Kevin and Lee Buddle of Dover.
The British International Championship Club race from Narbonne was liberated on Saturday 26th July, after a one-day hold over, due to bad weather. A total of 108 UK pigeons entered by 36 members set out at 6.10 am to compete against 20,888 pigeons from all over Europe and it was of no surprise to me to see the loft of Kevin and Lee topping the leaderboard, early on the second day.
This was on the cards for this loft as they have been 7th, 15th & 17th Open from Pau flying 545 miles, 13th & 23rd Open from Agen flying 480 miles, 2nd, 7th and 9th Open flying 673 miles. 21st Open St Vincent flying 528 miles and the race prior to this Narbonne win they were 3rd & 5th Open from Marseille flying 594 miles.
The origin of their pigeons are from some birds gifted to Lee by Brian Williams who recognized his keenness for the International racing scene. In fact the mother of the loft is from these birds which have been supplemented by acquisitions from Jim Biss, Dave Hales and Paul Kendal.
The winning pigeon is full of what they term “Old English” distance blood and she had previously won 39th Open BICC Agen 2013 484m. Her sire is a son of Dave Hales “80” 1st & 4th BICC Perpignan 617m & 38th NFC Tarbes 580m and our top racing hen “Game” 3rd & 7th BICC Perpignan & 15th & 27th BICC Pau. The dam is a Daughter of “Amoy” 1st BICC Pau 2009 545m & “BC” 2nd BICC Pau 2009 both raced by th epartners and they were the only two birds on the day of liberation into the UK.
But they are not a loft of big numbers and carry an old bird team of around 12 to compete and choose their entries very carefully. It has to be said that a loft that can send 5 pigeons to Barcelona and time 4 of them from this most difficult of all races in the International program, must be top quality and bred from pigeons which have such performances themselves. Also, sending three pigeons to Narbonne International and timing all three shows the Barcelona result was no fluke.
They sent three hens, all raced on roundabout and they timed all three to take 1st, 3rd and 10th Open positions but their last arrival had taken a nasty knock and was missing a few feathers on her breast, which stands as testament to their determination to reach home.
As it was a hard race the partners commented on how they had “put in a good shift” and initially thought they would be a little off the pace. But at nightfall on the first day the longest flying pigeon was at 850km and they fly 896km so a pigeon very early the next morning was expected.
Being at the loft at 4:30, Kevin said he thought it was too dark until 5:30 for pigeons to fly the channel. But when their pigeon arrived at 9:21 am, it was considered a little off the pace to win the BICC National. When they are waiting for their pigeons from the International races they do not like to know any times until they have one arrive themselves so it was not until they verified that the secretary told them they were the first. It was another two hours before their second pigeon came and it was at the verification of that one that they realised they might actually get the top spot on this occasion.
The winning pigeon, now named “Elsa” by Lee’s daughter, after a Disney Princess in the film Frozen, had been hawked whilst racing from Tours with the British International Championship Club and returned with out any tail feathers at all. So she was rested for three weeks and re-entered into two short club races when it had grown 90% up.
That was all the preparation she had and was considered the least prepared of the three sent. But she looked in tiptop condition and after spending the day locked in her nest box with her partner she was ready to go.
She was paired on Valentines Day and allowed to rear youngsters before being placed on the roundabout system and each day they are exercised from their section. As the partners concentrate their whole season around the seven International races and slowly build up their team to excel from the end of June.
Pre season they will give them 4 or 5 20 mile training tosses and then race them in the local club each week to reach fitness. They often do not have a clock set for these races as they know their pigeons will not compete at the short distance, nor do they want them to.
The hens have a trough in the centre of the section floor where there is always food available and the cocks have theirs fed to them in the nest box, in clay pots. Again this pot is always contains the Verselle Laga Super Star mixture with them receiving a pinch, between thumb and two fingers, of sunflower hearts as a treat, in preparation for the channel races and as the distance increases, a third finger is used and they receive a little more.
3rd National BICC Marseille Int 2014 594m
4th National BICC Marseille Int 2011 594m
9th National BICC Marseille Int 2013 594m
13th National BICC Agen Int 2014 480m
24th National BICC Perpignan Int 2012 579m
37th National BICC Pau Int 2011 544m
60th National BICC Pau Int 2013 545m
64th National BICC Pau Int 2012 545m
5th Nat BICC Barcelona Int 2011 673m.
9th Nat BICC Barcelona Int 2014 673m.
10th Nat BICC Barcelona Int 2013 673m.
Verified Injured Barcelona Int 2012 673m.
2nd Nat BICC Barcelona 2014 673m
6th sec E, 33rd Open NFC Tarbes 548m 2011
41st Nat BICC Perpignan Int 579m 2013
91st Nat BICC Agen Int 484m 2013.
2x 1st Club Le Mans 220m
5th Open BICC St Vincent 531m 2013
15th Open BICC Pau 545m 2014
22nd Open BICC St Vincent 531m 2014
30th Open BICC Pau (on the day) 545m 2013
1st Open BICC Pau Int 545m (on the day) 2009.
61st Open BICC Tarbes Int 548m 2008
2nd Open BICC Pau 545m 2009 (on the day & beaten by loft mate!)
1st Club Bergerac 2008 435m (single entry)
GB09N17230 “Day 30”
11th BICC St Vincent Int 531m (on the day) 2012
45th BICC Pau Int 545m (on the day) 2012.
43rd BICC Pau Int 545m 2013.
58th BICC St Vincent Int 531m 2013.
88th BICC Agen Int 481m 2011.
111th BICC Pau Int 545m 2013.
13th BICC Perpignan Int 2013 579m
39th BICC Barcelona Int 2014 673m
62nd BICC Agen Int 2011 484m
146th BICC Agen Int 2012 483m.
7th BICC Barcelona Int 2014 673m
51st BICC St Vincent Int 2013 531m
75th BICC St Vincent Int 2012 531m
78th BICC Perpignan Int 2013 579m