The summer of 2012 has been disappointing in the UK, even by our traditional standards. It is well known that the British like to complain about the weather but this year it seems that we really do have something to complain about. At the start of the racing season there were some strong easterly winds which challenged even the most experienced of pigeons and even after the wind moved to the more usual southerly/westerly the temperatures have been much lower than usual. Coupled with this we have had heavy rain which has seen unseasonable flooding in areas such as Wales and the North West of England. When the Pau birds were liberated most of the UK was under heavy cloud with strong gusting winds and showers in places; with the English channel to cross as well this proved to be testing for the British birds. With a strong south westerly wind the early times were obviously dominated by pigeons from the eastern side of the country.
In the first open, first eastern section is Mr J Chipperfield from Herne Bay in Kent whose pigeon recorded 1322 ypm. John's second pigeon took fourth open on 1249 ypm and he could have clocked a third arrival the next morning. The first bird was a Raymond Moleveld x Jan Aarden cock called Joe after John's son. He was sent sitting twelve day eggs. John's second arrival was a dark chequer hen.
Second open went to L & K Buddle of Dover, a consistent loft at the distance, on a velocity of 1275 ypm. Readers will remember that this partnership had the only two UK birds on the day from Pau in 2009. The bird clocked was a four year old cock called Lucky, a full brother to BC who was the runner-up in 2009.
Third open was G M Preece and Son, also of Dover on a velocity of 1264 ypm and the partnership's second bird took tenth open on 1211 ypm. Geoff and Clayton are also previous winners of 1st Open BICC in an international race clocking the only pigeon into the UK on the day from Perpignan in 2010. From Pau they clocked their chequer white flight widowhood cock ‘Jack Jones’ DV.02772 .08.414 bred by Stoffel-Gr.Ophoff of Dorsten/Germany.
Another Dover loft, that of Barrie Myhill, took fifth open on a velocity of 1246 ypm.
D Hales of Hockley in Essex was next in the frame with sixth open on 1244 ypm. David is yet another previous winner of 1st Open BICC as the half brother to this year’s 6th Open Pau International pigeon won 1st Open BICC Perpignan a few years back. David clocked a 4 year old widowhood cock of Alan Parker bloodlines.
G & M Gilbert of Windsor were seventh open and first centre section on on 1231 ypm with a seven year old red cock of Deweerdt bloodlines. Geoff Gilbert is the father of Mark Gilbert, a well known UK fancier who has won three internationals. Mark took second and third centre section from Pau and fourteenth and fifteenth open. A good race for the Gilbert family then!
Over in the west section Geoff and Catherine Cooper were doing the business with 1st & 3rd section, 27th & 35th Open. They clocked two of their team of widowhood hens. The first on the clock at 19.04 pm to win 1st west section is a two year old blue hen raced on widowhood. This hen is a granddaughter of Geoff and Catherine's “George” (1st National FC Tarbes sire) and Brian Sheppards 'Legend' (1st International Dax).
The winner in the North section was the partnership of Michel and Rene Houpe. Michel, Rene and their son Michael moved to the UK just over five years ago. They had raced pigeons back in South Africa and after moving here they decided they wanted to race again. The Delbar Hen that they clocked to win 1st North section was bred for them by one of their good friends Bill McMillan.
With the weather in the UK being challenging for the first international race of 2012 it is encouraging to see that so many fanciers prepared their birds well and clocked in in good time. All of them wanted to thank the international organisers for the good condition the birds were in when they returned and without doubt these UK fanciers are looking forward to the next international race from Bordeaux.