In first section E and first open we have David Hales of Hockley with a four year old on 752ypm and flying 637 miles. David is enjoying a great season in the international races with the BICC having been third open Barcelona, ninth open Pau and now topping the sheet from Marseille. He races his pigeons on the traditional widowhood system but without showing the hens prior to basketing, making sure of course, that they are there when the cocks return. David's winner, named Duncan, contains the bloodlines of the late Stan Biss' Bassi on the sire's side and on the dam's side, it stems from his own BICC Dax winner. The widowhood cocks are hopper fed with food in front of them at all times. In preperation for Marseille this cock had one inland race followed by Agen and Alençon with the BICC, from both of which he was the first bird back to the loft. He then had a race from Pithiviers with the East of England Continental Club. After that he was allowed to rest and exercise at home until basketing for Marseille. David's second pigeon was clocked to take eighth east section and eighth open on 657ypm.
Duncan - winner of BICC Marseille - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
Mr and Mrs Rhodes and family
Mr and Mrs Rhodes of Aylesham timed a four year old on 730ypm to take second east section and second open. The partnership are assisted by Steve's brother Paul. They clocked the same chequer hen that was also second open from Marseille in 2012. Raced on the roundabout system, it is a granddaughter of Eric Limbourg's Joost. The partners feed Garvo Marathon with the birds being allowed as much as they wish and their pigeons are exercised for an hour once a day and allowed to do as they please. Preparation for Marseille included Pau with the BICC where she was sixty fifth open and two short channel races with the East of England Continental Club.
John Underdown with granddaughter Molly
The Basildon loft of J Underdown was third east section and third open with a four year old on 715ypm. John also clocked a second bird on the day to take fourteenth open. His first was a cock sent sitting fourteen day old eggs and is bred from a Martin Greetham cock with the bloodlines of Jed Hinchcliffe of Glossop. Mr and Mrs Bates of Gravesend in Kent bred the dam of this winner. Preparation included channel races from from Cannapeville, Pithiviers and Alençon plus an open loft so the pigeons could come and go as they liked. The whole team are hopper fed with a good widowhood mixture in front of them at all times.
F Knowles and Son of Wingham near Canterbury in Kent timed in a magnificent six birds that make it into the top twenty one of the open result. F Knowles and Son is actually Simon Knowles, who is a previous winner of the Marseille race with the BICC and also a triple Europa Cup winner. The partner's first pigeon at fourth east section and fourth open was a five year old on 710ypm. It was a chequer pied hen named Little Pea and it was first open Marseille in 2011 and eighth open in 2012. Next up in seventh east section and seventh open was a three year old on 658ypm. This was blue cock containing the bloodlines of Mick Parish. The third timer, which was eleventh east section and eleventh open was a four year old on 608ypm. Another chequer pied hen, this one contains McClaren Southwell bloodlines. Eighteenth, nineteenth and twenty first open were clocked at the loft on 455, 420 and 384ypm respectively. All the team were prepared with three races from Bedhampton and two from Pithiviers. Simon and his wife Sarah, run the Malibu Stud shop which looks after the needs of the local pigeon fanciers and also poultry and horse enthusiasts and their loft is in a compound at the rear of the stud complex.
Fifth east section and fifth open went to R Pearmain and Son of Wickford with a four year old on 709ypm. Dickie and son, Steve, have also been doing well in the internationals with the BICC this season. From Marseille they clocked a blue hen that was prepared with two shorter races and then into Pithiviers a fortnight previously where it was second open. In 2012 it was fifteenth open from Marseille so is moving up the result steadily. A favourite of Dickie's, when she came from Marseille in 2012 he vowed to send her back again this year and so he was very pleased when she came home again.
The Margate loft of Alan Annis was next with sixth east section and sixth open, this one being a two year old, red chequer hen on 684ypm. This pigeon contains the bloodlines of Brian Long's Red Barcelona which came to Alan's loft through his good friend Jamie Clarke. Alan's loft is situated in the same compound as Simon Knowles', so it was a good day there from Marseille.
Lee and Kevin Buddle
In ninth east section and ninth open we have father and son, Kevin and Lee Buddle from Dover with a five year old on 629ypm. Another partnership that is doing exceptionally well in the internationals this season, the Buddle's winner this time was raced on widowhood and named Mike as it was bred by Mike Mitchell of Dover from direct Herman Van Helmond stock he obtained from Belgium. Mike's preparation began with Cannapeville, followed by Pithiviers and then BICC Pau followed by five weeks rest. Kevin and Lee clocked a second pigeon to take twelfth east section and twelfth open. This one was an eight year old hen named Kendall which has been to the international from Agen with the BICC three weeks previously where it was one hundred and thirty first open. The Buddle's third pigeon, a half sister to Amoy, their 2009 BICC Pau winner, was clocked to take fifteenth east section, fifteenth open. Kevin and Lee feed Versele-laga Superstar Plus with some Best All Round added in as the races get harder.
Mike - raced by Lee and Kevin Buddle
Mark Bulled and daughters
Rounding up the top ten is Mark Bulled of Harlow, who was tenth open and tenth east section with a five year old widowhood cock on 620ypm. Mark only sent one pigeon to Marseille, such was his confidence in clocking this cock which was bred from his old distance family. A steady pigeon in the past it has never broken any records but on its seventh time over four hundred and eighty miles it showed its true ability at the distance. Previously its best performances have been seventeenth open London and South East Classic Club from Tarbes, fifty ninth and eighty second open with the LSECC from Bergerac and five weeks prior to Marseille, it was eighty sixth from Bergerac with the BICC. Mark is even now thinking of preparing him for Barcelona in 2014.
Around the sections
First into the west section was Terry Preddy of High Littleton in Somerset. His timer was a three year old which was also seventeenth open on 457ypm. This galant pigeon is 75% Preddy bloodlines with a crossing in of Geoff Cooper's Deweerdts. Terry's old bloodlines contain Hansenne x Spangles obtained through his father and uncle. The sire of this section winner has won seventh open from Palamos whilst the dam is a daughter of Terry's fourth open San Sebastian winner when crossed with a Cooper Deweerdt. It was mated in March and allowed to rear one round of youngsters before being put on widowhood. Terry exercises his birds twice daily, when they are allowed the freedom to do as they wish.
The 2013 international race from Marseille was a tough one for UK fanciers. With birds clocked well into France in the afternoon of the first day, there had been hopes that a day bird would be clocked across this side of the channel, but unfortunately that was not to be the case. Congratulations must go to all of the above fanciers on the determination of their pigeons to reach home despite the demanding nature of the race. Another fact worth mentioning is that a large number of birds clocked in this race were older birds that already had excellent performances to their credit. It seems that the days when pigeons were put to stock after one or two good performances at the distance are behind us and that fanciers in the UK at least, are racing their best birds longer and harder. The better to create a new breed of long distance champions that can do the business from racepoints such as Marseille.
That concludes the report of the British International Championship Club race from Marseille held in conjunction with the International.