Dave & James Novis 1st young birds and Doug Grant 1st old birds Guernsey BICC

The first young bird race of the British International Championship Club race program was held on the weekend of 18th August from Guernsey in conjunction with old birds liberated simultaneously. The total of 2,213 YB's and 1,177 Any Age birds were held over for one day due to low cloud and poor visibility on the island but at 7:45am the following morning they were released into a broken sky with a fresh west wind. 

A fast race was expected and indeed the winning young bird attained a speed of 68 mph and the old bird 70 mph. Pigeons racing to costal locations have to hold their line at these speeds as there is no time for doubling back on themselves and the two winning lofts did just that with pigeons in Essex close behind them in the result.


Dave and James NovisThe young bird race was won by Father and Son partnership Dave Novis flying with his son James. Dave at 66 years old has lived at the same location all his life and began keeping pigeons at the age of eleven. As a boy he would sit on the railings and watch local fancier Ronny Gunn work his birds who encouraged him to get some of his own. Dave had two rabbit hutches at the time, emptied one and went to the local pet shop to buy two racers. He was told to keep them in for a week before letting them out and they would return, but he thinks they went back to the shop to be sold again.

Ronny helped him out and a lifelong fancier was created, he got the bug which has stayed with him although he did take short breaks from racing as family commitments came along. His son James did not really take much interest as a boy although he did clean them out on occasions for his Dad who had his successes over the years, winning Bergerac three times along with other race points. But five years ago, when James had found the girl to steady him down enough to save for a home of their own, began to take more notice of the pigeons and an obsession soon followed. 

In 2013 he bought 12 Van Loon X Janssen young birds from Mark Childs in Cleethorpes of which three won, with one topping the federation and although they have never actually met Mark has spent many hours on the telephone with James helping him learn the widowhood racing system, as James had noticed all the top loft in his club flew widowhood. Dave was happy to race natural and enjoyed seeing them come home so now the roles have reversed with Dad the admin officer and son the race team manager. James says widowhood is the system to suit him because he likes the shorter channel races and it fits in easier around his work commitments. 

They timed a young dark hen to win the BICC Guernsey that was early bred but not put onto the darkness system and they were really pleased as she was bred from two of their best racers with the sire bred from Louella Van Loons being a winner of seven first prizes and the dam a fed topper herself. They followed the principle of pairing best to best and its paid off for them. A stock loft which houses their own retired winning pigeons is their goal and they are off to a great start.
They said it is a real privilege to win the BICC and it was an amazing surprise when the Secretary called with the news. They know how difficult it is and James got quite emotional as the news slowly sunk in.

On the morning of the race they had only just prepared the loft for the first arrivals, put out two droppers, opened the loft doors when it began to rain but the little hen came right on the line of Princess Pier in Brighton and trapped immediately back to her perch. They would like to thank the all concerned and commented that the birds are always very well looked after with the BICC.


Doug GrantThe old bird race was won 25 miles further along the coast by Doug Grant in Pevensley. A previous winner of the BICC from Guernsey in 2012 and although 2nd open from Falaise this season, his year has not been the best as he had to stop racing for a few weeks. His young birds took a nasty turn with E. coli and he lost 16 of them, so whilst he and his vet at Belgica Deweerd got the infection under control, he did not want to spread anything amongst his club mates. So, his winning cock bird was having only his fourth race of the season from Guernsey. After several weeks in the loft he was given a 108-mile race as preparation and repaired to be sitting eggs. 

Doug and his partner Sharon just love to have livestock around them. Their home and garden are shared by cage birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoise, quails, chickens, bantams and a dog as well as a large tropical fish tank. They clearly love their animals and spend most of their time with them. Working as a Carer in the community Doug has taken a career change from Fencing for the last 26 years but he loves it and although he is looking forward to retiring in a few months, he will still work part time to help people in need. 

His passion for his pigeons has been life long and he too was over the moon when the Secretary called to inform him of his win. It was misty, and he was not expecting them to make the speed his pigeon did so although he was ready at the loft, he was in the house checking his basketing list when he saw a bird drop to the loft through the window. To his surprise it was his cock bird from Guernsey and six minutes later the second of his seven entries arrived with the rest coming back along the coast from the east.
The sire was a Janssen from his friend Jourgan Josch who sadly passed away a couple of years ago and is considered a great loss to the club. Jourgan was always very generous and had bred a small team out of his stock loft for Doug to try. The dam is of Delbar bloodlines which Doug has had for many years with the originals being from John Trip who is also no longer with us. 

He and his club mates have done very well in the BICC this season with two 1st Open a 2nd Open and 3rd Open and he said it put a lump in his throat when Carol told him he had won. With his obvious love for livestock, his compassionate outlook and forth coming retirement giving him more time to spend with the birds, I fully expect him to build on this seasons outstanding results in the British International Championship Club and to be visiting his Pevensley home again.

Guernsey AirportThe race controllers John Tyerman sent me his report as follows;
"The BICC again had a very good entry for both the YB and Old Bird Nationals from Guernsey. Marking and collection of birds from the various marking stations went smoothly and both Transporters were used to take the birds over to Guernsey. There were concerns over the weather on Saturday and despite waiting till 2pm the heavy cloud cover made it impossible to liberate the pigeons, so a hold over was called. Ironically the weather cleared soon after and another organisation was able to liberate from the Island. Our weather advisor Steve Appleby was fairly confident that there would be a small window of opportunity to liberate early on the Sunday morning, but we were aware that the cloud cover would remain in the channel. Satellite imageThe weather buoys showed good visibility on the channel and with blue skies and sunshine the birds were liberated at 7:45 am, and cleared well off the island in a fairly strong SW wind. A fast race ensued with winning velocities between l900 and 2000 ypm. We were aware that the birds did later run into some light drizzle in the Solent area but overall the returns for both Old and Young birds were good. Congratulations to the winners.
Steve Appleby also sent his report; At first light on Sunday morning a window of good weather developed over the Channel Isles which is exactly what was forecast. At 08:00 hours the captured satellite image clearly identifies Guernsey under broken cloud and sunshine as seen by the camera at the airport. This window only became available for a couple of hours. The cloud approaching from the south west (see red arrows on the image and Guernsey circled yellow) soon moved over the Islands and by 09:00 hours the liberation sky was lost for the rest of the day. The race controllers John and Mark were made aware of the situation which resulted in the 07:45 liberation. Our convoyers reported an excellent liberation with the birds clearing the Island immediately. Winds over the channel came from the south west and were recorded by the channel Met Buoys at speeds gusting up to 24 mph (21 knots) and visibility was 11 miles plus. Conditions over England were dry but overcast with a few bright intervals at times."

New and views to Chris Sutton 01530 242548


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