The winning pigeon from Barcelona into the UK - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
Clare and Mark Norman of Mannor Lofts in Southampton were first centre section and first open with a four year old clocked at 961ypm, after a distance of over 680 miles. Their pigeon was also duplicated back into the British Barcelona Club race so should feature on both results. It is also expected to be in the top fifty of the international result with over 25,000 birds competing. Mannor lofts consists of Martin and wife Clare, plus their son Jack. The Normans clocked a grizzle cock called Olympic Ric which was their single entry for the race. He was sent racing on the widowhood system with a few twists thrown in which the Normans don't want to reveal but that have previously worked for him. Olympic Ric is the loft's best pigeon and his previous performances include sixth section, seventy third open from Carentan and sixth section, sixteenth open from Perpignan, both races with the BICC in 2012. It has many other good performances to its name as well. It was named Olympic Ric after his performances last year whilst the Olympics were being held in London. The Ric part of the name came from their nephew who always seemed to be visiting when the partners clocked their best birds.
Martin and Jack Norman - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
Mike and Cynthia Mitchell
Mike Mitchell of Dover, flying 675 miles, timed first east section and second open on a velocity of 770ypm. No stranger to success at the distance with four wins in international races with the BICC in recent years, this time Mike timed a celibate hen to provisionally take first east section second open. Mike's pigeon is known as Mrs Mealy and was bred from a pair of Stoffel Ophof pigeons that he obtained via Bill Woodall. Her previous performances include winning Bergerac in a club race in 2009, thirteenth open BICC from Tarbes/Agen in 2011 and eighty sixth open from Pau in 2012. Mike also timed a second pigeon to take provisional sixteenth open.
Second east section and third open went to David Hales of Hockley in Essex flying 709 miles from Barcelona on a velocity of 766ypm. Dave's first bird home was one of his team of long distance widowhood cocks and was a six year old red cock of Hagens Brothers bloodlines. Dave prepared him for Barcelona with two short races from Pithiviers and Alençon and then three weeks resting in the loft. Dave timed another pigeon to be provisionally fifteenth open. His cocks are hopper fed a good widowhood mix and do not see their hens prior to basketing for the race.
Mark Gilbert - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
Mark Gilbert of Windsor took second and third centre section and fourth and fifth open, rounding off a cracking weekend of racing for him. His timers were on 725ypm and 714ypm respectively and had to cover 707 miles. Mark's two birds are both widowhood cocks and his first bird, a red, black splashed cock, has been twenty eighth open Saintes and sixth open BICC Perpignan with the BICC in 2012. The sire of this pigeon is a direct son of Smaraagd, the international winner from Barcelona and his dam is a full sister to DeWeerdt's Champion Iban. Mark's second bird in the clock was the Marseille cock which was the winner of the BICC race from Marseille in 2012. This pigeon stems from a son of Rutz and Sons' Barcelona Princess which was first German National from Barcelona.
Geoff and Catherine Cooper's pigeon
The international winners from Pau, Geoff and Catherine Cooper from Peasedown St John in Somerset timed in first west section sixth open on a velocity of 705ypm after 719 miles of flying. The Cooper's pigeon is a seven year old widowhood cock named Daybreak Junior as he is a son of Daybreak which won a national merit award. His dam is Miss Pau who flew the Pau international as a yearling and was a daughter of Miss Somerset winner of the National Flying Club's Somerset cup. The grandsire of Daybreak Junior is also the grandsire of Mark Gilbert's Southfield Supreme.
Geoff and Catherine Cooper - photo courtesy of Chris Sutton
John and David Staddon
Next up and no strangers to international success are John and David Staddon from Evercreech in Somerset who timed a five year old cock to take second west section and seventh open. The partner's pigeon was clocked just before six on the Sunday morning and was doing 628ypm after flying 709 miles. This pigeon was bred from a son of Dave Impetts first section L, thirteenth open NFC Tarbes winner when paired to a daughter of Mark Gilbert's Southfield Pau. It was originally raced to the partners' loft in Merriott but when they moved to Evercreech in 2010 he was broken to the new location.
Vince and David Padfield with Bill Knox (c)
The Padfield Family of Abertillery in Wales took third west section and eighth open on 618ypm after a journey of 757 miles. The family clocked a blue white flight, five year old, long distance hen on her third outing from Barcelona. The sire is from a son of Don, second British Barcelona Club Palamos when paired to a daughter of Padfields Perfection, first Pau with the Welsh South Road National. The dam is a half sister to Vince that was first Welsh South Road National Flying Club from Pau. This hen flew Pau in 2008 and 2009, Tarbes in 2010 and then Barcelona for the last three years.
Paul Stone's lofts
Ninth open and fourth centre section was clocked by P Stone of West Drayton and was a four year old on 617ypm after flying 708 miles. Paul clocked three roundabout hens, two of which were full sisters. The first and third on the clock were bred from Paul's 1997 Barcelona winner when paired to an inbred hen with the bloodlines of Blackcurrant, his cock that flew Barcelona four times. Both hens had flown Tarbes last season and in preperation for Barcelona they had two inland races and then a channel race from Cholet.
Mick Jarvis of the Gosling and Jarvis partnership
Completing the top ten we have Gosling and Jarvis from Mountlessing. The partnership timed a four year old, red, widowhood cock on 590ypm to take third east section and tenth open. Their pigeon, now named Red 55, is bred from the late Jim Biss' Golden Eye, the son of Vend, first National Flying Club Pau when paired to a red hen bred from a pair purchased from Brian Sheppard. This is only the second Barcelona race for the partnership but they have made the result on both occasions.
Kevin Buddle and his son Lee, of Dover clocked fourth east section, eleventh open flying 673 miles on a velocity of 582ypm. The father and son partnership timed a six year old cock named Pipi. In preparation it had one inland race and then three times from Pithiviers. It is a grandson of Buddy, the loft's foundation hen when it comes to the long distance.
Ron Dove of Ashford timed in two pigeons, his first taking fifth east section, twelfth open on 563ypm after 674 miles. Ron's first in the clock was a four year old hen of Geoff Kirkland x Jan Theelen bloodlines.
That completes the provisional report of the British International Championship Club race from Barcelona in conjunction with the International. What must be stressed is not just the distances these brave birds have covered in race time but also that their final hurdle to cross was the English Channel before they could make haste for their home lofts.