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If you write columns like I do you pick up a lot of experiences throughout the years.

Many of them are a prey to oblivion but there are things that almost unconsciously be stored somewhere in the deepest recesses of your memory.

Dirk van Dijck is a great name both at home and abroad. But unlike many other great names he deserves his fame.

What strikes me again and again at his place are his lofts. Old and dilapidated. Pens that you do not expect at Dirk van Dijck"s.

But the man does not care about luxury.

Doesn"t he think of fancy lofts like many fellow sportsmen have? No way.

In a previous article I mentioned the flat roofs on his lofts so that there is no ventilation at all, and therefore pretty warm or at times even hot.

No problem for the pigeons, as it seems, on the contrary.  

But his lofts are also remarkably shallow, which is again against the rules.

He is in favour of shallow lofts, since the result will be manageable pigeons.

That"s why he does not like a corridor in the loft either.  

A fancier should have close contacts with his birds he says and the best way to achieve this is shallow lofts.

A short break. This car "is old" 210.000 kms. The greater part was for visiting champions in 
pigeon sport

Berlaar is a little town in the South East of the province of Antwerp.

Many people claim that the best sprint birds in Belgium are to be found in the Berlaar area. I dare not contradict.
It happens that from the same race the speed of a 1st prize winner in a neighboring combine is not good enough to win a decent prize in Berlaar.  

The keen competition there is of all time.
Did not "the most famous pigeon fanciers of all time," the brothers Janssens get their  their basic birds in the Berlaar region. (Schoeters and Ceulemans)?
Charel Meulemans also lives in Arendonk, like the Janssen Bros.

Many people say Charel was the owner of the best breeding pair ever, his so called "Golden Couple".

The cock of this pair he got from Jos van den Bosch, who lived in' Berlaar!

One of the "sprint champions" of to-day in Berlaar are Bros van den Brand'n.

Those guys are also different.

They are one of the very few that do not darken their babies.

And they are one of the very few that still race them "natural".

The floor of the loft is covered with straw. Not that popular bean straw or pea straw, but simply straw. When it becomes dirty they do not refresh it but' just put another layer of straw on it.

Bros van den Branden, kings of sprint.


In the sprint races van den Branden is hard to beat though. If they are as good as the other "kings of Sprint" like Stickers Donckers and Boeckx?

Hard to say. Why you probably never heard about van den Branden then?

- They do not like publicity.
- They have simple pedigrees.

- Their birds are not of famous origin.

- And they do not have National Aces. The reason is they race in a combine (Diamantverbond) with few birds in competition.

It happens that they have the winner of a race with an entry of say 70 birds only, but' the winner had a higher speed than the winner in surrounding combines with 1.500 birds in competition or more.

Those 70 birds are entered by many fanciers and thus we may have competitions as the following:

- In one combine 40 fanciers enter 70 pigeons. (They enter 1, 2 or 3 birds, only their very best, since they race for money).

- In another combine 5 fanciers enter 700 birds.

It stands to reason in which combine competition is strongest.


Verkerk needs no introduction.

Bas is young, talented, and a full prof.

He started with small lofts behind a terraced house, today he has a gigantic set up in the country. What stands out there is the interior of the racing lofts.
The nest boxes are in U shape.
I sometimes write that attachment to the territory as possible the main characteristic of the good pigeon. With nest boxes in opposing position pigeons are always on the  alert and eager to defend their place against intruders the whole day.

Peter Janssen is a German who races in Holland.

He is a retired self-made business man and a champion.

What distinguishes him from other great names is that you cannot buy pigeons from him. "I only buy pigeons because I can afford it and do not need the money" are the words of the likeable German.

German Peter Jansen (r) with his loft manager.

About "pigeon business" Stan Denisse (a well known long distance racer) made an interesting statement:
"I do not like to buy or sell pigeons" he said.

" Because if you sell ONE person will always be deceived; either the seller or the buyer. And who would you prefer not to fool? Yourself I suppose. "

Eijerkamp is a different story as well. Senior Hans is the founder of a vast empire of furniture and 80 years young.
He is also a fanatic pigeon fancier and despite his social position and his age still as obsessed with pigeons as in his younger years.

- When the pigeons get home from a race he is as tense as a pigeon that has a bird of prey in sight.

- After a good result he is as proud as a thirteen year old girl of her first bra.

- A poor result spoils his mood.

80 years of age, remember!

Henri van Doorn is one of the young bird specialists in Holland.

What strikes you at his place is the interior of the young bird loft. How cozy it is.

Dark corners and "secret places" every where.

They are reminiscent of a statement of aforementioned Verkerk. "My secret is that I do everything to keep the lofts as pleasant as possible for the birds", said Bas.
In such loft as that of van Doorn youngsters that are half as good as others are good enough, you think involuntarily.

What is the most striking thing I noticed in all these years, you may wonder?

That is the fact that super pigeons are nearly always the product of chance.

That explains my mantra that the breeding pair does not "make" the super pigeon, but it is the opposite: The Super pigeon "makes" the breeding couple.

Besides, breeding pairs or Golden Couples like Chinese like to say?

Apart from auction lists I still do not know them. I mean those couples that produce one super after the other. Despite pedigrees "from here to Tokyo" and despite the crazy money that is paid for pigeons today.

Some pay such crazy prices for one reason only: The bird is the brother or sister or the baby of a good pigeon. How na've.  

12-1617941. It won in ONE year:
- Pithiviers S Nat NPO 15.735 p - 2nd
- Orl'ans   S Nat NPO 7.795 p - 3rd
- St Quentin 3.799 p - 2nd
- St Quentin 6.069 p - 2nd (beaten by loft mate).
- Quentin 3.069 - 29th and so on.
I got it by pure chance and owe Willem one.