Check it out
I once wrote: ‘A 1st prize or a good result does not mean much to me. I want to know against whom these results were achieved. Tell me against whom you race and I will tell you how good your birds are.’ And I referred to a strong club in the town of Berlaar.
When for example 1.200 mpm is a speed that is not good enough to win a prize in that Berlaar club (one third of the birds home) this speed (1.200 mpm) is often good enough to win a nice prize in a neighbouring club.
It may also happen that the speed of a 1st prize winner in a neighbouring club is not be good enough for a place in the top 10 in that strong club. Of course this would not mean much if it would happen once, but in that area it is week after week the same story.
It is reminiscent of what Andre once mailed me. He had won a 1st prize in his club from a 600 kilometre race. ‘But what is it worth’ he moaned. John van Wanrooy, who races 35 kilometre further, clocked a bird at the same time as I did. In the provincial result he had 22 birds before my winner. And he added: ‘Are our birds so bad or is the location of van Wanrooy so good?’ In this case the location was not relevant, though. It was a day with head winds and van Wanrooy lives right behind Andre.
Aged V Budts from Itegem races in a strong competition. How would his results be if he would have lived in an area where competition is poor?
Comparing results is risky business, though. You cannot do that for just a few races since the wind influences the results very much, especially if fanciers live far apart. Therefore you should know how it works in Holland. First you race in a club of say 25 members.
Some clubs together race in a combine.
Some Combines together form a Fed (Afdeling).
In a club the fanciers mostly live close. In the fed they may live very far apart. In ‘my’ fed I race quite on the East and I have to compete fanciers that live 70 kilometres west. And thus strange things may happen. Two years ago there was a race with westerly winds. The 5 first prize winners in my club (350 birds) also won the first 5 prizes in the Fed (about 12,000 birds). Some weeks later we had the wind against. The first prize winner in the club won the 1.532nd prize in the Fed. In Belgium there are mostly 3 levels as well: Local (club), provincial and all provinces together race national.
Thus frustrating things may happen. Take my ‘191’ (Invincible) for arguments’ sake. As a 2 years old it won 5 firsts in the Combine (average about 1,000 birds) and a bird cannot do better than win. I sent in its results for National Ace for which also 5 races count. It ended 2nd, which is super in a country with over 30,000 fanciers then. But imagine my surprise when I saw who had the 1st National Ace. It was a fancier who raced in another combine but we both race in the same Fed. And in the Fed my bird beat his in every race!! Can you believe this? I had the best bird, he had the national Ace. This man did nothing wrong. It was all according to the rules.
It reminds me of that Barcelona race, long way back. A bird from Mr X won the 1st in the province of Antwerp. With that speed the bird would have won a late prize only in West Brabant Holland. International ‘the winning Antwerp bird’ did not win a prize in the first 500. Later on it was sold for pretty much money to a Japanese who wanted a Barcelona winner. He got his winner, but a fellow fancier alone had clocked 7 birds before.
When somebody is doing well at long distance I always compare club results with National results. This is very educational. I will try to make myself clear. Take Willy Daniels. A few years ago un known, now he is famous. A few years ago he was happy when he could sell babies for 100 euro each, to-day foreigners are queueing for his birds. In his case the fancier does not owe his great results to poor competition.
Let's have a look at some race results of Daniels and compare club with national.
Club 153 birds: Daniels won 3rd, 6th, 16th, 19th. (4 prizes from 6 birds).
National 10.753 birds: 119th, 214th, 598th and 698th. (4 prizes from 6).
His 3rd bird just won 1 per 10 in the club. National it won nearly 1 per 20 !
Club 248 birds: He won 6th and 7th. (2 prizes from 4 birds).
National 18.363 birds: 45th and 125th. Also 2 from 4 but FAR better. One per 150!
Club 134 birds: 4th, 14th, 16th prize. (3 from 4).
National: 9.580 birds: 119th, 455th, 468th, 524th. (now 4 prizes from 4). 3rd bird did not win in the first 10% in the club. National even his 4th bird won in first 10%. Easy!
Club 102 birds: He won 1st, 2nd and 8th. (3 Prizes from 3 birds).
National 9.540 birds: 1st, 32nd, 251st. The third bird won nearly 1 per 40, but not in the club.
Club 206 birds. He won 4th, 6th, 25th 37th. (4 per 4).
National: 19.736 birds: The FOURTH bird won 1.472th prize. That is in first 10%. In the club the THIRD bird did not even win in first 10%.
So in the Nationals he mostly does far better than in the club, or, in other words: The average quality of the birds in the club is far higher than national.
LONG DISTANCE AREA
It is well known that typical long distance birds perform poorly at short and middle distance. In an area where many ‘long distance guys’ live, the Middle Distance races last much longer and there it is far easier to get a good result. Many long distance racers even do not clock their birds at middle distance. If there are 1,000 birds in a race and 800 of them are long distance birds results may not be as they look.
In 2008 my ‘682’ was the 3rd best young bird of ALL Belgium in the ‘Superduif competition’. I owed its low coefficient to nice results but also to long distance star Ouwerkerk. He raced 90 birds or more that were late in every race. And understandably a 1st prize against 790 birds has a better coefficient than a first prize against 700 birds. Still ‘682’ was a real good bird. Unfortunately it got lost on a day with nice weather, but its nestsister ‘683’ would be the mother of ‘Ad’ from M Wouters, the best bird of ALL Belgium, 1st national Ace and 1st Olympiad bird.
As I repeatedly say the average quality of the birds may differ a lot from one club to another. Therefore it is good to see things in perspective if you want to improve your loft.
At the Olympiad in Brussels hardly any Belgian pigeons are to be found on top of the rankings. Not even in the category Sprint. Now you may understand why. In some clubs in Belgium sprintraces last no longer than 3 minutes. Food for thought. Would the Chinese go to countries in Eastern Europe from now on to buy pigeons?