a fairly good year for the Osbornes with 2x1st club plus 1st open NSRCC open Canappeville the previous week. At the time of writing this they have 6 out of 7 safely home.

The North West section was one for the second time this season by a pigeon racing to the Rushwick loft of John Rodway. John clocked a three year old natural hen sent sitting 14 days to record a velocity of 949 ypm. The hen has had Falaise, Tours and Poitiers with the BICC already this season and at Poitiers was out for two weeks. Judging by her section winning performance at Le Mans it certainly didn't harm her. She is of John's old distance family and like all the birds at the Rodway loft is fed a high cereal[ carbohydrate] diet with very little protein. John has asked me to give a special thank you to the convoyers on the excellent condition of the birds when they returned. This comment was mirrored in a number of cases from different fanciers who entered birds. So take a bow Trevor Cracknell and team.

Second North west section goes to Booth & Roper of Tewkesbury with a bird on 878 ypm. The partners clocked a five year old hen flown on the widowhood system to record 878 ypm in this her fifth channel race of the season. Her dam is a French stray whilst the sire originates from Louella Pouwe Bros pigeons. She has been a very consistent pigeon for Trevor and John winning a number of positions with the MNFC.

Third North west section goes to Des Jeavons on with a two year old Vandenabeele widowhood cock. This one had competed in most of the inland programme with the local club and had been to three channel races this season from Falaise, Fougeres and now Le Mans.

The North Central winner was Tom Brown of Marston Mortimer on 993 ypm. Tom clocked a two year old cock sent sitting 7 day eggs. He is of Soontjen and Busschaert bloodlines and had been to two inland races plus Falaise and Poitiers before being packed off to Le Mans. The birds are generally well regimented with twice daily exercise periods but in the run up to the longer races Tom likes them to enjoy an open loft as often as possible.

Mel and wife Julie Errington of Rushden take the R/U spot here on 961 ypm with a two year old cock flown on the natural system since his return from Ancenis with the MNFC where he won the local Championship club. The cock is of Super Crack Crusson x Herman Brinkman bloodlines. The Supercrack lines coming via Stan Biss and Ian Axe with the Brinkman lines through R J Strain of Northern Ireland. Mated in mid February he was raced on the widowhood system in the early part of the season and, as I mentioned earlier, he was paired up on his return from Ancenis and sent to Le Mans sitting 6 day eggs.

In third spot in the north Central section is one to the Farndish loft of BICC Treasurer and resident "financial guru", Russell Bradford. This is what Russell had to say about the Le Mans timer:-
"This 3 yr old part Deweerdt hen, rearing a ten day old YB, was on her sixth Channel crossing, and third this year, having already flown Falaise & Tours with the BICC, in what was probably her toughest race to date. Monday afternoon in Northamptonshire was hot and humid with hardly a breath of wind, but credit has to be given to Steve and Trevor the BICC convoyers, as all my birds returned in excellent condition after a clearly challenging nine-hour fly up here into the East Midlands, following four days in the crates. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who have freely given their time to help mark pigeons at the Northamptonshire marking station this year".

To close this report, I have included here a list of the winners of the Orego Stim sponsorship kindly donated by Meriden Health the makers of Orego Stim.
That's yer lot for this week. Next race Narbonne International on 25th July .Good luck to all who compete.
Gareth Watkins

John-Hemmings 1st Open BICC Le Mans

J-Hemmings 1st Open Le Mans

D Wilton & son 2nd East section 2nd Open Le Mans

Roger Lowe 1st Open BICC Guernsey 1 YB's in 2013 & 1st sect 3rd Open Le Mans 2014

J &J Brady 3rd east sect 4th Open Le Mans

Joe Clark 5th Open Le Mans[photo courtesy of Terry Peart]

Joe Clark's 5th Open BICC Le Mans winner

Bryan Dowsett 6th Open BICC Le Mans

Vic Shaw & gson Andrew prov 7th Open BICC Le Mans

Gareth & Stuart Treharne 1st west sect 8th Open Le Mans

John & Bradley Donovan & P J McHugh 9th Open Le Mans

David Coward Talbott 10th Open Le Mans

Eddie and Clayton Oxborough 1st NE section Le Mans

Jeff Poole 3rd Centre section Le Mans

John Rodway 1st NW section BICC Le Mans