The weathermen predicted marvellous summer weather, and with a variable wind between East and South, it promised to be excellent racing weather. The organisers of the Brabant Union set off for Bourges with a record number of pigeons… in total 48.882 pigeons were basketted, consisting of 26.910 old and 21.972 yearlings.
At 7.30am the start signal was given to liberate the pigeons, which could start the journey home with sunny weather and a wind from the eastern sector. Perfect flying weather then, and with this weather both Flanders were in ‘pole position’ for the national top pigeons and related prizes. A prognosis that also came out, because both national victories fell to one and the same loft, that of the ‘brothers’ Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede out the East-Flemish Zingem. Around 12h55 two hens landed together, and old and a yearling, and both had a ‘national win’ in their category, with which Freddy & Jacques repeated the ‘stunt’ of Davy Tournelle from 2 years ago, who was also national winner in both categories in the same Bourges. Both pigeons were clocked in Zingem from a distance of 433,728 Km at 12h55’10” (old) and 12h55’12” (yearlings) respectively, and had the highest velocity with 1333,85 and 1333,72 m/m… directly good for the 1° prize nationally in both categories! By the old birds they were a nose length ahead of Hubert De Kezel from Drongen (1332,70 metres) in second place, and Joris-Andriessen from Asper (with 1330,30 m) in third place! By the yearlings it was the ‘lion of Dentergem’… Gaby Vandenabeele, who managed to claim places 2 and 3 with 1332,40 and 1328,34 m/min.
Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede, magnificent winners
When we were invited to make a report by Freddy & Jacques 2 years ago (end 2007)… they announced that they would be joining forces and would continue practising the pigeon sport under one and the same name. They racing pigeons were all housed by Freddy, while the breeding pigeons would as of now reside by Jacques.
Not that we own a ‘crystal ball’, but we predicted even then that the ‘combined forces’ of the Vandenheede-brothers could lead to a remarkable ‘show of force’ in the future… Something which was plainly obvious, since they were previously both ‘toppers’ at provincial and national level in the middle distance and ‘grand middle distance’ up to the nationals for youngsters. On their ‘C.V.’ there shone no less than 7 x 1° National victories and… when you knew that they had joined forces, that 2 real ‘winners’ would as from now have the power in their hands, then you knew that the rest of the competitors would have to double their efforts in order to meet the strength of the Vandenheede-boys! The first proof of this was at the end of 2008, when Freddy & Jacques laid the following performances on the table:
General Provincial Champion KBDB East-Flanders 2008
1° + 5° Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance Old KBDB 2008
2° National Ace pigeon Extreme Middle Distance ‘Het Duivenblad’ 2008
10° National Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2008
12° National Champion Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2008
The first national top classic of 2009 with ‘Bourges I’, immediately confirms all that splendour from the previous season… with 2 x 1° National Bourges by both old and yearlings. It was the full team of hens that were basketted… with a ‘nest’ if you please! It is not usual for this time of the year, to shine with ‘nest pigeons’ against the widowers? But Freddy clarifies… through various circumstances and a lot of work at school (Freddy is school director with a supervising function over several schools, Jacques has taken early retirement…) the hens were coupled somewhat later, and because of this they still had a nest. We had read that this system had previously been used with success by Flor Engels & Sons… that’s why we dared to try it in our loft. The old hens were basketted whilst still brooding, the yearling hens with a ‘big youngster’… both national winning hens achieved this performance with a nest position. The planning was to separate them after this Bourges… which will also happen (the hens are now going into widowhood). The majority of the old hens will race Montélimar, Orange and Montauban… while the yearling hens will race the provincial ‘grand middle distance races’, together with a few older ladies. It goes without saying that they hope to peak in the ‘national Argenton’ at the end of June and the national ‘Bourges II’ at the end of July. But then it is finished for these ladies states Freddy… because just after Bourges II they almost immediately start moulting, and then their season is finished. Up until last year we raced a team with a nest from La Souterraine and Gueret… but this won’t be done anymore. Because it involves a lot of work to get them ready together with the youngsters… and Freddy has an overflowing agenda where his work is concerned with the preparations for the new school year… so as from now they will restrict themselves to the youngsters. Since last season they also started racing the old cocks in widowhood… this with an eye to the future, for completing the national Long Distance calendar with the old birds. The first team of ‘2-year olds’ are now being prepared for Brive next weekend, and they will also race 2 x Etampes and Vierzon. Some will then be given the destination Limoges Derby & Souillac, others will probably firstly go to Cahors. Never plan too far ahead say Freddy & Jacques in unison… outline the main principles, and reconsider them week after week and adjust them when necessary! You can see that the arrows are being aimed more and more towards ‘Long Distance’… and the input of the ‘De Rauw-Sablon’-pigeons will also play a part with the direct descendants of the ‘Dream Couple’ via the ‘Limoges’, the ‘Frans’ and the ‘Sjah’ (out the ‘Limoges x Goudklompje’)… the ‘Dromer’-line via ‘Young Dreamer Sisqo’ (moreover the ‘Dromer’ is a son of the ‘Freddy’, who was a direct Vandenheede out the wonder couple ‘Antigoon x ’t Krijt’) etc… all this in crossing with their own old stock or the descendants out the top lines of the old figureheads by father, the late Rene Vandenheede… the ‘Zieken’ and the ‘Jonge Zieken’!
Bourges, a direct hit of format
So as stated earlier, the entire team of hens was basketted for Bourges. The old hens had earlier raced 2 x Etampes, while the yearling hens had raced 2 x Etampes + Vierzon. The Vandenheedes then caused an ‘explosion’ from Bourges with the following performances at local level:
Bourges 306 old 1-4-7-9-10-11-12-17-25-26-29-32-36… and 15/18
Prov 4.788 old 1-9-14-21-22-23-28… etc (provisional forecast)
Bourges 446 yearlings 1-2-7-8-9-21-28-33-42-43-51… and 29/ 44
Prov 3.981 yearlings 1-2-15-18-19-48… etc (provisional forecast)
The 2 national winning hens had already proven their worth in provincial and national races… here a few of their exploits and top performances:
The ‘Chequered’ B07-4093286 is a daughter out the ‘Rechoque’ B01-4483222 x ‘Daughter Antrax’ B05-4045330, self already mother of the 2° Nat Argenton Zone A 4.576 p. (out ‘Antrax 672/98’ x ‘Joeksel 680/00’, self 1° Nat Bourges Zone A 4.225 p. and 3° Nat 16.119 p.). She won amongst other things:
Bourges Nat 26.910 old 1
St.Vincent Nat 8.393 YL 149
Etampes 305 p. 2
Etampes 162 p. 9
Dourdan 346 p. 15
Vierzon Prov 5.076 p. 279
Chateauroux 3.469 p. 240
The ‘Chequered’ B08-4095174 is then a daughter out the ‘Blue Son Gimili 189/07’ (the ‘Gimili’ is a grandson of the super breeder ‘Kanselier 104/94’) x ‘Jeremy 039/07’, self 5° Dourdan 470 p., 7° Dourdan 259 p… (a half-sister of the 1° Nat Gueret YL in 2000). This national Bourges winner by the yearlings had already won:
Bourges Nat 21.972 YL
Orleans Prov 5.510 p. 76
Bourges 1.631 p. 45
Etampes 207 p. 6
Tours 730 p. 105
Toury 554 p. 93
The elaborate pedigrees of both winners can be studied on the front page, where you will perhaps notice that both hens contain a lot of 1° National winner’s blood . They don’t get it from a stranger then!This is therefore immediately in one blow the 8° + 9° National victory of the Vandenheede family in their richly filled pigeon career! And God knows what will happen if Freddy & Jacques continue with the same zest… because the Vandenheedes are and remain real ‘top fanciers’… Ambitious, passionate… in short, real ‘winners’! Men with a clear view of the pigeon sport, and with an ‘approaching perfection’ mastership… who know from which pigeon the best wine is distilled! That is not only shown in their superior pigeon game, but also in their stock building! To the Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede families, hearty congratulations with national victory number 8 + 9!!!