What is the British International Championship Club
In the winter of 1976 Ted Bennett, Tony Cowan and Norman Fooks were all keen to enhance membership of the Hampshire Two Bird Championship Club by including the Pau International in their program, and following discussions with the Secretary, Dr Paduwa and other Belgian officials an open race licence for Pau was granted by the RPRA. Colin Osman of the Racing Pigeon Magazine gave sponsorship and publicity to the event, and although the UK entries for the first Pau International were relatively small, the race was successful with Ted Bennett and others clocking birds into the UK early on the 2nd morning.
As a result of the Pau success many other distance fanciers showed interest, and during the winter of 1977 the Hampshire Officials traveled to Kent and met with John Cecil, Geoff Hunt and Cyril Wells to discuss the possibility of forming a new Club to concentrate on International Racing. An inaugural meeting was called which took place in London, and was chaired by Colin Osman of the Racing pigeon. Further publicity and adverts resulted in an open meeting being held at Molesley Football Club early in l978, and following considerable discussion it was agreed to form a new club, which was to be called ‘The British International Championship Club’ Tony Cowan ran several auctions to raise funding for the new Club and there is no doubt that all these gentlemen put considerable time and effort into making the Club a success from day one.
The National races were introduced in later years, in order to give members the opportunity to prepare their birds for the longer International events, and they have proved to be very popular. The best part of some forty plus years on from those early days and the BICC has grown into one of the most successful Clubs in the Country, with members in recent years winning outright no less than ten International Races and regularly gaining top positions. We have been fortunate to have some excellent past and present Officials who have worked hard to ensure the BICC remains in the Premier league and it is now-a-days an International club with worldwide recognition, along with a membership and head-count around the fifteen hundred mark.
(We are grateful to Ted Bennett who provided the background information on the formation of the BICC)
More about the British International Championship Club
The BICC is very different from other UK Clubs, insomuch the club offers its members the opportunity to race in both National, and International races from France and Spain.
In the Internationals you will be competing against thousands of pigeons entered by top quality fanciers from Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany. These International races, now-a-days obtain world-wide recognition via both the media and the internet, to include such web prominent sites as PIPA. Brian Shepherd was the first of the International winners from Dax International. Dave Posey is another BICC member to have also chalked up an International hens win back in 2004. In 2011 the Bullen family from south London won the highly prestigious Pau International, from over 8000 competing birds, and just three weeks later Geoff & Catherine Cooper again put the UK on the map by winning 1st, and 3rd, the Agen International, from over 22,000 pigeons with their now famous pigeon Farmer George. More recently in 2013 Geoff & Catherine Cooper won the Pau International. Mark Gilbert won the Hens and Yearling Internationals in the same event, and in 2015 Bob Besant & Son claimed another outright International win at Agen, with Geoff & Catherine Cooper also winning first International Hens at St. Vincent in 2015.
The BICC is now recognised as one of the premier clubs in Europe on the International racing scene. The BICC National races were introduced several years ago, in order to give fanciers the opportunity to prepare their pigeons for competition in the longer International races. However, many of our members prefer to race only in the National and the young bird events, so overall there is a wide variety of choice in this very diverse and challenging program. The BICC (as members will already be aware) allows entrants to arrive with their entries at any one of the eighteen marking stations and pay for their entries on-the-day of race marking, without the necessity (as in many other Nationals and Classics), to pay a week or more in advance.
What are the Internationals
There are a number of pigeon races world-wide, which involve more than one single competing country. The most famous; oldest and world renowned of these events constitute the Europa Cup Internationals. These races are all organised by the Belgium societies listed below: –
DV – EB
Club Fond Wallonie
Another International race of equal importance, but not currently within the Europa Cup but on the BICC race program is: –
The Agen International organized by Les Amis de Bordeaux
What is the Europa Cup
This is the highest possible award that any competing fancier in any of the European Countries mentioned, can achieve. Only the first two entries, as written on your race sheet, qualify, regardless of how many birds you may have entered. The fancier with the best average of these two entries in all six of the Europa Cup International races wins! As you will appreciate this system means that large team entrants do not have an advantage. On the Continent, the winners of the Europa Cup very often achieve considerable media and television coverage, which in turn attracts world-wide interest.
Which Nations Compete.
Here is a minimum qualifying distance for all the races, which as a consequence excludes the southern parts of France; some of southern Germany, and also the Channel Islands The current competing countries are:-
Belgium; Holland; Germany; Luxembourg; Poland; France, and Great Britain.
Marseille has the shortest qualifying distance which allows more German fanciers to compete than the other races.
International Results ~ Open Results & Hens Only Results.
In all of the International races, there are effectively two races. The first is the Open International into which all pigeons are entered and compete, whilst the second is a separate Hens only International result. The result is fully published with the possibility to order and pre-pay to have a copy of the result at the time of entering the race. 1 in 4 prizes are given, which means that if (say) 10,000 pigeons are entered in the race, then a result for the first 2,500 is produced. Not all of these positions necessarily receive prize money. The race effectively closes when the result is full, so there is no specific time limit.
For further information on the above, or for an application form please phone, write or Email the race secretary ~ Mrs Carol Francis