The penultimate race in the 2014 BICC International race programme took place from the French town of Narbonne on Saturday 26th July , after a one day hold over due to bad weather. A total of 108 UK pigeons entered by 36 members set out at 6.10 am to compete against 20,888 pigeons from all over Europe, for the honour of winning 1st Open International in this 600+ mile race from close to the shores of the Mediterranean. I have fond personal memories of the town of Narbonne, as when I was in the sixth form at Grammar School in 1970, the senior rugby team visited Narbonne and some of the surrounding villages of St Chinian and Servian during a rugby tour. I'm pleased to say that we won every game and even beat the Narbonne Youth team with former French International Walter Spanghero refereeing!!
What also struck me was the outstanding welcome and hospitality we received wherever we went with grand dinners laid on for us supplemented by literally buckets full of the fine local Languedoc wine. Happy days indeed crunching a few French soft centres!!

The table below shows the breakdown of the entries across the various marking stations:-
ASH 4 / 8
BATH 1/ 2
GWENT 5/ 9

TOTAL 36 members / 108 birds

As mentioned above, the convoy was held over for one day due to bad weather and so liberation took place on Saturday 26th July with temperatures throughout France and Southern England in the mid eighties Fahrenheit. This was not going to be a race for the faint hearted!!!!
It came as no surprise therefore that there were no day birds into the UK and nothing in the early hours of the second morning. However, the form loft of Kevin and Lee Buddle of Dover who sent just three pigeons, clocked two of their three entries around breakfast time to win 1st &3rd Open vels 734 & 659 mpm and clocked the third of their three bird entry a little later in the day to take 10th Open as well. As anyone who has read my earlier race reports will no doubt be aware, the Buddles have enjoyed a superb old bird season in International racing with the BICC in 2014.
They have excelled producing team performances in each International race with four birds from a five bird entry on the Barcelona result. Another four birds from a seven bird entry on the Agen International result and an incredible five birds from an eight bird entry on the Pau International result. Add to this a 3rd & 5th Open from Marseille in the last race and you have the sort of season that most can only dream of - and achieved with just a modest sized team of racers backed up by an eight pair team of stock birds!!! Superb flying. Well done both. This is what Lee had to tell me about their latest BICC International race win:-
Our first bird in the clock from Narbonne International and Prov 1st Open is a 2011 Hen now named "Elsa" by my 2 daughters! She has previously won 39th Open BICC Agen 2013 484m. "Elsa" had a bad start to the season having returned home with all her tail missing from BICC Tours in June. Her preperation for Narbonne Int was BICC Alencon, BICC Tours then 4 weeks off till her tail started to come back, then into an EECC race from Canappeville when her tail was 80% back in late June and a Bedhampton with our local Club/Fed then 10days rest before basketing for Narbonne. "Elsa" is very well bred with her sire being a son of Dave Hales "80" 1st & 4th BICC Perpignan 617m & 38th NFC Tarbes 580m and our top racing hen "Game" 3rd & 7th BICC Perpignan & 15th & 27th BICC Pau. The dam of "Elsa" is a Daughter of "Amoy" 1st BICC Pau 2009 545m & "BC" 2nd BICC Pau 2009 both raced by us and they were also the only Two birds on the day of liberation into the UK. Our Narbonne winner "Elsa" as with all our birds is raced on widowhood all season, not being repaired until after Perpignan Int as a reward after a hard season. All our birds are fed Verselle Laga Superstar Plus with Versele Laga Best All Round added to it for a bit more 'Meat'.
Our 2nd bird in the clock and Prov 3rd Open is a top racing hen of ours "Saffron" this reliable Mealy hen flew Pau International earlier in the season and was our first bird home winning 7th Open BICC Pau. Other prizes won by "Saffron" are 24th Open BICC Agen 2013 484mls & 26th Open BICC Perpignan 2013 579mls. Her sire was bred by Jim Peters and is a g-son of both his Barcelona winners "Lacoste" & "Marathon Man" her dam is a Dtr of "BC" 2nd BICC Pau 2009 for us and Mike Mitchell's "Eve" 1st BICC Perpignan plus many more prizes.
Our 3rd bird in the clock and the last of our 3 entry's is a 2011 hen that was in the clock also earlier in the season from BICC Pau Int winning 107th Open, she has also won 28th Open BICC St Vincent Int 2013 531mls. Her sire is a direct G & C Cooper cock that is a double G-Son of "Farm Boy" and her sire is a full brother to "Farmer George" their 2011 winner of 1st International Bordeaux. Her Dam is a Dtr of Mike Mitchell's "Dutch Hen" winner of many top prizes including 1st Open BICC Saran & 2nd Open BICC Perpignan."
Congratulations Kevin and Lee on a truly outstanding performance.

In the runner Up spot is Alan "Wally" Turner yet another top class fancier who, like the Buddles, is totally dedicated to International racing with the BICC. Alan clocked a four year old cock sent driving his hen to nest. This one contains the bloodlines of Brian Denney and Chris Gordon via John Searle on one side of his pedigree with some Eric Fox blood via Geoff Walsford on the other side. The cock has numerous channel prizes in his portfolio including several Combine and Fed turns from Tours, Poitiers and Bergerac. See below:-
2013 - Perpignan 47th Open, 29th E Section BICC
2013 - Kent Invicta South Road Combine (158 members/942 birds) Tours 20th. 226 miles.
2013 - Kent Cosmopolitan Federation Section 2 Tours 6th.(142 birds)
2013 - Kent Cosmo Fed (362 birds) 10th Open
2013 - Kent Cosmo Fed (226 birds) Poitiers 12th Open
2013 - Kent Cosmo Fed (100 birds) Poitiers 8th Section 2
2012 - Kent Cosmo Fed (228 birds) Begerac 6th Open
2012 - Kent Invicta South Road Combine Bergerac (605 birds) 30th Open
2012 - Kent Cosmo Fed (122 birds) 2nd Bergerac Section 2
This season he has had a few 100 milers with the Wingham club plus Le Mans with the Fed and was at St Vincent International on 12th July finishing at 69th Open BICC.

Simon Knowles is a past multiple Europa Cup winner with the BICC and in this Narbonne race he maintained his excellent record in BICC International races clocking his first entry on 658 mpm for 4th East section 4th Open. Simon's second bird in the clock also takes 6th Open vel 596 mpm.
Simon's first bird is a three year old hen that has had three Wingham Flying Club inland trainers from 100 miles and two East Of England Continental Club Races, having flown Perpignan in 2013. Her Sire is 'Gregory' who has been 4th, 22nd and 25th Open B.I.C.C. Barcelona and 966th Open N.F.C. Tarbes. Her Dam is the 41 Hen who has been 12th and 65th Open B.I.C.C. Pau, 81st Open B.I.C.C. Dax and 110th Open B.I.C.C. Bergerac.
So she is certainly bred for the job in hand.
The second bird in the clock is another three year old hen of Mick Parish bloodlines and has been 62nd Open B.I.C.C. Perpignan also having three Wingham Flying Club inland 100 mile trainers and two East of England Continental Club races as preparation.
All the Knowles birds are raced on natural with an open hole and are fed on Bucktons Irish Mix with added Peanuts.
As the meerkat says "Seemple" - providing you have the right birds for the job and Simon and the other successful fanciers highlighted in this report certainly have those in abundance .

Bill Knox continues his excellent run in BICC International races coming in at 5th Open vel599mpm and a second bird at 12th Open vel 554 mpm. This is what Bill had to tell me about his two Narbonne birds:-
"With reference to 11674 5th Narbonne . This was my second bird from Agen timed on the day to take 14th section 29th open. He was sent sitting 10 days at basketing. Prior to Agen he flew Cannappeville 140 miles Saran 240 miles and Pithiviers 220 miles all with the EECC. His sire is the brother to my first bird from Agen being a Kirkpatrick cross Biss his dam a Kirkpatrick ,
My second bird 11714 was my 4th bird from Agen 75 th Open, she was sent sitting 13 days at basketing, Prior to Agen she flew Lilliers and Pithiviers. Her sire was bred by N Barrett being a grandson of my Barcelona winner her dam is one of my old family of Kirkpatricks."

At 7th Open, yet again, we have a partnership that has set its stall out to produce birds that can succeed in the unforgiving arena that is International pigeon racing. I'm speaking of course of the Pearmain parnership, Dickie and son Steve, of Wickford in Essex. This is what Steve had to tell me:-
"Hiya Gareth
Hope you are keeping well. Before I give you our details of our timing today my father and I would like to congratulate the Buddles on a super day's racing - 3 from 3 on the money in a very hard race very well done.
Our bird is a 4 year old late bred cock who has been a honest pigeon for us. We timed him on the night at Agen nearly 13 hours on the wing 4 weeks ago. He was then paired and sent sitting 10 days he is closely bred to Marseille Maur our recent merit award winner from Marseille. It was a long day to day and we were well pleased to time in."

Wally Turner's second in the clock takes 8th Open and then we come to a real battler - the Padfield's timer which had to battle relentlessly against the north west wind for two days to reach its home loft at Cwmtillery at around 8 pm on the second evening to record 569 mpm and take the red rosette in the West section plus 9th Open position. Vince and Dave clocked a second pigeon on the third morning to take 2nd section also and the following are the details of the Padfield pigeons. First in the clock taking 1st sect 9th Open is:-
Chec Hen GB.2009.N.85817.
Early season this hen was raced on the round about after rearing a pair of youngster she had 3 or 4 inland races followed by a couple of races from France i.e.: Carentan and Cholet.
She was then sent to the Pau International with the BICC she came to be 65th open 18th Section in this race.
She was then left on the round about but repaired when the Tarbes birds were basketted in early July.
She was sent to Narbonne on hatching eggs and came back to a small youngster.
This hen has put up a number of good performances:- 2011 2nd Open 1st Sect WSRNFC Tarbes winning 200 607 miles, also 34th Open 6th Sect Tarbes NFC.

This hen from Dale Newcombe and Jan Arden bloodlines via our good friend Andrew Loveday.
The second timer at 2nd sect 16th Open is :-
Early season this hen was raced on the round about after rearing a pair of youngsters she had 3 or 4 inland races followed by a couple of races from France i.e.: Carentan and Cholet.
She was then sent to the Pau International with the BICC she came to be 47th open 14th Section in this race. She was then left on the round about but repaired when the Tarbes birds were basketted. She was sent to Narbonne on hatching eggs and came back to a small youngster.
Below are her previous performances and breeding details.
GB2011.N.85399 Chec W/F Hen 6th Open WSRN and 8th Sect G 52nd Open NFC Tarbes.
Sire is a Chequer Badge [W/F] Cock Bred by House of Aarden ''SON OF SPIRIT OF DREAMS'' - Double Grand son of Invincible Spirit when paired to the Invincible Joop 84
Dam Wim Muller out of G Son of ADONIS 10th Nat Pau he was off DE Gorrison he was Sire of Miss Barcelona 1st International Barcelona 26000 birds in 2000 This hen is a half sister to Albert he was 9TH Open WSRN Nantes Centenary race1997 in the first 200 overall birds 2nd WSRN PAU 2000 Beaten by loft mate. Beat next bird by 1.5 Hours.
Also 31st WSRN Saintes 1999. 2002 13th OPEN NFC PAU Winning 3180. The week prior his son was 3rd Open CSCFC San Sebastian, He has also bred national and section winners for B Leadbeater and Frampton and Price.
Two top class hens bred in the purple with long distance performances to match. Well done Vince and Dave.

Lee and Kevin Buddles final timing of the three pigeons that they entered comes in at 10th Open vel 565 mpm.

Then we come to the winner of the Centre section which also finisges at 11th Open, clocked at the Portsmouth lofts of Kevin and John Zerafa. This two year old Jan Aarden hen recorded 562 mpm over the near 600 mile course.

Bill Knox's second in the clock comes in for 12th Open vel 554 mpm followed by three quick ones to the Dover father and son partnership of Geoff and son Clayton Preece for 13th,14th &15th Open vels 539.530 &525 mpm. The following are brief details of the Preece pigeons:-.
GB 12 D 25790 - Chequer Hen - Stoffel lines on both sides. Previous prizes have included- 2013 - Agen International 53rd BICC - Narbonne 1025th International Hens.
DV 02772 12 503 -Chequer Hen , purchased direct from the Stoffel Loft and is bred from the very best of the Robert Ben lines. Previous prizes have included 2013 - Agen International 1st Section 9th Open BICC - Narbonne 1152nd International Hens. 2014 Pau International 56th BICC.
GB 11 D 19045 - Chequer Hen - Stoffel lines on both sides. Previous prizes have included- 2013 Narbonne 1018th International Hens.

The Padfields second bird takes 16th Open and then we come to the runner up in the Centre section to Bartlett & Jones of Southampton vel 443 mpm.
Rob Jones or "The Jones Boy" as good friend Tony Cowan refers to him, clocked a six year old Staf Van Reet blue hen to scoop 2nd section and 17th Open positions. This hen has been a really good servant for Rob as she has won many prizes at sprint and middle distance racing including a 1st Fed, before moving on to distance racing. She flew Bergerac and Tarbes in 2013 and this year she was at Tarbes with the NFC in early July and since her return HAS NOT BEEN OUT OF THE LOFT. Yes you read that correctly. Rob had decided to stop old bird racing after NFC Tarbes and so the old bird section was closed up. At the last minute he relented and decided to send the blue hen and up she pops to do the business once again.
As I finish off this report in time to send to the papers ready for publication I have just heard that Simon Knowles has clocked his third entry to finish at 18th Open vel 388mpm.
That's the Narbonne International over and done with for another year. A difficult race flown in harsh conditions of a north westerly wind and high temperatures and yet, once again and I'm fearful of labouring this point, the same fanciers with the same pigeons keep on coming through. Congratulations to all who clocked . Next and final old bird International Perpignan. As always good luck to all who send.
Gareth Watkins

Kevin-&-Lee-Buddle 1stBICC-Narbonne

GB11N44611-Buddle 1st BICCNarbonne

Alan & trophies won in BICC in 2009. Alan was 2nd Open BICC Narbonne 2014

Simon Knowles and daughterLucy and son Ryan. Simon is provisionally 4th Open BICC Narbonne 2014

85e_Bill Knox's 5th Open Narbonne

BICC-R-Pearmain-&-Son 1st Marseille and now 7th Open Narbonne

Geoff and Clayton Preece 13th ,14th & 15th Open BICCNarbonne

Rob Jones of Bartlett & Jones.1st Central section 4th Open Tours & 2nd section 17th Open Narbonne

Vince Padfield pictured outside the loft on a recent visit

Alan Wally Turner's loft home to many long distance racers

Bill Knox's Loft

The loft of Kevin & Lee Buddle

The lofts of Simon Knowles

The Pearmain loft