When champions from Holland and Belgium open foreign pigeon magazines they are surprised to read about all the medicine and supplements that are promoted. And they cannot stop laughing when they read about so/called secrets that ´only the champions know about and keep it a secret’. Can you blame those papers that they publish such ads? Of course not. Without the money that is paid for publicity they would not be able to survive.
Do you feel good when you give your pigeons much medicine and all kinds of supplements? That is fine for me. Feeling good is important. In the past it was not much different in Europe. Advertisers suggested that you could forget being successful if you did not give your birds all kinds of stuff. Stuff that they sold of course. To-day you do not see those ads any more. Fanciers became smarter. They, that means most of them, do not believe in that shit any more.
ME AND MYSELF
In June 2019 there was a report on me in the leading pigeon magazine De Duif. The reporter wondered if anybody in the whole country would perform better than me. Indeed, week after week my pretty small team performed unbelievably. EVERY RACE AGAIN in all kinds of weather. And believe me: No vet, no medicine, no supplements. But what I did do is go after good birds as long as I have practised this sport. For that you should be able to read and interpret results well. I daresay I am not stupid concerning this.
I will tell you what I mean. Somewhere in Belgium a fancier performs fantastic, once he won 1 to 10. I would not want his bird though. The speed of his winners is too low compared with others and the gaps between the arrivals too big. In that race the difference between his winner and his 10th bird that won 10th prize was 6 minutes. And 6 minutes a race lasted in a neighbouring club. 300 of 902 birds were home then.
Some years ago I had a dinner with some fanciers. They were not ‘just fanciers´, but real champions. Or what do you think about Vandenabeele, Rik Cools, Joost de Smeyter, Willem de Bruijn, and a well-known vet. And you know what we talked about?
Not about medicine or medication, we did not talk about supplements or ‘secrets’. Good pigeons and location we talked about. Location is very important every race. Remember that National Ace long distance in 2018 from Belgium that was recently sold for 1,200,500 euro´s. The owner of the bird lived in West Flanders, so quite in the west of the country. I respect the bird, it was really good. But everybody knows that this bird would not have become National Ace of the fancier would have lived elsewhere. 2018 was a warm year with much Eastern wind. Fanciers in the East, the middle or the North of the country had no chance due to Eastern wind in many races. And if the same bird would have been in the loft of a fancier in the east, it would not have become national Ace either.,
Every 3 or 4 months W de Bruijn, J Hermans and me have a dinner together. It is on Jan because we work for him. Even though we have different characters and we think different we respect each other. There is nothing wrong with having different opinions, is there? Willem and me think that, if you race at the greatest distance (the far end) you have the least chances to win a race.
Mr. A Coolen, for whom it has become kind of art to study race results, agrees. He claims that a close study of 100s of results can only lead to one conclusion: At the far end, so if you race at the greatest distance in your club or combine, you have only 1% chance to win. With headwinds it is even less. Probably a bit exaggerated but there is much truth in his meaning about the advantage of the short end.
Now that I am writing this it is early July 2019. Both in Holland and Belgium most races were dominated by fanciers who race the shortest distance in their Combine or club. That is the reason why many are so surprised about the results of my birds. The loft is in the town of Rijkevorsel, near the Dutch border, so at the greatest distance.
And if, at that location, you score 4 birds in the first 10 against 3,400 birds with headwinds and 19 of the 22 birds that you entered are in the First half of the prizes, you have reason to be proud.
Furthermore one should know I also race against great names as Geerinckx, Vercammen and so on who live at the short end, from a much shorter distance every race.
Because of the crazy hot weather this summer I read a lot. Also pigeon magazines of course. I also studied race results. And you know what struck me? It happened pretty often that the winner of a race came out of a group of birds that flew over. They were birds that were released together. You would expect those birds that accompanied to also win a leading prize, shortly after the winner, making nearly the same speed. But that was seldom the case. The names of fanciers that live behind the winner you did not find on the result sheet, though the birds were together. What must have happened? When those birds had to continue their course after the winning bird had got out of the group, the speed went down dramatically. It is reminiscent of what you see every Sunday in the province of Antwerp.
In Antwerp there are 2 short distance races every Sunday, one from Quievrain, about 130 km and one from Noyon, about 230 km. The speed of the ‘Quievrain racers’ is higher EVERY Sunday. Up to 100 mpm. You can compare this with athletes. Physical exertion will fatigue the body. No athlete can run the 200 meters at the same average speed as the 2,000 meters. So if you want to be a professional pigeon racer you better find a location at the short end of a club, or province.
At the end of the dinner the subject changed. Willem, Eric (a fancier and the owner of the restaurant) were exchanging photos. Not of pigeons, but of our grandchildren. Like grandma’s do in a home for the aged. In the past people often told me how much fun it is to have grandchildren. They are absolutely right. Nothing more enjoyable than that. Pigeon sport is fun, but what really matters in life are your beloved ones. Unfortunately some only find out when it is too late.
Jan H has his physical problems and so have I. Such little meetings are good for both you and me, he remarked. Then you focus on the subject when talking and forget about your painful knee or whatever. How true this is.