The beautiful hilly countryside of the Flemish Ardennes will soon once again be the best tourist attraction by far. Especially in a few weeks time when the racing peloton whizzes by in the Flemish top classic 'de Ronde van Vlaanderen', which curls around the region of Ronse looking for such hills as the Tiegemberg, the Kluisberg and old Kwaremont. When you travel up these steep and vicious hills by car, the respect for the cyclists automatically grows, especially if you stand at the top and admire the view of the picturesque landscape, and see the villages in the deep valleys where these climbs find their origin.
We cycled a part of the 'Route' for you, not to test our stamina but to make a 'pigeon visit' to the 'rising star' in the Belgian Long Distance and 'Grand Distance'-world, namely Didier Desmet from Ronse. Ronse was placed on the pigeon map years ago by Maurice Delbar, but also Jean-Luc Van Roy played his part by winning 1° International Barcelona'91. Whoever in our pigeon sport talks nowadays about Ronse, also lets the name of grandmaster Georges Carteus pass his lips. Uncountable fanciers have made the 'pilgrimage' to visit Ronse, and found reinforcement at the home of Georges Carteus, even more with it, they reached triumphs in national and international competitions. It is the same story for his fellow villager Didier Desmet.
Didier inherited the pigeon microbe from his grandfather, the late Maurice Geenens. In 1980 Maurice didn't have time to wait for his 2 pigeons to arrive home from Chateauroux and he asked Didier to take his place. Didier clocked the 1st and 3rd prize and straight away he was sold on the pigeon sport. His parents ran the local basketting club 'Local Unique' in Ronse, where every week toppers such as M& G.Santens, G.Carteus, M.Vandenabeele, L & S.Lemarcq, Luc Vancoppenolle etc came over the floor. They awakened the interest for the pigeon sport further by Didier. His first teacher was Jean-Luc Van Roy (winner 1st Intnat Barcelona '91, and who also lived in Ronse), where Didier went to wait for the pigeons every week or helped by the basketting. He learned a lot about care, recuperation after a tough race, medical matters etc If he now has any doubts he can always ask the advice of Georges Carteus, Gerard Santens and Marc Schauwbroeck. It is beneficiary when you can fall back on such grandmasters with a huge amount of experience in the pigeon sport. Even though Didier is 39 years old, we can still consider him one of the 'younger category' pigeon fanciers, a roofer by trade, and that often implies many hours spent working and so little free time, that has to be used optimally for taking care of the pigeons. Luckily he can fall back on family and friends, who are a welcomed help in practising the pigeon sport. In the summer months Didier can usually take care of the widowers himself, even though he can rely on the help of his father, who takes care of and lets out the youngsters. Wife Carine also helped daily with the care but unfortunately that is no longer the case. The Didier Desmet family were affected badly at the end of January by the death of his wife Carine a bolt out of the blue, the grieving process is long and heavy to bear.
His passion : Long Distance & Grand Distance
Even from his first steps in the pigeon sport Didier came into contact with the toppers in the 'Long Distance' and 'Grand Distance'. It is no surprise that he chose these disciplines when he actively stepped into the world of pigeon racing. It is probably the best choice, taking into account his working conditions.
His breeding lofts are filled for 80% with pigeons from the Long Distance grandmaster Georges Carteus from Ronse, supplemented with the best from M&G.Santens, Desmet-Matthijs, L&S.Lemarcq, Cyriel & Dirk Martens, G&N.Secelle (the second branch G.Carteus), R&C.Gyselbrecht etc the major element in the breeding loft is formed by the line of the "Olympiade Bonten Carteus" 079/99, who was 3rd Olympiade Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB '05 in Porto.
This 'super racing pigeon' comes out "Giorgio" 401/99 (a direct G.Carteus) x "Pascal 011" 011/91 (from Pascal Deplaedt from Ronse). Brothers, sisters and children of the "Olympiade Bonten Carteus" form the corner pillars for the expansion of the colony Didier Desmet for the future. That he seems to have been very successful is proven by the results of the last season.
Let us show you some of the highlights of the period 2004-2007:
'04 Bordeaux D.H. 419 p 9,44,64 (3) Nat 7.519 p 291, 888,1289 (3)
'04 Orange Loc 151 p 3 (2) Nat 7.568 p 582 (2)
'04 Jarnac CFW 2.120 Yl 139,158,563 (3)
'04 Dax CFW 893 p 5,21,45 (3) Nat 6.138 p 52,191,473 (3) Intnat 17.526 p 86,303,841 (3)
'05 Brive L.L. 672 p 30,33,38,64,137,212 (8) CFW 5.446 p 324,340,376,658,1167,1719 (8)
'05 Dax CFW 619 p 14,17 (4) Nat 4.534 p 109,147 (4) Intnat 11.898 p 254,324 (4)
'05 Narbonne CFW 1.621 Yl 17,36,57,146,365 (11) Nat 4.664 Yl 49,109,156,396,978 (11) CFW 2.036 p 198,219,606 (4 old) Intnat 9.224 p 824,898 (4)
'05 Perpignan D.H. 212 Yl 1,13,70 (4) Nat 3.796 Yl 15,120 (4) Intnat 4.666 Yl 24,139 (4)
'06 Bourges L.L. 539 p 3,33,34,86,129 (6) Zone 4.146 p 39,165,169,498,760 (6)
'06 Aurillac CFW 2.913 p 182,210 (3) Nat 6.611 p 516,571 (3) '06 Cahors CFW 1.972 p 6,135 (2) Nat 6.654 p 20,660 (2)
'06 Dax CFW 749 p 8,31,151 (3) Nat 5.189 p 78,232,1253 (3) '06 Limoges CFW 2.965 Yl 8,75,106,191,212,275,277,294,298,327 17/22
'06 Carcasonne CFW 1.901 p 33 (2) Nat 3.911 p 55 (2) Intnat 10.448 p 110 (2)
'06 Souillac D.H. 471 p 8 (2) Nat 6.475 p 113 (2)
'06 Narbonne CFW 1.725 p 8,318,320,334,409,441 (6) Nat 6.033 p 71,1129,1132,1201 (6)
'06 Tulle S/Nat 2.118 Yl 28,36,38,88,99,131,182,296,337,355,514,515 (23)
'07 Brive L.L. 466 p 4,16,35,44,62,88,99,102,104,110 13/21 D.H. 1.632 p 30,76,157,179,231,314,348,363,368 13/21
'07 Montélimar Nat 7.873 p 454,1023 (4)
'07 Cahors CFW 2.114 p 34,115,174,198,207,328 (10) Nat 5.894 p 159,554,780,875,913,1268 (10)
'07 Barcelona Nat 12.612 p 2409,2908 (6)
'07 Irun CFW 1.989 Yl 26,358,525 (3) Nat 8.967 Yl 110,1716 (3)
'07 Narbonne Loc 94 p 1,15,29 (6) Nat 5.051 p 74,522,1035 (6) Intnat 9.326 p 106,749,1572 (6)
'07 Perpignan Loc 148 p 1,33,42 (6) CFW 1.767 p 5,270,393 (6) Intnat 15.087 p 68,2585,3622 (6)
The old + the yearlings are raced according to the classical widowhood. At the end of March they are coupled and after 5 days of brooding the widowhood begins. During the coupling they are also trained, weather permitting. A lot of importance is attached to training the pigeons well, and they are taken a distance away (up to 25 km) about 8 times, before their first race of 80Km with the rest of society. It goes step by step up until Vierzon, traditionally the preparation race by far, before the start of the national Long Distance calendar.
The widowers initially train 1 x per day, but starting the week before Vierzon the training is increased to twice per day. The hens are shown before basketting for the national competitions, usually for an hour. When they return home they are allowed to stay with their hen for a long time and are also given a warm bath to help them recuperate.
The youngsters are darkened and are basketted until La Souterraine, a few until the closing race Gueret. They are then brought to a fitting nest position, usually paired with an older partner.
The young cocks that have withstood these tests well are usually given a chance as a yearling, whilst the best young hens are given a chance in the breeding loft. As yearlings, the cocks have preferably to achieve a top result nationally (per 10). The last decisive argument by the selection is the descent. Didier also finds it important that they arrive home fresh and well and recuperate quickly.
Long Distance pigeons demand substantial food. The youngsters are given breeding mixture for the whole of the season so that they can build up their strength and grow fully. The widowers are given 50% Sport Mariman and 50% Sport Versele à ratio of 1 soup spoon morning and evening. The last three days before basketting they are given extra corn, Champion Plus and Energy Plus from Versele in abundance. After half an hour the remnants are removed. Whoever has to work hard has to receive 'stodgy food', depurative is never served here!
A loft full of classy pigeons
So as we mentioned earlier, the outline in the breeding loft is the line of the Olympiade pigeon "Bonten Carteus" 079/99 who managed to achieve the following results on paper:
'01 Gueret Nat 1.173 p 35 '02 Cahors Nat 11.211 p 61
'02 Argenton Nat 3.537 p 17 (local 1° Prize 124 p)
'02 La Souterraine Nat 3.265 p 90 (local 1° Prize)
'03 Montauban Nat 6.901 p 85 '03 Dax Nat 5.026 p 63
'03 Perpignan Nat 7.537 p 68 '04 Poitiers Fr/Bel 3.234 p 19
'04 Dax Nat 6.138 p 473 '04 Bordeaux Nat 7.519 p 888
This made him
3rd Olympiade Ace Pigeon KBDB 2005 in Porto
3rd Prov Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB East-FL 2003
2nd Ace Pigeon 'Grand Distance' De Reisduif 2003
2nd Ace Pigeon 'Jan Breydel' 2003 etc.
The "Olympiade Bonten Carteus" soon proved his weight in gold in the breeding loft, and is now father and grandfather to a whole series of real toppers. A frequently used rule in the pigeon sport is that 'crack pigeons' descend from 'crack pigeons'. Well, this "Olympiade Bonten Carteus" is living proof:
- He is (paired with "Pepitto" from Desmet-Matthijs) father of the "Bahamontes Limoges" 999/04,
'05 Limoges Nat 7.456 p 28 (local 1° Prize 502 p)
'05 Chateauroux S/Nat 14.082 p 245
'06 Brive Nat 9.466 p 56 '06 Souillac Nat 6.475 p 113
'07 Narbonne Nat 5.051 p 75
-The "Eusebio" 466/05 is a full brother of the previous pigeon, a promise with:
'06 Tulle S/Nat 2.118 p 88
'07 Montauban Nat 6.187 p 332
- The top talent by far and top favourite of Didier Desmet is without doubt "Kenichi" 453/05, also a son of the "Olympiade Bonten Carteus" x "Japan Girl" (direct G.Carteus out the lines 1° Nat Perpignan 1997 and 1° Nat Limoges 1991).
'06 La Souterraine S/Nat 5.621 p 274
'06 Limoges D.H. 2.965 p 8 Nat 15.507 p 234
'06 Tulle S/Nat 2.118 p 182 '07 Brive CFW 5.215 p 75 Nat 16.007 p 330
'07 Perpignan Nat 5.572 p 32 (local 1° Prize 148 p) Intnat 15.087 p 68
-The "Limoges" 999/04, also a son of the "Olympiade Bonten Carteus",
'05 Limoges Nat 17.456 p 28
'06 Brive Nat 9.466 p 56
'06 Limoges Old Nat 13.581 p 1162 Derby Nat 6.642 p 557
'06 Souillac Nat 6.475 p 113
'07 Brive CFW 5.215 p 495 Nat 16.007 p 1929
'07 Narbonne Nat 5.051 p 74 (local 1° Prize 94 p) Intnat 9.326 p 106
-The "Blauwe Perpignan" 960/04 is a grandson of the "Olympiade Bonten Carteus", because he comes out the "Boudewijn Carteus" x "Zwart Bocatje" (a daughter of ).
'05 Perpignan Nat 3.796 p 15 Intnat 4.666 p 24
'06 Dax FCW 749 p 8 (local 1° Prize 159 p) Nat 5.189 p 78 Intnat 11.517 p 234
'06 Perpignan Nat 6.765 p 928
'07 Brive Nat 16.007 p 1512
'07 Pau Nat 2.157 p 438
'07 Irun Nat 5.252 p 844
'07 Perpignan Nat 5.547 p 981
Finally we would like to introduce you to the other model in the Didier Desmet lofts, namely the "Cartier Junior" 001/00.
He is a son of the "Cartier" 643/98 (direct G.Carteus) x "Mannequintje" 134/94 (direct M&G.Santens).
'02 Vierzon Intpr. 12.750 d 660
'02 Brive Nat 25.352 p 2940
'02 Cahors Nat 11.211 p 550
'02 Limoges Nat 16.945 p 2245
'02 Souillac Old Nat 7.358 p 319 Derby Nat 2.925 p 140
'02 Gueret Nat 1.626 p 7 (CFW 2° prize 739 p)
'03 Chateauroux Intpr. 6.495 p 500
'03 Montauban Nat 6.901 p 1115
'03 Vichy Nat 2.711 p 376
'04 Bordeaux CFW 1.746 p 122
'04 Dax Nat 6.138 p 191 Intnat 17.526 p 303
'05 Dax Nat 4.534 p 109 Intnat 11.898 p 254
'05 Perpignan Nat 7.611 p 556 Intnat 17.653 p 1383
'06 Dax Nat 5.189 p 232 Intnat 11.536 p 578
In the meantime he has also reinforced the breeding team of Didier Desmet, and after his brilliant racing career he was given a well-deserved place in the breeding loft.
A rich basis for the future
No wonder that Didier Desmet has gained admiration with such a wealth of top pigeons in the lofts. He is the umpteenth fancier that has achieved top performances at national and international level, with mainly Georges Carteus-pigeons at the basis. How many miraculous racing and breeding pigeons have seen the light of day in the Georges Carteus lofts in Ronse?
Didier Desmet didn't only find an excellent sport friend and adviser in Georges Carteus, he also found a chance to draw on the 'golden breeding well' of Ronse! A chance that he grabbed with both hands, and where he, in crossing with higher quoted top pedigrees directly climbed to the top rung of the national pigeons sport ladder! A loft full of pigeons which we haven't yet heard the last of!