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  News > 2006 National Winners - Part 3
  2006 National Winners
Part 3

by Stefan Mertens

Part 3 of Three Parts. For Part 1, click here.
For Part 2, click here.

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The Sioen Family

1st International
St. Vincent


Andre Meert
and wife

1st International

Benny Depre'

"De Goeie"

Jean-Pierre Gevaert

Gevaert and his wife













Jos Joosen


In this Part 3 of three installments, Stefan Mertens completes his report on the winners of the 2006 season.

For your enjoyment, archived reports on National Winners from several prior years are kept available on


This race (only yearbirds allowed) was standing for the first time on the racing calendar. This race, with a late liberation, took the place of Narbonne international yearbirds. The birds were liberated at 16.00 h. and the first pigeons arrived around 11 o' clock in Belgium.


1. Gerard - Hilde - Luc Sioen - Moorslede 1342.81 m/m
2. Yvan Haelters - Nukerke 1146.05 m/m
3. Jean-Paul Vankerckvoorde - Lovendegem 1136.16 m/m

To congratulate the international winner of St Vincent we had to go to Moorslede. Moorslede is a little village in south east Flanders and may be known by the American fanciers because the late Pol Bostijn lived there. Well, believe it or not but there is a link between Luc Sioen and Pol Bostijn because in the period 1982-1986, Luc helped in the lofts of Bostijn. At home he raced together with his father the short- and middle-distance but by Bostijn he discovered his real love, namely the very long distance.

In 1999 there was a new pigeon episode because Luc then raced together with the Taiwanese Deng-Fu Chang. A lot of top birds were bought with the most important one, "Brecht." A lot of nice top results were put on paper, such as the 1st national La Souterraine yearbirds in 1999, 1st national La Souterraine yearbirds in 2001 (but also the quickest against 21,596 birds), 8th national champion very long distance 1998 and 11th national champion very long distance 2002.

In 2002 the partnership with the Taiwanese fancier ended and Luc had to start again. This time he went to his friend Jan Hermans (Waalre) where he received some youngsters and got two of his own birds back, one of which was later the father of the international winner. Success didn't stay away. In 2005 he won the title of 3rd national ace pigeon very long distance KBDB and now the first international.

He flew a team of only 17 birds in which there were eight full brothers, including the international winner. The international winner was a summer youngster and was not basketted much during his birth year.

His father is B01-3016166, "Orhan 66," and comes out of "Rik" (B95-3177088 : 19th nat. Barcelona 12,731B. - 112th nat. Narbonne) X "Bonte Ornhan" (NL94-1170204 - direct Brügemann).

Mother is "Goudklompje" (B02-3028283) and comes out "Crayoné" (father 3rd nat. acepigeon long distance) X "Miss La Souterraine" (1st national La Souterraine).


For this international race the organizers got 9,664 old birds in the basket. These came from Belgium (6,032 birds), the Netherlands (2,563 birds), France (930 birds), Germany (96 birds) and Luxembourg (43 birds).


1. Andre Meert - Zellik Belgium 1170.91 m/m
2. Michel Beirnaert - Lovendegem Belgium 1148.43 m/m
3. Edmond Rouge - Ressaix Belgium 1145.48 m/m

For Andre Meert it was not the first time that he won a national race. No, also in 1982 he was the best from La Soutteraine. "But," says Andre "this international victory is something else." Andre (72 years old) is already 50 years a pigeon fancier. Since 1961 he's racing in his own name. In the beginning he raced only the short distance (with the famous Steppe pigeons) but later he tried it also at the middle distance (Hofkens and Vereecke pigeons). When he decided to go to the very long distance he invested in pigeons from Germain Imbrecht (Bornival).

Also the international winner is a 100% Imbrecht bird. His father is B00-2410348 "Zoon Niko" and he comes out of "B98-2010051" (line "Espoir") X B99-2125014 (granddaughter "Barcelona"). Mother of the international winner is B01-1505286 "Daughter Dax."

Every year Andre starts with 35 widowers. After the necessary tosses and a few short and middle distance races, the group is divided into different groups and every group gets its program of national and international races. And are there any secrets or difficult systems to explain? "Certainly not," answers Andre, "the quality of the birds is primary on the very long distance races and this quality was found in the Imbrecht birds."

07.29.06 BOURGES

Bourges is the most important middle distance race from Belgium. During this weekend there are no other middle distance races allowed, so every specialist concentrates himself on that race and this makes the whole thing special.

10,829 OLD BIRDS

1. Depre, Benny - Oplinter 1327.41 m/m
2. De Munter, Adrien en zonen - Zarlardinge 1326.26 m/m
3. Hoylaerts, Jozef - Herent 1323.97 m/m

It is always nice to see that "little " fanciers are also winning a national race. An example is Benny Depre, who keeps maximum of 60 pigeons. Benny wanted to be a professional cyclist but the bicycle told him that he was not that superb a rider, so Benny decided to stop. He began, just like his father, to race birds. But this happened also with more downs than ups. But everything changed when he built a new house with new garden lofts. Not only new and better lofts but also better pigeons came into the loft and these birds were coming from the local stars, namely René Sempels (Vissenaken), Frans Pijpops (Oplinter), Willy Schouters (he has mainly Verbruggen Gommaire birds), Roger Frooninckx (Attenhoven - Van Dijck pigeons).

The national Bourges winner is a very nice blue cock and is named "De Goeie" (B03-2108779). Before winning Bourges he won always from Toury: 2/124 - 2/163 - 2/174 - 7/769 - 14/219 - 16/558 - 23/186 - 25/867 - 31/353 - 78/1127.

His father is "B99-2358871," direct René Sempels. Mother is B00-2387444, direct Frans Pijpops.

By the way, an extra motivation was the reason that "De Goeie" won this national race. The week before basketting, Benny opened an empty box and "De Goeie" saw this box as an extra territory. Only ten minutes before basketting he received his hen and that was enough to be the best against 10,829 old birds.


1. Gevaert-Van Schoorisse - Ronse 1353.58 m/m
2. Maquet, Mathias - Kluisbergen 1334.82 m/m
3. Johny and Yves Jonckers - Drieslinter 1332.22 m/m

It was only three months ago that I went especially for to these fanciers to make a report. You can still read that story on the Siegel's Web site so I will not explain it once again.

In that report I said that these fanciers were making better results from year to year but what they did in 2006 was really unbelievable. More then 50 first prizes were clocked. The most famous one was the first national Bourges and also the quickest against more than 49,000 birds. This victory was scored by "Poupol" B05-4274070. His father is "Grote Bol" B00-4110499, and his mother is "Laat Blauwke" B04-3016302 (strain De Laere Maurice). This champion is already sold to China.

Jean-Pierre is convinced of one thing, that he will not have such a good year ever again and it will be very difficult to make such superb results in 2007.


1. Vandevoorde-Verlinden - Baaigem 1349.17 m/m
2. Vanhaute Marc - Smetlede 1347.43 m/m
3. Devylder Martin - Oordegem 1347.13 m/m

It is a dream for every Belgian pigeon fancier to win the biggest race in Belgium, and that is Bourges national youngbirds. Due to the hard races in the beginning of the youngbird season and due to the many losses in almost every loft there were only 26,732 youngbirds basketted. The winner of the 2006 race is the combination Vandevoorde - Verlinden. Liberated at 7:30 and clocked at 12h.54min and 13 sec. "Dennis," which is the name of the winning bird, made a velocity of 1349.17 m/m.

The combination is made up of two brothers-in-law, namely Dirk Vandevoorde (34 years) and Kurt Verlinden (45 years). In the beginning of their pigeon career, they started with birds from their uncle Rene Van de Velde and neighbour Henri Verhoeven. Later they invested in birds from Roger Vindevogel (Dikkelvenne), Robert Van de Velde, Willy Van Laere (Kalken), Roger Boulanger (Merelbeke), Theo and Johny Ingels (Laarne) and Luc Vanaelst (Zingem).

Our champions race only with youngbirds. Every year they breed around 60 youngsters and they are darkened from the end of February until June 21st. In the first week of June, the hens and cocks are separated and the youngbirds are raced following the "open-door-system." This system is followed until the Bourges national and then they may start a nest.

As I've already said, the winning bird is called "Dennis" (B06-4183237). His father is the B03-4166201 (own strain) and his mother is B05-4085398, directly Vanaelst Luc (Zingem). "Dennis" has also been sold to a Chinese fancier.


In 2006 this famous international race got 14,900 old birds in the baskets. These were coming from Belgium (6,835b.), the Netherlands (4,719b.), France (1,841b.), Germany (1,452b.), and Luxembourg (53b.).

The birds were liberated on Saturday at 7:15 a.m., but a north wind caused only nine French and three German birds to arrive home on the day of the release. The morning after, at 5:47 a.m., Jos Joosen clocked a bird from Perpignan and with 1068 m/m he became the international winner.

14,900 OLD BIRDS

1. Jos Joosen - Brecht (B) 1068.47 m/m
2. P-H-P Brockamp - Botrop (G) 1049.55 m/m
3. Remy Speltdoorn - Winksele (B) 1013.17 m/m

Jos Joosen is a top fancier. Several times he was in the top of the national and international results (2nd national Pau, 2nd national Perpignan, 3rd international Perpignan) but that one big victory was missing. And now on one of the nicest races of the season his "Perpignan" brings him the international victory.

It is typical for a very long distance racer to have a "nice" team. Also Jos has 85 widowers (including yearbirds). The base of his colony is built up with pigeons from Jan Kloeck (Merksem), Broer Biemans (Teteringen), F. Van Oirschot, Frans Van Beirendonck (Schilde), Van Vliet (Schoonhoven), Lambrechts-Lismont (Kortenaken), Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem), Roger Desmet-Matthijs (Nokere) and in the last years Chris Musters (Hoogerheide).

The purpose is to make good results at the very long distance and then we are speaking about these races: Pau - Barcelona - Dax - Carcasonne - Perpignan.

The winning bird is the "Perpignan" (B03-6437345), and we think that Perpignan is his favourite race because in 2005 he also won the 61st national against 7,611 old birds. The "Perpignan" is 100% his own breed. His father is the B97-6101055 (son "Bonga") and mother is B01-6051523. Meanwhile this bird is sold to a Taiwanese fancier.

08.12.06 ARGENTON

With 14,498 youngsters, 3,733 old birds and 4,093 yearbirds, the organizer Cureghem Centre could not complain. The birds were liberated at 7:30 a.m. and with a west wind we had to drive to the east side of the country to congratulate the winners.

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Stefan and Albert

The Herbots
Family with


Michel Vanlint


"Billy" -
sire of "Christina"

"Connie" -
dam of "Christina"

Van Oeckel



"Blauw Gueretje"

Eric Berckmoes


1. Charles, Andre - Lobbes 1266.54 m/m
2. Verhoeven, Kurt - Geel 1264.97 m/m
3. Schmitt, Kenji - Averbode 1259.56 m/m

André Charles (52 years) has been a fancier since 1969. Like a lot of fanciers, he started with birds from everywhere but there were more bad than good results. That all changed in 1987 when he bought pigeons from local champions and raced at the middle distance instead of the short distance. The best birds came from Marc Roossens (Leernes) and Roger Delbruyère (Solre Sur Sambre).

André has around 40 widowers, 20 breeding couples and around 100 youngsters. These 100 youngsters are bred in three rounds. The first three months after weaning, cocks and hens stay together. Only after their first middle distance race, the cocks and hens are separated and the rest of the season follows the "open-door-system." The youngsters are not really darkened, but a curtain is used throughout the whole day, also during the season, in front of the windows. At the time of the national Argenton race, most of the youngsters had thrown three wing feathers (flights), but in truly darkened youngsters this will be a maximum of one wing feather.
Motivation is very important, and therefore Andre creates some dark places in the youngbird loft for a few hours before basketting day. On the medical scene, the youngsters are treated every three weeks against cancer (for three days) and immediately followed by three days of Linco Spectin.

The winning bird is a chequer hen named "Tia" B06-9029135. Before winning national Argenton she won the 9th Gien against 214 b., 46th provincial Issoudin against 1,392 youngsters and 215th provincial Bourges against 1,607 youngsters.


1. Steenbergen Stefan and Albert - Herk-De-Stad 1270.31m/m
2. Creten Marcel - St Truiden 1268.82 m/m
3. Deno-Herbots - Leefdaal 1263.49 m/m

I never saw someone enjoying his national victory more than Stefan and his father Albert Steenbergen. Stefan explains, "Four years ago I said that I wanted to be a provincial winner on a national race. That was my dream. During all those years I never succeeded and now I thought to make a change with the youngbirds and it is a yearbird that brings me the provincial and even better the national victory. Who would have ever thought that!"

The winning bird is a blue hen. She was basketted with a youngster of 14 days old for which she has to care all by herself. That must have been the motivation to win the national and to be the second fastest bird against 22,324 pigeons.

Prior to that she had already put some nice results on paper: 1st Soisson against 62b., 1st Soisson against 52b., 6th Nanteuil against 276b., 8th Melun against 219b., 27th Melun against 182b., 46th Nanteuil against 1,891 birds.

Her father is the "Super Walter" (B99-5236262 - strain 50% Maurice Vandersmissen + 50% own breed). Mother is D04-1439612 and comes from the German top loft Frans Revermann (Nordhorn). This hen has as father "Magic 043" (Olympiadbird Utrecht from Daems and Son from Bevel) and as mother "Sister Fieneke 5000" (a full sister of the famous "Fieneke 5000" from late Flor Vervoort).


1. Herbots Gebroeders Jo + Raf - Halle Booienhoven 1271.21 m/m
2. Walem D - Rebecq 1246.44 m/m
3. Vervloesem R and P - Rijmenam 1238.63 m/m

Do I still have to introduce them? I don't think so. Their name is known worldwide. It was a big party at the home of the Herbots family. Jo just became father of little "Julian" and on Saturday their pigeons won the national race from Argenton. Reason enough to name the national winner also "Julian." Little detail: since 1991 is it the third time that Herbots won the national race from Argenton. I think they have a special connection with this city.

Just as in other years, the Herbots team has 62 widowers, 24 hens on widowhood and around 100 youngsters. and we must say it like it is-they made a very good season. On basketting day of this national race all of the "motivation tricks" were taken out of the closet. First hens and cocks come together for four and a half hours, and they could do what they wanted. After one hour a lot of straw was given. Every couple started immediately to make a big nest. Jo says, "Motivation is one thing, but to keep them eating that is something else. Therefore we fed the widowers in their box, so that they got all kind of mixtures and a lot of hempseed. Every bird was examined carefully and if necessary Raf gave something so that they were certainly 100% at the start of the race."

The winning bird is "Julian" (B04-2107094). "Julian" is a dark chequer cock and won before his national victory: 3rd Momignies 135b., 5th Chateauroux 1,128b., 13th Momignies 203b., 21st Bourges 2,656b., 28th Bourges 3,195b., 31st Issoudin 1,663b., 40th Toury 1,052b., 52nd Orleans 2,527b., 60th Montlucon 1, 866b., 65th Toury 2,265b., 107th Vichy 1,238b., 137th Bourges 2,818b., 171st Nevers 1,806b.

His father is "Kanon" NL97-1758781, coming from combination Brunschot-Staps (Tilburg) and was in 2001 the 2nd Olympiadbird short distance from the Netherlands. His strain is Janssen X Vromans.

Mother of "Julian" is "Daughter Nationaal I" B98-2445987 and comes out of the famous "National I" B86-6260314 (Karel Schellens) X "Donkeroogje" B91-6089872 (Karel Schellens).


The national race from La Souterraine with 3,629 old and 13,918 young birds was liberated on Saturday at 9:25 a.m. It became a fast race in which the top birds made a velocity of 1,350 m/m.


1. Michel Vanlint - Zoutleeuw 1378.32 m/m
2. Roger + Raoul Beullens - Heverlee 1372.58 m/m
3. Jos Eykens - Geel 1372.40 m/m

Unbelievable, but he did it again. Since his return to Belgium (2003) this is his 8th national victory. Eight national victories in three years' time. I've never seen this before.

This time it was the young hen "Christina" (B06-2215116) that brought the name Vanlint to the top of the national racing results. About his methods, you can read everything in the Michel Vanlint reports on the Siegel's Web site, but now I'll describe how he motivated his youngbirds to make this result.

Beginning in December 2005, all birds were coupled by Vanlint, and in total around 100 youngsters were weaned. They were darkened from March 1st until June 29th , from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. The youngsters stayed together and after their first middle distance race the cocks and hens were separated. After Bourges national the youngsters were raced weekly on races between 375 and 600km. The week before Argenton, eight young hens, which were paired with a young cock, got a nest and a dark place to build up their nest. After two days the youngbirds got a couple of eggs and after four days they went to Argenton.

Argenton was very successful, and when they came back from this race Michel had to do everything to get the youngsters back on their eggs. A weekend later the youngsters were liberated at 375km. The Sunday before La Souterraine, all the eight couples got a youngster of four days old in their nest. Again it took some work for Michel to let the youngbirds accept their four-day-old youngsters. But Michel succeeded and with 10-day-old youngsters the youngsters were ready to basket.

But Michel found that a "typical" motivation was not enough, so suddenly just in front of the dark places another dark place was created by Michel and another couple took over that dark place. You can imagine how angry all those birds were and this superb motivation was the key for the national victory.

As I've already explained, the national victory was won by "Christina" and before winning national La Souterraine she won 104th Toury against 921b., 430th Bourges 1,355b. and 32nd Argenton against 149b.

Father is B04-2132559, direct Maurice and Yvan Vandersmissen from Rummen. He comes out of B99-2205059 (grandson 1st nat. Bourges) X B99-2205166 (won 4 times 1st).

Mother is B05-2190585, won 14 times prize on middle distance, is a 100% W.A. De Bruyn (Reeuwijk).


1. Bart Van Oeckel - Oud Turnhout 1366.23 m/m
2. Davy Tournelle - Rummen 1333.96 m/m
3. Jo and Raf Herbots - Halle Booienhoven 1322.40 m/m

Bart Van Oeckel (36 years old) is the big boss of a very busy bakery with 30 people under him. So not much time is left for the pigeon sport, and therefore the help of Jef Maes (71 years) is more than welcome. Father Jan Van Oeckel was a very good fancier and Bart raced together with his dad but when he opened his bakery in 1994, he stopped flying pigeons. But in 2001 Bart started again with pigeons from his father and he also bought birds from Jan Broeckx (Baarle Hertog), Fernand Marien (Tielen), Van Hove-Uytterhoeven (Putte), Ad Schaerlaeckens (Baarle Nassau), Luc Van Mechelen (Oud Turnhout), Voeten en zoon (Oud Turnhout) and Lambrechts (Herentals).

First he thought to race only with youngbirds but after a few seasons he also started with year and old birds and now he's racing 22 couples on total widowhood. In fact, Bart races his old birds like a lot of fanciers race their yearbirds. Cocks on one side, the hens on the other side and before basketting everything comes together. Just as simple as that. After Bourges (at the end of June) everything stays together and the birds are raced further on nest position.

The winning bird is named after the helper, namely "Jeff." "Jeff" (B04-6128470) is a blue cock and before his national victory he also won the 7th provincial Souillac against 769 birds. His father is B02-6034292 "Golden Boy" and is direct Van Hove-Uytterhoeven. Comes out "Golden Boy" (B94-6081753) X "Miss Brasil" (B98-6084096). Mother is NL02-1796625 "Mia" directly Ad Schaerlaeckens and comes out "345/95" X "082/96."

09.09.06 GUERRET

The last national race of the season and 2,590 old birds and 10,523 youngsters were released at 8 o'clock with very nice weather (blue sky, no clouds) and a little north-east wind.


1. Laevens-Vervaeke Deerlijk 1210.77 m/m
2. Declerck-Blancke Tielt 1204.98 m/m
3. Decraene Gilbert Evergem 1200.61 m/m

The combination Laevens-Vervaeke is made up of Roger Vervaeke (56 years) and pharmacist Mark Laevens (54 years). They have raced together since 1996. Before they raced together, both fanciers already had some experience in the pigeon sport but due to different situations both had stopped racing. But in 1995 they found each other and one year later a combination was started. The combination seems to be perfect and it didn't take long before their name was at the top of the racing results.

Every year they start with 16 widowers and 100 youngsters. Although they like to race the most with widowers, it is their youngbird team that brings their name most into the picture. On the 1st of December all old birds are paired up and after a few weeks cocks and hens are already separated. As soon as the second round is weaned (around February 20th) the youngsters are darkened until June 20th for the first round and 14 days later for the second round. The hens of the two rounds are coupled with old cocks, may brood and breed a couple of youngsters and when the youngsters are five or six days old, everything is separated and the young hens are raced, this till the end of the season, on widowhood. The winning bird is such a young hen which had only thrown 2 wing feathers.

The winning blue hen is named "Blauw Gueretje" and has as father the B02-3006809 (strain Pierre Ameye from Deerlijk) and the mother is B02-3006806 (68th Tours against 1,761b., 244th nat. Guerret against 6,430 birds - strain Lucien De Vlaeminck X Vermeulen Dujardin).


1. Eric Berckmoes - Brecht 1207.17 m/m
2. De Schepper De Temmerman Merelbeke 1163.79 m/m
3. Freddy Vandenheede Zingem 1163.18 m/m

Fanciers speak with respect about the national victory of Eric Berckmoes. Not only because he won last year already two times national but most of it because he won this national without having the weather conditions (northeast wind) in his favour. For those who like numbers, this is Eric's fourth national victory and that for a fancier of only 30 years old-not bad!

Eric has 36 couples which are raced on total widowhood. At the end of November, they are coupled, may breed a couple of youngsters, and then they're separated. At the end of March they're coupled again for a five-day nesting. They are raced on total widowhood from April till the end of June. Then they can start a nest and on this position they go to the last three national races.

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"Nieuwe Zion"
and his hen

The winner is the "Nieuwe Zion" (B04-6265699). The "Nieuwe Zion" is a direct son of the world famous "Sprint" from the late Albert Marcelis (Brecht). "De Sprint" won 22 x 1st and was once 3rd and once 5th national ace-pigeon KBDB sprint. "De Sprint" could fly, and this without any problem, with hot weather and a headwind five minutes in front. It seems that his children have the same quality, even on longer distances.

After arrival from La Souterraine, Eric liberated the pigeons for Guerret twice at 50km. But from one of those little tosses the hen of the "Nieuwe Zion" was home the same day. She came one day later with a broken wing. Problem was that she had youngsters in one of the top boxes and that she couldn't fly anymore in her box. Therefore Eric created a kind of "dark place" on the floor and the "Nieuwe Zion" and his hen immediately took this place. You can imagine that the "Nieuwe Zion" was very busy. His hen on the floor of the loft and a couple of youngsters of 14 days old in a box above. In other words, this cock was more than just motivated.

The "Nieuwe Zion" has as father the "Sprint" (B97-6549507) pure Albert Marcelis - Brecht and as mother "Rita" (B01-6473858) also pure Albert Marcelis. Before his national victory the "Nieuwe Zion" won: 1st Quievrain 849b., 1st Bourges 280b., 3rd Bourges 4,938b., 3rd Toury 499b., 6th Orleans 284b., 7th Dourdan 355b., 7th Dourdan 331b., 8th Dourdan 1,031b., 9th Dourdan 1,170b., 10th Dourdan 505b., 11th Dourdan 225b., 13th Arlon 853b., 13th Orleans 283b.

[Note: This is the third part of a three-part article. For Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here.]

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