A report of the British International Championship Club race from Marseille

Seventy nine plucky British birds were entered for the race from Marseille. After a day's holdover they were liberated with over eleven thousand international birds.

Mark Gilbert and wife Karen

The winner of the race needs no introduction as once again Mark Gilbert of Winkfield took the red card; this is the second British International Championship Club win for Mark in 2012, as he also won from Barcelona. This time Mark clocked a Deweerdt x Rutz cock that had been tenth open from Tarbes a few weeks earlier. Incredibly this was his sole entry for Marseille. On the same weekend Mark clocked the winner in the National Flying Club race from Saintes. This fantastic fancier has had an amazing season in 2012.

In second open the partnership of Mr and Mrs Rhodes from Aylsham in Kent clocked a three year old, blue chequer, roundabout hen. This pigeon is a granddaughter of Eric Limburg's The Joost and also contains the lines of Crack Perpignan. She was forty eighth open from Agen previously in 2012 and an older cock bird, bred the same way, scored twelfth open Tarbes a few weeks ago. The partnership clocked a second bird to also take thirteenth open.

David Hales of Hockley

David Hales of Hockley comes in third open, clocking the same pigeon that was sixth open Pau earlier this season. A widowhood cock, this bird is a half brother to David's first open Perpignan cock and contains the bloodlines of Alan Parker of Clitheroe. David clocked a second bird to take tenth open; this being another widowhood cock containing Brian Long and Louella Smaraagd lines.

Simon Knowles with daughter Lucy and son Ryan

It was a fantastic race for F Knowles and son from Wingham in Kent with fourth, fifth, eighth, twenty first and twenty second open all clocked to their loft. Last years winner from Marseille, Simon first clocked a pigeon bred down from Cyril Wells bloodlines. The same pigeon was forty third open BICC Perpignan in 2011. Foxy Lady was next in the clock, followed by Little Pea, the winner from Marseille in 2011. All Simon's birds were flown on the natural system.

Mike Mitchell of Dover

Mike Mitchell from Dover clocked a three year old chequer cock to take sixth open. Raced celibate, this bird contains the lines of Van Helmon and has previously won fifty eighth open Agen and fourteenth open Perpignan in 2011. Earlier this season the same cock was forty fourth open Agen. Mike is helped with the pigeons by his wife, Cynthia.

Mike Dunn with daughters, Jade and Charley

Seventh open was clocked at the Whitstable loft of Mike Dunn. Newcomers to the BICC, Mike and thirteen year old daughter Jade only joined this year and they started the season with just five pigeons. Sending a single entry to Agen they clocked it at thirty fifth open; another single entry to Pau made the result at seventy seventh open. Now they have made the top ten, once again only sending a single pigeon and they still have their original five birds in their loft. Simply brilliant! 

Ninth open was clocked by Dave Delea of Rainham in Essex. This was a three year old hen raced on the natural system and she was sent sitting sixteen day eggs. She had previously flown Messac and Tours. Dave keeps an open loft with the birds free to exercise whenever they wish, so long as he is keeping an eye on the sky for any predators. 

Next up, another member of the Delea family, Dave's brother Paul clocked eleventh open. This pigeon was a black hen bred from Paul's first open Barcelona cock when paired to a long distance racing hen. Both Dave and Paul's birds are their own family developed over the past forty years or so, with the base strain being the Kenyon family.

Geoff and Clayton Preece of Dover

Geoff and Clayton Preece and son of Dover took twelfth open with a four year old German bred pigeon.

So, in conclusion another successful race for the British International Championship club with all the winners reporting how well their birds were on their return from the race. Credit to the organisers for the way they look after the pigeons on their journey and also at the liberation site.