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BICC – Biarritz International...
Author: Cameron Stansfield & Les ParkinsonTitle: BICC – Biarritz International
Date: 2005-07-28 16:38:14Uploaded by: webmaster
The International convoy of 2,838 birds was liberated in Biarritz, south-west France, last Wednesday at 1.30 GMT. This is the newest of the Internationals, the inaugural Biarritz race having been flown last year, and because of the location and the guaranteed mid-day liberation, it is a race which could see some great success for the UK at International level in the years to come. On this occasion, however, the prevailing conditions were against the UK contingent so there was little or no hope of the UK achieving a high International position. The 126 British birds had to face a headwind en route and they would also have to fly solo for much of the way. Under these conditions only class pigeons come through so each of the birds mentioned in this report deserves full credit for sticking to its task.

The winner of 1st BICC Biarritz is Dave Wells of Bordon, who clocked just before 5pm on Thursday for a velocity of 754ypm. Dave's winner is a 2y late-bred hen, now named ‘High Mileage' on account of her appetite for hard work. Last year she was in the top 20 of her local Fed from Bergerac, 439 miles on the day, then a week later was 116th Open BBC Bordeaux, clocked at 5.35am on the second day. This season she contested the very difficult Pau Classic, taking 30 th Open into a north-east wind, and now she has prevailed here in another testing race after having had to battle against a north-west wind. The plan after the Pau Classic had been to get her ready for the BBC Bordeaux race again but Dave looked at her and thought she was just right for Biarritz. She is a natural hen who was sent sitting 12 days and she went straight back on her eggs on her return. In between the Pau Classic and this race she had no work whatsoever, just being let out for a fly around home as normal. Dave was confident she would put up a good show and though she looked tired on arrival, within half and hour he says she looked perfect. This was Dave's first go at an International race with the BICC although he did contest the recent Dax International with the NFC, where he finished 62nd Open on the first bird verifications. Feed here is am and pm, consisting of a bit of YB mix and Four Seasons but mostly tic beans. ‘High Milegae', who was bred by Brian Yates of Petersfield and contains Dale Newcombe lines, may be aimed at Palamos next year. Congratulations to Dave on conditioning this little hen, who has shown she has the heart of a lion.

Just missing out on the spoils was Peter Amor of Wokingham who cocked a 3y hen (old ring). After being paired early season, she was parted and flown on roundabout before then being re-piared for the Pau National, where she was Peter's 4th pigeon, finishing around about 800th. She deserted her eggs on return, laid again and was basketed for Biarritz having been sat for 4 days. Peter hadn't planned to send to Biarritz but he felt that his Pau birds were looking so well that it would have been a shame not to race them again. He sent 3 of the first 4 back from Pau and when I spoke to him the day after timing, two were still adrift, which is perhaps not surprising as at the home end the wind was very strong on the nose. Peter made a point of saying that the hen he clocked is the slowest bird in his loft. She is 100% Eric Cannon, the lines being Channel Queen and Culmer White/Flight. Peter bought four birds at Eric's bereavement sale and has found from experience that there is no point trying to do anything with them as youngsters or yearlings because they mature so slowly. His winning hen was raced as a youngster and flew the Channel as a yearling, but she was an exception, a ‘survivor' being the word Peter used to describe her. Peter has always preferred the longer races but a couple of years ago he had a nagging feeling that his birds weren't as fit as they might be, hence rather than fly natural through the whole programme he tried roundabout. This paid dividends straight away when he was 2nd BICC Dax and now it has paid off again. Feeding here is a breeding mix, a widowhood mix and beans, and this year he has tried peanuts for the first time. Peter plans to stick at the 550-mile mark for the present time but might have a go at Perpignan and Barcelona in due course.

Ernie Deacon comes in next for 3rd Open and is probably 7th as well. His first bird is a 6y natural cock, paired to a barren hen, who was slipped a big youngster a couple of hours before basketing. This bird has been a consistent performer and was 23rd BICC Pau earlier this season. He contains Ernie's own lines; on the sire's side is Ernie's 4 x Palamos cock and on the dam's side is Ernie's 2nd Section 19th Open NFC Pau 1993. These pigeons are bred for hard races and this was just that, with a north wind all day in Horndean. Ernie's second pigeon was a 4y widowhood cock, again containing all Ernie's old lines, and his nest sister was Ernie's second pigeon from Barcelona this year. I asked Ernie whether his Pau National winner, Millennium Supreme, was leaving his mark, to be told that Wearn Bros' 1st Section NFC Tarbes is closely related, as was their second bird at Tarbes, whilst Ernie's second pigeon at Tarbes was a son. Ernie likes to send birds to the distance with a bit of meat on them and asked what he fed, he replied: ‘To tell the truth, plenty of beans'.

Asa Williams of Southampton timed two fine pigeons for 5th and 11th Open. First bird in the clock is a 2y hen who flew the Tarbes national a fortnight earlier. She was spare in the interim, had an open loft and one toss, and was given a cock one hour before basketing. Her sire is a 1993 Janssen Verotte who won the eyesign class at the Blackpool Show and her dam is a 1994 Meuleman hen bred by Gerry Farmer of Southampton. Asa's second bird (out of 3 sent) was the one he expected first, not surprisingly as she was 2 nd Open BICC Biarritz last year and has also been 6th BICC Pau. She was bred by Len Painter of Southampton. Conditions in Southampton at the time of clocking were bright sunshine and a north-west wind. Asa, who is helped by his Nan, started the season with only 20 racers. The two hens clocked will be aimed at Pau and Biarritz again next year.

Bill Knox, last year's winner of 1st & 2nd BICC Barcelona, timed a 5y cock for 4th spot and 1st East Section. This one was bred by Bobby Caruthers of Bonnyrigg and is a Kirkpartick, a strain Bill has cultivated over the years, indeed all the birds in his loft are Kirkpatricks, via such other sources as Fountainhead, Louella, George Dawes and John Murray. Basically Bill adopts a policy of racing nearly all his birds and he says they keep coming. For example, his returns this season read: NFC Tarbes, 8 out of 8; Pau International, 5/5; BICC Barcelona, 4/5 and in the hard L&SECC Pau, 7 out of 10. Bill is a natural flyer because this is what he finds easiest; he says widowhood looks too complicated. He only decided to send to Biarritz at the last moment. He thought it was scheduled for the end of July, as per last year, and it was only a chance remark by another fancier that alerted him to the change of dates. His 5y cock, who was clocked on the second day from Tarbes a fortnight earlier, was sent sitting 11 days and this is the 20 th time he has flown the Channel. Bill started keeping pigeons in 1958 and sent to Barcelona in 1960, when it took him a month to get a bird home. Today when he looks at the background to his winning birds he finds many are down from birds which have flown Barcelona and by keeping on sending to these extreme distance he says they seem to have become faster as the years have gone by.

Melksham's Joe Raeburn finishes 6th, in the process winning the West Section, after clocking a 3y hen named Deborah Rose who had five Channel races as a youngster and who has previously been 58 th Open NFC Pau and 46th Open BBC Bordeaux, both in 2004. This year she was 510 th Open NFC St Nazaire (12 th bird in the clock) and 375 th Open NFC Tarbes. She was sent to Tarbes on 12-day eggs and to Biarritz on a 4/5-day old chick. Her sire was bred by Patrick Bros and is inbred to Favoriet being from a full brother and sister mating, and her dam is a full sister to Gordon Harding's Ashgrove King, the 1994 NFC Pau winner. I asked Joe about his own King's Cup winner, Gwen, who won the National from San Sebastian, and he told me that she is leaving her mark, for example his BICC Tours section winner was off her. Like many fanciers, Joe's season took a knock in that hard Tours race. He sent 22 and is still picking up the pieces. This year Joe started with 15 widowhood cocks and 12 roundabout hens paired to 12 yearling cocks, which is by no means a big team by today's standards so it is all the more commendable that Joe's name figures prominently in so many of today's big races.

It is customary to cover only the first six in these BICC races but we must make mention of a super pigeon flying to Hainford, north of Norwich, 659 miles. She was clocked at 1.57pm on the Friday for a velocity of 550ypm. She belongs to the father and son partnership of Michael and Mark Barratt and when I spoke to Michael shortly after clocking he said he was still getting over the thrill of timing her. The north wind which had blown on the Thursday persisted on Friday so this is some pigeon. She is a Visser x Jan Aarden, both parents having come from Neil Taylor and her grandsire won 7th Open BICC Perpignan in 1997. This hen was 9th Open Biarritz in 2004, and this year she flew four Channel races with the Norfolk & Suffolk before Biarritz, at distances of 238, 301, 330 and 444 miles, the latter being from Montlucon. When not across the Channel she has been raced every week from either Eastbourne or Hastings and her final race before Biarritz was from Eastbourne a fortnight beforehand. Not surprisingly, she is not trained! She had been on roundabout but was paired for this race being sent sitting 5 days (last year 10 days). All being well she will go to Biarritz again in 2006. Michael says they enjoy their Channel races but this is the only really long one they send to. Congratulations to everyone who clocked from this hard Biarritz race. Who knows what these gallant birds would have been capable of given more favourable conditions?

Cameron Stansfield & Les Parkinson
For more Info & Results see: http://www.pigeonbasics.com/clubs/bicc/

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