BICC GUERNSEY YBs & OLD HENS
by Gareth Watkins
The penultimate race in the BICC calendar took place on Sunday 26th August following a one day delay due to bad weather. The convoy of 2,104 pigeons made up of 585 old hens and 1,519 young birds was liberated at 8 am. Weather man Steve Appleby’s weather report read: The picture from overhead via the weather satellite early on Sunday morning was one of broken cloud and clear skies over the English Channel and England. Visibility recorded by the weather station mid channel was 11 miles plus. The important factor affecting this BICC race from Guernsey was, as usual, wind speed and direction. At first light, moderate winds flowed over the channel mainly from the west with a little northerly influence reaching a maximum speed of force 4 (13 – 18 mph). By mid morning they became direct westerly veering to south westerly as the day progressed. The winds generally over the south of England were lighter from the west which was sustained for most of the day.
The race turned out to be a great success with most fanciers that I spoke to when writing this report having recorded 100% returns. Once again I should emphasise that the positions quoted in this report are purely provisional and are based on members’ first bird verifications. The final result could possibly vary considerably if the members highlighted have clocked subsequent pigeons close together.
Leading the way in the young bird race with a velocity of 1631 ypm taking 1st East section 1st Open was a Delbar x Janssen Van Loon hen to the Eastbourne loft of Peter Howard and Sue Gore. The partners’ National winner is a dark chequer pied hen raced on the natural system. Hatched in March, she had received two preparatory races from Lyndhurst and Blandford Forum before going over the water to Guernsey. I’ll let Sue Gore relate the story of their National winning hen: “The hen was bred from a Delbar cock bred from Adam Vogels’ stock which he gave us when he gave up the sport. They were originally from Dessing of Holland. The dam is a Janssen van Loon which came from stock given to us from our good friend Jim Allen of Kingswood nr Bristol, where I went today to take him some bantams. She was flying back to a Barker stock cock who had taken her fancy (Sugar Daddy!), if you know what I mean. Funny thing is she was in the stock loft eating their field beans and barley, rather than the yb mix in the young bird loft! Isn't love a wonderful thing? When she arrived, because she was so early (we had estimated 3 hrs) we thought she was a hen we were missing from the previous week, who looks very similar. The penny then dropped that it was our little BICC hen. Pete then called and she trapped straight away. Not often do you get away with that on race day. I checked the ETS and yes it was confirmed. In preparation for the Guernsey race she had 2 training tosses to Seaford 4 miles, 2 to Devils Dyke 18 miles, 2 to Ford 32 miles. She then flew Lyndhurst 78 miles and was late back to the loft. Blandford 99 miles 8th back to the loft, then straight into Guernsey. Food before she went with her ‘Sugar Daddy’ was Countywide's half young bird no maize and half super widowhood, broken down with depurative on Monday and Tuesday with peanuts for trapping. All young birds are kept together; we don't like to separate and if they lay an egg we replace it with a crock egg. In the afternoon our friend Tracy Andrews phoned to say well done, we were lying first. We couldn't believe it and are still on cloud 9 now.” Congratulations Peter and Sue on your National win.
Peter Howard & Sue Gore
The lofts of Howard & Gore overlooking the Cuckmere Valley
BICC winning YB Tye Lass 2
1st Centre section 2nd Open goes to the Brighton partnership of L & G Sullivan & P Gent who clocked one of their in form young bird team to record 1625 ypm. The sire to this pigeon is bred from their 1st National Flying Club winner when paired to a daughter of the “Ice Man” from Sheldon Leonard of Ireland, The partners’ young bird racing this year in the Brighton Central club has gone really well, with them to date winning 5 x 1st club and also topping the South Coast Fed twice, once with a sister to their Guernsey timer. The strains kept originate from Mark Gilbert, Sheldon Leonard and John Heightley.
Another Brighton partnership, that of Peter Russell & Philip Nye comes in at 2nd Centre section 3rd Open velocity 1621 ypm, timing a young Janssen hen bred from birds obtained some years ago at Lier Market. This hen was raced on the darkness system and had previously been entered in four inland races taking 2nd club Exeter the week before going to Guernsey. Peter and Phil have only started racing in the B.I.C.C. this year. Their main family of pigeons are based on Janssens which originate from pigeons purchased by Peter in Belgium 6 years ago.
Peter Russell & Philip Nye
Meg Murray from Burnham on Crouch in Essex is always there or thereabouts in BICC races and here Meg clocked a chequer hen velocity 1571 for 2nd East section 4th Open. Meg’s timer has flown consistently well throughout the young bird season. Her sire is a Vandenabeele cock called the ‘Roman Lord’, one of six young birds that came to Meg from Stuart Ager of Tilbury when they exchanged youngsters in 2009. That year the ‘Roman Lord’ won the YB race from Guernsey with the London & South East Classic Club and is obviously passing on his winning genes. The dam of Meg’s young bird was actually flying in the BICC’s OH race alongside the young birds and was Meg’s fourth bird to the loft. She is an ’07 bred hen and has put up some good racing performances over the years as well as breeding winning youngsters. She was bred from a lovely ¾ Soontjen, ¼ SVR cock that came to Meg from fellow club member Lee Bastone, crossed with one of Craig Booth’s of Hartlepool, super Kavanagh Busschaert hens. Meg pairs up towards the end of December start of January, taking about fifty youngsters that are put on the darkness until the middle of June by which time they are ranging well at home. Once off the darkness it’s into the training basket and down the road every day until they are confident enough to go on the transporter for mid-week training. Meg would like to say a big thank you to Pam and John Gladwin for running the OB and YB training at no reward to themselves. She says it makes a big difference when the young birds are used to coming off the transporter with other birds before the first race.
Lee Bastone, Meg’s near neighbour in Burnham on Crouch, comes in at 3rd East section 5th Open velocity 1569 ypm. The sire of Lee’s young hen is a Soontjen down through that top breeding pair Sabre and Secret. The dam is out of Ray Forbes’ No.1 stock cock the ‘Shiftie Cock’. Lee only sent his young hens to this race; the best cocks will go on to make a good yearling team. He flies widowhood and races fewer than a dozen cocks every year with great results. He pairs up in December and YB training only starts when they come off the darkness in mid June. Then the youngsters go to every young bird club race. Lee’s young birds are brought up on Gerry Plus and Junior UK and he does the usual treatments throughout the year for canker, respiratory, worms etc.
Mr & Mrs Waterhouse of Portsmouth timed for a velocity of 1557 ypm to take 3rd Centre section 6th Open. I was unable to contact the partners to get information on their pigeon.
Packer & Clark from Grays in Essex come in next on a velocity of 1544 ypm to take 4th East section 7th Open. The partners clocked a young Vandenabeele cock of Eisenhower and Jack Jones lines. Flown on the darkness system he was enjoying his first race outing of the season, having been previously only been trained in the lead up to the Guernsey race. This training is fairly intensive out to 70 miles with home exercise once per day if the birds have been trained in the morning.
At 5th East section 8th Open velocity 1544 ypm is a young smokey chequer hen raced by D Wilton & Son of Chadwell St Mary in Essex who actually had two birds drop together. The first one over the ETS pad is one of a batch of 12 youngsters purchased from Jamie Clark of Canterbury. The sire is from Ron Williamson bloodlines and the dam is a grand daughter of Brockamp’s Euro Diamond. Raced on the darkness system the young birds are kept separate and then left to run together just prior to basketing.
Gladwin, Jarvis & Family come in next at 6th East section 9th Open velocity 1543 ypm with a blue pied hen flown on the sliding door system. She is a Formula 1 Lofts’ Frans Zwols being bred from two direct Zwols. The hen has been very consistent throughout the young bird programme but has just missed out on the prizes on a number of occasions. The partner’s young birds have been coming very well, winning 4 of the 5 y/b races up to Saturday. They have also won 3x2nds 4x3rds 2x4th and 1x5th in the Open of the Federation in the first 5 y/b races - so a form loft continuing to show good form at National level.
Mr & Mrs Harris & Daughter of Portchester take 4th Centre section and 10th Open, velocity 1533 ypm. The partners would like to congratulate Howard & Gore on their win. This partnership consists of father Steve, mother Yvette and daughter Lauren. They started off this season with 60 young birds which were raced on the darkness system. So far this season they have come 4th Open, 2nd section B & 28th open, 13th section B Fougeres old bird N.F.C out of 7,064 birds, 46th open, 2nd section B & 79th open, 3rd section B old bird Cholet N.F.C. also provisionally 4th section, 19th open Carentan young bird with the C.S.C.F.C. Having only joined the B.I.C.C a month ago, this is their first prize with the BICC. The hen bird that came first in the clock is a Jan Theelan x Vandenabeele bred by Steve’s dad. The partners got 7/10 on the day with 2 back early next morning. The 10th open winner has had a few inland races with the club and will be going to Fougeres young bird National with the N.F.C. this week. Versele Laga mixtures and Gem pigeon supplements are used on a regular basis.
Mr & Mrs Harris & Dtr
Over in the west section the legendary Brian Sheppard of Trowbridge clocked two sharp ones together and these look to be good for 1st & 2nd section vels 1286. First to trap was a Jos Thone cross, bred by Sean Burrows and gifted to Brian. This young cock flown on the natural system was feeding a small squab. Right behind was another gift bird, this one bred by Bob Fenech from his fast flying Cooremans. Sitting eggs, he was obviously keen for the job in hand. Brian allows his youngsters an open loft from early morning until lunch time when they are fed in and locked up for the day. The Sheppard team are raced and trained hard along the south coast and as far west as Plymouth. It certainly doesn’t harm them as Brian had 10 from 10 on the day. He would like to thank both Sean and Bob for their generosity in gifting him their birds.
Brian Sheppard pictured a few years back with Champion Jingles. Brian looks to be 1st & 2nd West section BICC Guernsey YBs.
Next in the west section and probably 3rd section is one to the Rushwick, Worcester loft of John Rodway. John clocked a May bred natural young bird which had previously had just two preparatory races from 80 & 127 miles. John also enjoyed 100% returns having three from three on the day.
The North section winner was clocked near Ipswich at the Otley loft of A Wright & Daughter recording a velocity of 1489 pm. Anthony and Bethany’s winning pigeon was in fact bred by Paul Warren of Ipswich and is of Jan Aarden x Jan Theelen bloodlines. Bred in March she has been raced on the darkness system and had received three races out to 120 miles before going over the water to Guernsey.
Bethany Wright of A. Wright & Daughter - 1st North sect BICC Guernsey YB
Mr & Mrs Strowger of Leiston in Suffolk come in at 2nd North section vel 1472 ypm. This red cheq hen came from the lofts of Ray Lander of Pinxton, Notts. The strain of this red chequer is a Marcelis. As with all the Strowger young birds she was raced on the darkness system, coming off on the 21st June. They are raced on the sliding door. Her first race she won 1st club, 1st Fed, then the loft suffered young bird sickness, so did not race for 3weeks. She was then sent to Littlehampton and Tilbury before going to Guernsey. She will be basketed on Thursday for the NFC race from Fougeres which is 294 miles. All being well she will go to Tours with the High Littleton Flying Club at 335 miles. Roger would like to congratulate Anthony Wright from the Ipswich club on winning the north section.
The Sutton Heath partnership of Flowers & Clark takes 3rd North section vel 1410 ypm. The timer is a darkness hen which was allowed access to some of the loft’s young cocks a couple of days prior to basketing for Guernsey. She has had every club race so far this season and is bred from the best of Clive Yates’s Wildemeersch when crossed with some direct Joop Koch pigeons.
The winner in the old hens’ race was clocked at Pevensey Bay near Eastbourne at the loft of D Grant recording a velocity of 1674 ypm for 1st East section and 1st Open. This blue hen has raced well this season winning 6th club Massac and 18th club Saintes. In the Queen’s Jubilee Race from Tours she was 10th club, 10th fed, 10th combine. She also scored from Bergerac 10th club and now to top it all, 1st BICC Old Hens. Doug tells me she is of Delbar x Janssen bloodlines. Raced on the roundabout system early in the season, she was mated and sent to Guernsey sitting eggs. Feeding at the Grant loft is best quality super widowhood mix fed by hand twice daily.
Doug Grant holding his winner
Doug Grant's 1st Open BICC Guernsey Old Hens' winner
In the R/U spot in both the East section and open result, velocity 1547 ypm, is one to the Benfleet, Essex partnership of J & J Brady. The first in the clock is a 2 year old hen named Zuni which also finished 2nd in this race last year beaten by her loft mate. She then went on to finish 3rd section, 6th open LSECC Carentan and the following week she was 5th section 13th open NFC Fougeres National. This season in her first race she was 3rd federation TNEC FC from Basingstoke, also beaten by a loft mate. She is also provisionally 13th Open LSECC from Vire this season. Her breeding is sire direct Jos Thone x dam the partners’ best Janssen breeding hen. Sent sitting 14 day eggs, she will return to Guernsey on the 8th of September with the BICC and will then be retired to stock with the partners’ other National winning hens.
J & J Brady
Provisionally 3rd East section 3rd Open is a hen named ''Silent Lady'' raced by Lee Jackson of Bromley. Lee writes: “My ETS was worth its weight in gold on Sunday as I was all set up, cocks locked away and was concentrating on my young bird team. I then decided to go to the race loft at 11.30 and found ''Silent Lady'' in the loft beaking with her cock having been there for 10 minutes. She is bred down through my National winning family. Her father, “Mr Inquisitive”, is full nest brother to “Miss Inquisitive” the dam of our ''Outlaw Cock'' winner of 1st Open NFC Fougeres. She is a double GG daughter of Jos Thone’s ace producer ''SUMO''. Guernsey was the hen’s 3rd channel race of the season. Having been trained hard she was jumped into B.I.C.C. Le Mans for her 1st race of this season then flew Vire in the L.S.E.C.C last week and will be sent to the NFC Vire event next weekend.”
Meg Murray of Burnham on Crouch is there yet again at 4th East section 4th Open with a three year old blue hen, bred from one of her top stock pairs. The cock of this pair is actually grandsire to the YB taking provisional 2nd Section, 4th Open in the YB race. As stated earlier in the YB report, he is a Soontjen cross SVR and was gifted to Meg in 2007 as a 2 year old from Lee Bastone. Lee flies a few yards away from Meg but has given her some fantastic birds over the years. In fact the dam of the old hen is another Soontjen from his loft. She is down through Sabre and Secret and has been paired to the cock for the past four years producing some really great young birds. Meg does not fly widowhood, nor does she fly natural. She likes racing her hens and describes what she does as a sort of roundabout. The cocks and hens are housed separately and fly out round the loft separately but on training days they all go together and she follows them into the loft and splits them immediately on their return. On race days they all go, cocks and hens – a method that has worked well for her over the years. When OB racing is finished the old hens are paired up so that they are sent to the first old hens’ race on chipping eggs or newly hatched babies and then to the second race on a bigger youngster. She does the usual canker, cocci etc. treatment before the start of the racing season and spot treats if needed during racing. She uses a lot of garlic in the water and feeds mostly Gerry Plus, strengthening the mix with heavier corn as the week goes on.
D Wilton & Son of Chadwell St Mary clock another good bird at 5th Open in the OH’s race to complement their timer in the YB race which took 8th Open. This one has shown a fair bit of form in the lead up to Guernsey with 18th Open LSECC from Vire the week before. She was sent sitting 12 day youngsters and her breeding shows “King of the Faroes” lines on the sire’s side and Keith Platt bloodlines on the dam’s side of the pedigree.
Rob Wilton & Son
The brothers Derek Packer and Brian Clark come in again at 6th section 6th Open with another of their M & D Evans Vandenabeeles sent sitting eggs. The brothers do not compete at club level but train privately to 70 miles and then jump their birds, both young and old, into National and Classic races across the channel.
Packer & Clark
David Coward-Talbot of Chelmsford has been prominent on the racing scene for more than four decades gaining success with various families of pigeons. In the Guernsey race he clocked a hen that had previously won 2nd sect 4th Open BICC Tours in 2011 to win here 7th section 7th Open. Her breeding shows Musa Son on both sides of her pedigree as her sire was bred from Musa Son when he was mated to Pauline 2nd National 4th International Pau, whilst her dam is bred from Musa Son when paired to a daughter of Vale Cahors. Blood will tell.
The Rochester partnership of Trevor Wise and Steve Tilley come in next at 8th sect 8th Open timing a Vandenabeele blue yearling hen that was sent feeding a squab as she had been sitting eggs with another hen and the baby was slipped under the pair just prior to basketting. Earlier in the season the hen had finished well up at 34th Open in the BICC Le Mans race and is bred direct from the partners’ winner of 1st Open High Littleton Open in the Tours young bird race.
Wise & Tilley
At 9th Open we have another yearling this time a blue hen entered by Mr & Mrs Josch of Hailsham. This one is bred down from a combination of German and South African pigeons that the partners brought with them when they settled in this country. Feeding is a high carbohydrate mixture made up by the partners. The Guernsey race was the hen’s seventh race of the season but her first over the channel.
Jurgen Josch with his blue hen
9th Open BICC OHs for Mr & Mrs Jurgen Josch
Completing the top ten in the Open result was one to C. Draper of Yalding. Unfortunately, despite several attempts, I was unable to contact Mr Draper.
The Centre section winner was clocked at the Brighton loft of Peter Gretton vel 1437 ypm. Peter timed a 2 year old blue pied hen bred from a O’Hare & Woodward SVR cock when mated to a hen obtained from Danny Knapp from Danny’s German family. Raced on roundabout early in the season, she was sent to Guernsey feeding two small squabs. A full sister to this hen finished at 35th Open in the RPRA one loft race flown on the same day picking up £225 for a local school charity.
In 2nd section vel 1429 ypm is one to 74 year old D. Mitchell of Bray. The Mitchell timer is a 2 year old chequer pied hen of Jimmy Richards x Martin Mitchell Van Hee bloodlines raced on the natural system and sent feeding two newly hatched squabs.
Mr & Mrs Chaplin of Woking come in next at 3rd section timing a 2 year old chequer w/f hen of Burgher x Wildermeersch x Busschaert bloodlines that was used as a mate for one of the widowhood cock team earlier in the season. Trained and exercised with the young bird team, she was re mated and sent to Guernsey sitting eggs having flown the LSECC Vire race the week previous.
Over in the west section John Fretwell of Evesham clocked the winner velocity 1289 ypm. John clocked four sharp ones which could well mop up all the prizes in the West section. First to clock is a pure Marcel Sangers bred from direct stock. Second bird is a Sangers x Koopman and the third hen home is a full sister to the first. All these hens were used as widowhood hens early in the season until their racing mates were lost. They were then placed in a separate section and exercised every day. Just prior to basketing for Guernsey a few spare cocks were let in with them and “all hell broke loose” leading to a terrific team performance.
The lofts of John Fretwell
The winner in the North section is Philip Harrod of Lowestoft with his champion hen “Putty’s Pride”. This is a 4 year old blue hen of Vandenabeele bloodlines and she certainly has a long list of ‘previous’ which includes the following top class performances: 1st sect 2nd Open NFC Fougeres; 4th sect BICC Guernsey; 4th sect 21st Open NFC in the 2011 old hens’ National. She was sent to Tours with the BICC earlier in the season and topped the North section when feeding a 7 day old squab which certainly seemed to motivate her. She now tops the North section of the BICC from Guernsey yet again feeding a 7 day old baby. Some pigeon that Philip!! Philip would like to thank the workers at the local marking station so take a bow Molly, Sue and Sheila your efforts have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
Mr & Mrs Strowger of Leiston come in next at 2nd North section. This little cheq hen was purchased at a fundraising event in 2011. It came from the lofts of Colin Smith of Ipswich. As a young bird she was raced on the darkness system and was 6th club Portsmouth 151miles. A week later she was sent to Guernsey with the BICC club 261 miles winning 1st NSCC federation, 1st section BICC, 51st open BICC. The following week she went back to Fougeres with the NFC, 294 miles and came back on the 24-9-11 with her keel smashed up. This season, as a yearling, she was used as a widowhood hen early in the season and was then re-mated having three training races with the young birds before going to Guernsey. Mr Strowger would like to congratulate his friend Putty Harrod for winning the north section.
Ipswich fanciers L Abrams & Sons complete the top three in the North section. Father Len and two sons Leonard and Michael clocked a 2 year old Vandenabeele hen that was used as a widowhood hen at the beginning of the season. She was then mated and will go to all of the Old Hens’ Nationals if fit and well. Feeding here is Versele Laga and Natural Continental mixes mixed 50/50.
That’s yer lot for this week. Last race Guernsey YBs and Old Hens on 8th September. Don’t forget to book your weekend at Bournemouth in February - you won’t regret it.