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  News > National Winners Belgium 2012 - Part 2

National Winners Belgium 2012, Part 2:
Marcel & Gunter Vercammen
Wim Storms
Rudy DeSaer
Jos Joosen

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo for larger version 

Gunter and
Marcel Vercammen

Winner's wing

Winning bird

Inside the loft

Wim Storms's winner

Wim and his

Winner's wing

Jane's eye



The organizers of the KBDB may be proud of the organization of their second national race from Montluçon.

Due to the bad weather on Saturday (rain in Paris), the participating birds stayed a day longer in the basket. On Sunday there was nice weather everywhere, and after a very good departure the national top birds started an exciting fight for national honor. And the fight for the victory was a thriller scenario.

After a lot of calculating, Marcel and Gunter Vercammen won 1st national against 22,675 year birds with a velocity of 1471.74 m/m. They won over Van Hove-Uytterhoeven (1470.82 m/m) and Vervloesem Rene and Patrick (1469.83 m/m).

For the father-son partnership Montluçon is the first national victory, and I’m convinced they will enjoy it a lot. Marcel Vercammen started the loft about 10 year ago to basket for the middle- and great middle distance races. They invested in pigeons of Van Hove-Uytterhoeven, Frans Van Beirendonck and recently Eddy Janssens and Gaston Van De Wouwer.


When you see the impressive lofts, you may think that these fanciers are racing with a large group of birds, but the opposite is true. They have 14 widowers, 12 race hens, 100 young birds and 18 breeding couples…so not a big number!

Because the national race was won by a hen, we asked more information about their hen system.

Marcel: “My hens were coupled in mid-January. They bred one youngster and then they were separated. On 1st of April I coupled them again and they could brood for five days. During that period I started to toss the ladies, but because of the cold and rainy weather I stopped tossing them.

The hens have two lofts. One loft with boxes (see picture) and then a specially constructed hens loft (see picture). The second loft is constructed so that the hens don’t see each other.  This is to keep them from pairing up.  In the beginning of the season, they are not closed up, but in the second part of the season they are closed up.

My hens are basketted weekly. They fly two 500km races, then a 100km race and then again 2 x 500km race.
My race hens train during the week fairly well but not extremely well.  When I liberate them, they are away for about 15 minutes and then they make some rounds and then enter the loft. It is not that they train for one hour or more.

As feed I use the brand Van Robaeys. I feed them one day racing mixture when they come home from the race. Then I feed depurative and the last meal is again racing mixture. The hens eat together. I use also the by-products of Röhnfried. Gervit-W, Avipharm and RO200 are given often.

On a medical level I give a five–day treatment against ornithosis (with a product called Soludox) and trichomoniaisis. About 10 days ago I visited the vet but he said that the birds are in top condition.”


Marcel: “Our national winner is a small but powerful yearling hen. She is a hen of the 3rd breeding round and as a young bird she was only basketed for 90km races. She performed well and survived the selection. As a year bird she won Noyon 44 against 767 birds and on middle-distance race Melun 77 against 2,131 birds. Very good performances and then she was basketted for Bourges national. On this national race she failed and came home one day later. She did not suffer and was in good condition. I gave her one week’s rest and then she was basketted for Chateauroux. She won the 7th prize against 2,478 birds. A week later she went to national Montluçon and she won national against 22,672 birds and was the fastest against more than 40,000 birds.



Berlaar: To admire the national winner Montluçon old birds, we had to drive to the most famous street of Berlaar and then we asked for “Melkouwen.” Gaston Van De Wouwer also lives in that street, but this time we did not visit Gaston but his neighbour Wim Storms.

Wim is 39 years old and has been a pigeon fancier since his 10th birthday.  He won Montluçon last weekend with his top hen “Jane” (B08-6175903). “Jane” made a velocity of 1470.20 m/m and won ahead of the birds of Van Thielen Frans (1465.57 m/m) and Loockx Guido (1465.52 m/m).

Wim got infected with the “pigeon virus” through Gaston Van De Wouwer. Gaston’s son and Wim are two school friends, and you can guess the rest of the story. Next to the Van De Wouwer pigeons, Wim also invested in birds from Verberck Alfons (Berlaar), Hendrickx Alfons (Berlaar), De Belser Johan (Verlaar), Thielemans Luc (Putte), Herman Audenaers (Hamme), and from some other pigeon friends.


Pigeon sport is pure hobby. Wim goes every day out to work, and therefore he is thankful that his father Denis is helping a little bit. Denis is certainly not a fanatic pigeon fancier but releasing some young birds or feeding some aviary birds is really a great help.

Because Wim has not much free time (this year he is also building his own house), he only races hens on widowhood. For the season 2012 he could count on 16 hens with experience (eight old and eight year bird hens) and 14 inexperienced hens (late breds of 2011).

The hens ended their racing season last year with Argenton II (raced 2nd week of August). Then they had a little baby in the nest, and when they came home they went to the aviary to moult. No winter breeding. The first time that the hens were coupled again was the end of March. They could breed and in nest position they were tossed and flew their first races. When the babies were about 10 or 15 days old, the cock was put away and the hen stayed with the babies till they were 21 days old. Afterwards the babies were put away and the hens were on widowhood.

Storms's loft

Rudy and
"New Jens"

"New Jens"

Head of
"New Jens"

The hens flew as preparation 3 x  Quievrain, 2 x Noyon , then 1 x middle distance , Vierzon, Bourges, Chateauroux, short distance race and then Montluçon.

Wim: “I will never say that but now I am sure that my hens had the top condition. They trained during the week one hour and more, this every day and sometimes twice a day. Of course I never thought to win on the national level, but I expected a very good result on a local basis.

We did not see ‘Jane’ arriving. We were looking but suddenly we saw her diving in the direction of the entrance. The clock showed 13h54min16sec when she went through the entrance. The other loft mates followed quickly. They were clocked at 13h59 (15th national) – 14h01 – 14h03- 14h07 – 14h08. My first four pigeons were my first four old birds.“


The system of the racing hens is a system that we see in a lot of lofts. The hens have two lofts--one with boxes and a “hen loft.” This last one is in fact an aviary which is situated in front of the loft. So the racing hens are almost all night and all day in the open air. They come into the loft only to eat and to drink.

The hens always receive a racing mixture. Only the last two days before basketing they receive a moulting mixture. Feeding pigeons is no art.  For 15 minutes they can eat as much as they want.

On a medical level only what is necessary is done. The hens received before Vierzon and after Chateauroux a tablet against tricho. Against ornithosis there was no cure given.

The national winner is a very beautiful hen, a hen who had already won some top prizes, even on a national level.

Melun  1368/ 115
Orleans 1221/20
                Pro 9860/115
Argenton  nat  36816 /625
Gueret  nat  14754 /494

Bourges nat 22476 /381
Chateauroux pro 2273 /61
Montlucon  pro 1260 /60

Melun  1186 /30
La chatre  pro 1738 /86
           Nat  15780 / 393
Argenton  pro 1213 /17
                  Nat 11001 /76

Vierzon   pro 1892 /82
Bourges  pro 3184 /137
               Nat 20589 /883
Chateauroux  pro 1762 / 176
Montlucon   nat  17432 / 1


Ruiselede: With Limoges national the racing season for the long distance racers started. Limoges is seen as the first test for the long-distance flyers. It is the test to see how good the condition of the birds is. Organizer “Belgische Verstandhouding” welcomed 13,781 old birds and at 7 a.m. they were released in very good weather.

National winner became Rudy De Saer from Ruiselede (West-Flanders). With a velocity of 1260.07 m/m “New Jens, a checquer cock, was the fastest of all Limoges racers. “New Jens” had as opponents for the victory the birds of De Buck-Baele (1232.81 m/m) and Lernout Marc (1231.59 m/m).  

We met a more than happy Rudy De Saer.  Since 2000 they won already 15 provincial races and a lot of national top prizes, but that one national victory was missing. And now with Limoges this dream came true. No wonder that more than one bottle of champagne was “killed.”


Rudy’s widowers team had more than the top condition. That was proven in the first races of the 2012season. Even on the short distance, they performed well and won even 1st prizes. Hereby the results: Arras (94km) 264 old: 1,2,3,16,17,27,30,31,32,34

Arras 147 year birds: 1,6,7,13,14,15,17

Arras 191 old birds: 1,2,3,5,6,13,15,16,20,23,25,....(21/25)

Arras 291 year birds: 1,3,4,11,13,17,25,26,28,....(27/35)

Clermont (200km)  231 old: 5,6,9,14,15,16,24,27,....(18/24)

Clermont 267 year birds: 3,4,10,11,16,29,....(20/34)

Clermont 374 old birds: 5,12,20,25,36,...(14/24)

Clermont 461 year birds: 12,13,20,51,52,....(15/34)

Clermont 265 old birds: 4,5,12,13,14,21,28,30,...(21/24)

Clermont 366 year birds: 1,7,16,17,30,31,40,....(26/33)

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Wing of
"New Jens"


And then came the provincial race from Chateauroux (486km) and also here was the first prize against 3,486 old birds won. Winning bird was “Den Turbo.”


“I never thought that I would come back so quickly after the auction I had in 2009,” Rudy begins his story. “In that year my father died and I sold all the race birds. Only the breeders and the young birds were kept.  A lot of top birds were sold, and then it is not always that simple to breed new ones. But the new racers impress me.  That is nice to notice.”

For the racing season 2012 I have 60 widowers. I only race with cocks, no hens. My base is 95% the strain of Gaby Vandenabeele. The other 5% are pigeons from Gino Clicque, Rik Cools and some friends.

The widowers were coupled 15th of December. They bred a couple of babies and before the hen had eggs again the cocks were on widowhood. Before the season started the hens came for three days in the loft and during that period the first tosses were made.  Afterwards they went with the club to the short distance and middle distance races.

For Limoges I had 13 widowers in the basket. “New Jens” was clocked at 3pm21. We had to wait a little bit but then they followed very well: 3pm43 (18th national !) – 3pm53 – 3pm 59 – 4pm05 – 4pm13 – 4pm 34 – 4pm 37 – 4pm51
The week before Limoges the widowers trained very well. Without any problems they stayed more than one hour in the air, and when I called them in they entered the loft within 20 seconds. They fought to enter the loft!


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Inside the
widowers loft

The lofts

Jos and Gerda

Jos's winner


For years I have had full trust in veterinarian Piet Blancke. Once I did not follow his advice and I had a very bad result. Since then I do everything he says. Every month I let him examine the pigeons. Before the season started the widowers were treated for five days against ornithosis, with an individual treatment. Between Chateauroux provincial and Limoges national, vet Blancke did everything to keep them in top condition and he succeeded.

I use the feed mixtures of Beyers--protein poor in the beginning of the week and racing mixture the last three days before basketting.

The supplements  are from the Röhnfried line. On arrival I give Avipharm in the drinker and on a regular basis I put Avitonicum on the mixture and tea in the drinker. Every week they receive also  one day Blitzform and one day vitamins.


And then we are speaking about the national winner. Rudy says, “It is a pity that I did not see him arriving. I was just checking the internet when visitors said that a bird just entered the loft. I first thought about a late home-coming bird from another race, but on the display of the E.C.S. I saw ‘Limoges’ on the display.

‘New Jens’ had failed his prize on Chateauroux. He came home very late in the evening. Typical for a top bird is, when they fail they make the next time a top result. But of course I never thought about winning a national.”

“New Jens” won before:
Moeskroen (35km) 194/ 8
Arras (95km) 269/30
Clermont (200km) 267/4 - 459/6 - 340/20 - 223/30 - 609/30 474/55
Ablis (320 km) 346/1 - 547/1
Bourges (445km) 272/ 11 - Prov 1388/72 - Nat.Zone A 4873/379
La Chatre(515km) 291/5 - Prov. 2815/29 - Nat.Zone A 7487/237
Limoges (595km) 249/13 - Prov. 2890/ 63 - Nat.Zone A 6.706/158 - Nationaal 14.679/219
Arras 191/1 
Clermont 264/4
Clermont 265/40
Limoges:  221/1 (local) - Prov. 3.096/1 (provinciaal) - Nat. 13.781/1

Rudy…again congratulations!   I’m convinced that now that you have won your first national race, you will soon win another one.  



With the national race from Montélimar, the first race from the Rhone Valley (France) was organized. Everybody expected the first prize and the national top prizes to be won in the east part of Belgium, but that turned out a different way. The two fastest birds were clocked in the north of the province of Antwerp. Mathieu Jacobs (Essen) stands in second place, and internationally known Jos Joosen from Brecht in first place. 

Jos clocked his winner at 17hr 07min and 44sec. for a distance of 757.634km, good for a velocity of 1252.83 m/m. “I saw him coming home,”  Jos says.   “I was on the phone and I saw a little black spot coming closer and closer. First I thought it was a bird from an earlier race, but then I saw it was a bird from Montélimar. Such an arrival is an arrival you never forget.”

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Winner's wing

Joosens's lofts

Jos inside
the loft


When we were sitting together with Jos and Gerda to interview them, Jos showed me a list of his top performances. This list is very impressive with headlines like: 1st international Marseille 10,333 birds (2010) – 1st international Perpignan 14,812 birds (2006), 1st national Bordeaux year birds (2009) and now 1st national Montélimar 6,713d. (2012)!

What is the big secret for all these top performances? Jos  says, “First of all breeding a good strain of top birds and secondly selecting very hard.”

The strong strain of Joosen birds was created in 1989. After being successful at the short- and middle-distance races, Jos specialized in the long- and very long-distance races. Therefore he looked out for long-distance birds and found those from Huyskens-Van Riel (through Albert Frenken from Westmalle) and Van Rhijn-Kloeck. Also the pigeons of Desmet-Matthijs were successful.

A strong breeding line was created and the first top breeder was “Oude Bonga” (B75-6166530). Several children performed and bred very well. The best known son of “Old Bonga” is without any doubt  “Bonga” (B85-6392475). The name “Bonga” appears in almost all pedigrees of top birds.

And then there is the strong selection.  Jos says, “Almost every day I select out a pigeon. If I see a young bird coming ill, I select it out. Be honest.  When you have a group of 30 babies and one cannot follow the system, then he is selected out! I will not give an antibiotic cure to 30 pigeons because one bird became sick. This hard selection is also made with widowers and racing hens. No mercy!”


Jos started the racing season with a group of 87 widowers (housed in seven lofts), 19 racing hens, 24 breeding couples and around 100 young birds.

Jos basketted 10 birds for Montélimar. National winner became the two-year-old widower B10-6217260. Last season he flew 2 x Quievrain, 1 x Noyon, 1 x Melun, 1 x Dourdan and then national Bourges I. After that race he became infected with pox, and since then he was not basketted anymore in 2011.

This racing season he flew the following races: 2 x Quievrain, 2 x Noyon, national Bourges and then to national race Montélimar.

The national winner was not especially motivated. Probably something happened unknown to Jos that motivated him so much to win the race.

On a medical level our national winner received on 27th of April a three-day cure against trichomoniasis. Against ornithosis he was not treated yet. All race birds are several times a week dropped with Argyol 2%.

Jos and Gerda, congratulations from the whole Herbots team!

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