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The British International Championship Club race from Le Mans - a report on the winners and section winners.

The British International Championship club race from Le Mans was held over until Sunday 28th July, when the 2,182 birds were liberated at 7.00am BST into broken cloud and partial blue skies. With the wind picking up over the channel it was to be a fairly fast race with the winners doing over 1700ypm.

The prevailing weather conditions on the day meant that the top ten of the result was split between the centre and east sections.

Alex and Tony McKenzie

Alex MacKenzie of Chelmsford was first east section and first open with a yearling widowhood cock on 1734ypm. The bloodlines of this winner include the late Stuart Elvin Busschaerts crossed with birds from Brain Denham and a Janssen Van Den Bosche obtained via Albert Babbington. Alex is assisted with the pigeons by his brother, Tony and they mate the race and stock birds in late January, usually after returning from the Blackpool pigeon show. They are all allowed to rear a round of youngsters before the cocks are put on the widowhood system. Once on widowhood they are exercised twice daily, morning and afternoon, during which they are allowed to do as they wish. Alex has previously won first open with the BICC from Tours.

David Coward-Talbot - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton

David Coward-Talbot of Chelmsford was second east section, second open with a hen named Amelie on 1733ypm, just pipped at the post by the McKenzie bird. Indeed for some days it was thought that David had won the race, but on checking clock variations, he just missed out. This hen was bred by Lee Fribbens and has been raced on roundabout for the whole season. David and Lee share a stock loft of Van Rijns for breeding youngsters and this hen was bred by one of these crossed with a Soontjen. David clocked a second pigeon which came with his first and this one was bred from Brian Long bloodlines.

Amélie - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton

Third east section and third open went to the Hartlip loft of Fagg and Nicholas with a two year old doing 1713ypm. The partnership consists of Colin Fagg and his partner Linda Nicholas. They timed a dark chequer Lambrecht hen bred by Tony Webster of Erith. It was raced roundabout at the beginning of the season and then re-paired for the later races. She was sent to Le Mans sitting eggs.

Rob and Andrew Wilton

D Wilton and Son of Chadwell St Mary were fourth east section, fourth open with a yearling on 1711ypm. Dad, Dave, is assisted by his son Rob and grandson Andrew. The partners clocked a blue hen raced on widowhood. This was her second channel race of the season and as a young bird she won a club race from Guernsey.

George Burgess - photo courtesy of Terry Peart

The Wraysbury loft of G T Burgess clocked first centre section and fifth open with a two year old on 1686ypm. George has been racing pigeons since 1946 when he started up in partnership with his late father and is a past winner of the Kings Cup from Pau with the National Flying Club. His Le Mans pigeon is a Soontjen cock bred by Hathaway and Poole. The sire is a son of the Docherty cock, bought by George from Frank Sheader, when paired to a Soontjen hen owned by Hathaway and Poole. George loaned them the cock especially to pair to this hen as her breeding record was outstanding.

Mark Gilbert and father - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton

Mark Gilbert of Windsor took second centre section and sixth open on 1685ypm. Mark had two widowhood cocks arrive together, a pair of brothers from Syndicate Loft's Dutch Master when paired with a daughter of Golden Gaby x Lady Bliskim of M & D Evans.

Fifth east section and seventh open was timed by John Pether of Henham on 1681ypm. John clocked a roundabout hen containing the best of the bloodlines of his old family which is based on Van Loon and Haeltermans. This hen has a cross of Wall, Lunt and Green's Kersal Cock through the dam's side. Prior to le Mans she had several inland races and then Alençon with the BICC.

D M J Hughes of Windsor was third centre section and eighth open with a three year old widowhood cock on 1679.4ypm. His bloodlines are Van Elsaker and his father won more then £4,000 racing at national and classic level. Introduced to Serge Van Elsaker by Mark Gilbert, Mr Hughes purchased thirty eggs and the £4,000 cock was hatched from one of these.

Terry Robinson

Fourth centre section and ninth open was timed by Mr and Mrs Terry Robinson of Goffs Oak on 1679.3ypm. Terry clocked a yearling Vandenabeele cock which was bred by Ken Wise and had been raced on widowhood earlier in the season. However, for Le Mans he was re-paired and sent sitting fourteen day old eggs.

Vic Shaw with grandson, Andrew

Sixth east section and tenth open was timed on 1666yom by V Shaw and Son of Harlow. Vic is assisted with the pigeons by his grandson Andrew and the partners clocked a two year old, widowhood cock bred from a pigeon purchased from Preece Brothers and Sons of Abertillery. A consistent performer this was his third channel race this season.


Around the sections

Matt Donovan

First north section and twelfth open was won by Matt Donovan from Thaxted. Matt clocked a five year old cock of Brian Denny Blue Pau bloodlines that was raced on the dry widowhood system. Le Mans was its third channel race of the season.

Terry Roughton

Second into the north section and in fourteenth open was Terry Roughton of Wisbech. Terry's timer was a two year old Soontjen cock that was raced on widowhood earlier in the season but re-paired for Le Mans and sent sitting fourteen day old eggs. This cock flew north as a youngster but was then turned to the south road as a yearling, being raced only inland. Terry purchased the sire and dam of this pigeon from Frank Sheader.

Trevor and lee hart

Third north section and sixteenth open was timed by T & N Hart and Son of Cambridge. Since Trevor's brother Nigel passed away he had been assisted with the birds by his son, Lee. The partners timed a three year old, Wildermeersch widowhood cock. Terry and Lee have won twelve of the fifteen races they have entered this season and timed three x first prizes on the Le Mans weekend alone.

Graham Clift

The west section had to wait a little longer for their birds and winning the section and in seventy sixth open was Graham Clift of Tirley, Gloucestershire. Graham clocked a pigeon bred from a grandson of Brian Denny's Tuff Nut when paired to a daughter of Mark Gilbert's Southfield Pau. Graham raced on widowhood at the start of the season but re-paired for le Mans and his section winner was sent sitting ten day old eggs. He timed a second pigeon within a minute of his first, this being a nestmate to his first section, third open winner from Messac with the British Barcelona Club in 2012. Graham's friend George Harding manages his stock birds and breeds the young birds at his address.

Derek and Clive Flowers

Second west section was clocked by Derek Flowers of Torfaen and was also eighty first open. Derek is helped with the pigeons by his brother, Clive and they clocked a Wall, Lunt & Green Janssen x Raymond Moleveld Koopman hen that was sent sitting chipping eggs. This hen went missing after a young bird race and only returned to the loft two years later, having obviously spent the intervening time wild, as she still had two nest flights in each wing. This win has more than made up for her absence.

Third west section and eighty fourth open went to R T Brown of Devizes. Robert's pigeon was bred from birds gifted to him by Eric Higginbottom which in turn were obtained from Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts.

That concludes the report of the British International Championship Club race from Le Mans.