Mark Gilbert (Winkfield, UK) wins 1st National BICC Pau

Mark Gilbert enjoyed a wonderful day on Saturday 21st June; the titles of 1st national BICC Pau and 1st section (provincial) National Flying Club Messac made it a perfect day of racing for The Winkfield Wizard.

Mark Gilbert holding 1st national BICC Pau

There can be few, if any, fanciers around the World who are not familiar with the birds and performances of Mark Gilbert. There are many excellent pigeon fanciers in the UK. Some ‘aces’ prefer national or classic racing where the pigeons home to a distinct area or zone. However a small brave and elite proportion of racers have chosen to test their birds against the elite of Europe. Mark Gilbert has spearheaded this British effort; his performances have been nothing short of stunning!

The 2014 season

The 2014 season began with a team of 200 old bird racers. A formidable team one might say however when you consider that Mark is a member of four national/classic organisations plus his commitment to domestic club and federation racing then this number is absolutely necessary. The team is raced on roundabout (double widowhood) where both the cock and hen are raced. The team were paired in the middle of February and reared two youngsters however were not allowed to re-sit in order to delay the moult. Following an intense home exercise period, the team were trained by road before club racing commenced during the middle of April. Mark competes in a large and competitive club with an average send of between 400 to 700 birds a week.  In the first inland race from 78 miles, the Gilbert team won 1st federation against 3300 birds with 6 positions in the first 30. From the second inland race, the team were 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th federation with 3300 birds again competing.  With this sort of early season form, Mark had high aspirations for the 2014 season and his team have not let him down!

National success so far in 2014

Here are the performances achieved by the Gilbert team in the national races of 2014:

NFC Carentan 149 miles (9400 birds)  section:  33, 73
                                     open:     439, 910

NFC Cholet   302 miles (7000 birds)  section:  8, 21, 23, 32, 33,
                                     open:     466, 572, 577, 618, 620,

BICC Alencon 210 miles (6823 birds)  section:  2, 10, 15, 16, 21, 43, 48
                                     open:     7, 30, 41, 42, 59, 118, 137

BICC Tours   288 miles (3655 birds)  section:  2, 20, 24, 25, 35, 36, 37,
                                     open:     6, 42, 47, 48, 67, 69, 70,

BBC Messac   255 miles (2261 birds)  section:  19, 25, 26, 28, 29
                                     open:     91, 100, 102, 108, 109

BBC Niort    353 miles (1005 birds)  section:  3, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19,
                                     open:     28, 70, 73, 79, 81, 83, 84,

1st national BICC Pau

Pedigree of 1st national BICC Pau

Pau 2014

The 379 British pigeons, amongst the international convoy of 8,473 pigeons, were released at 06:45 CEST. There were no pigeons recorded on the day into Britain however as Mark’s pigeon was timed at 06:19 CEST, there can be little doubt that the pigeon was somewhere near to its Winkfield home at nightfall. The winning pigeon is a dark chequer hen with her sire being bred from Rutz & Shone’s Pau 06, international winner from Pau 2006. Her dam is responsible for 3rd international Pau, 3rd national Barcelona, 7th national Tarbes and now 1st national Pau. She is a full sister to the Deweerdt champion racer Ivan (4 times in the top 50 in international races). Once again this proves that exceptional bloodlines produce exceptional results! Out of interest, as well as winning the race outright, Mark had 12 home from his 15-strong team on the winning day at over 550 miles with the leading birds achieving 1st, 12th, 13th, 41st, 49th, 70th, 84th & 102nd open. Truly outstanding!

1st section (provincial) NFC Messac

Pedigree of 1st section NFC Messac

Messac 2014

After adding another national title from the Pau race, Mark’s focus turned to the National Flying Club’s race from Messac, a distance of 255 miles to Winkfield. Once again, the Gilbert team were at the front by recording 1st, 2nd and 6th section (provincial).

Future plans for 2014

Like his good friends Geoff and Catherine Cooper, Mark now places great importance on achieving success in the BICC races and so is looking forward to achieving more success at domestic and international level. He will also be sending a strong team to the National Flying Club Tarbes race which gives a total of 8 races of between 609 miles to 707 miles and readers can expect to see the Gilbert name near the top in each and every race! Mark is also looking to retain his titles as the best loft in all NFC and BICC races from 2013. In a similar way to the Coopers, he has an unquenchable thirst for top results!

2nd section (provincial) NFC Messac


Readers will appreciate that in Mark Gilbert, the UK has a truly world class fancier. Many of the early national races in the UK are flown in an east wind which puts the Gilbert birds at a great disadvantage. Yet, despite this, they always appear at the top of the result sheet. There can be only one explanation for this: they are an exceptional family of pigeons prepared by an exceptional pigeon fancier!


Bravo Mark Gilbert – Pathfinder Extraordinaire!!!

Congradulation Mark!

PIPA Vietnam Agent