Het Norelientje of Tony Hubrechts (Broekom, BE) wins first national old birds from Marseille

The Belgian winner of Marseille 2013 against 2,418 old birds is Tony Hubrechts from Broekom (Borgloon) in Limburg.

His pigeon Norelientje (BE09-5086328) was named after his two granddaughters Nore and Lien and she was clocked at 20:13’05” on Friday. She did 854.644km with a velocity of 1077.62 m/min. This makes her 33 m/min faster compared to the second Belgian pigeon; she also takes a 5th international against 8,831 birds.

Norelientje was basketed at the end of the breeding period. Her cock was taken away in the morning to make sure she would return to her nest as quickly as possible. The goal was to prepare her for the race from Barcelona but she laid her eggs fairly late so Tony decided not to basket her for the classic from Spain. Instead he opted to basket her for Marseille two weeks later, together with a loft mate. This shows that you need some luck from time to time. Tony really wanted to basket her for Barcelona but in the end he was happy to have basketed her for Marseille.

Tony prepared her for the race with sprint races, two x Marne-la-Vallée, Melun and the national from Châteauroux. She was also raced from Marseille in 2012 but she got injured and she arrived home after two days (on the Sunday). In the previous season she won a top prize from Orange as well: a 34th prize against 222 pigeons..

Het Norelientje is a fine young hen with a strong character that never loses its temper. Just have a look:

The pedigree of Het Norelientje says it all. The grandfather from her father’s side is the 797-98, a half brother of Champ of Dieter Ballmann (Amel, BE). This Champ won four top prizes from Barcelona and Perpignan, including a 9th and 14th national Barcelona and a 67th national Marseille. The dam has Dutch origins, coming from the lofts of Ko van Dommelen. A niece of Het Norelientje (BE10-483) from her father’s side also won a first provincial yearlings in Narbonne 2011.

Tony won a second provincial from Pau in 2009 and it is remarkable that only two of 328 pigeons from Limburg were able to reach their loft on the first day. It takes a determined pigeon to do this! Tony also won a 14th national from Perpignan in 2011 (with BE06-410).

Tony started his career in 1960; he has been a fancier for 53 years. He got involved in the sport through his father when he was eight years old. His father had built a small loft for his son, in which eight pigeons were housed. He actually won two first prizes with these birds. This means he has been winning prizes since he was a kid! Tony and his father raced together with the Esters family under the name of the Esters brothers. They were very successful in the sprint and the middle distance, winning several championship titles. 

Tony’s father started racing on his own in the sprint and the middle distance in 1968 in Lauw and he won several first prizes. Tony started a career on his own in 1981 in Broekem. Tony initially did sprint races, but he switched to the middle distance and eventually the extreme long distance (from 2006). Tony was general champion in the L’Epervier Waremme club in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1995. He has been one of the strongest sprint racers in Limburg for years with one or more provincial championship titles every season. He was the winner of the national sprint championship in 1998.

Tony has been an extreme long distance fancier since 2006 and he has been doing great! Tony’s loft houses pigeons of Dieter Ballman, as well as birds with the bloodlines of Willems Albert, Piet de Vogel, Jan Polder and Chr. Van der Velden, the last three of which are Dutchmen.

Preparing your pigeons

Tony started the season with about 100 racing pigeons (both cocks and hens) trained in total widowhood. They are basketed for a number of sprint and middle distance races first, followed by the national Châteauroux on 1 June. This race is nothing but a training flight to Tony! After Châteauroux the pigeons are kept together to make nests and both the hens and the cocks are raced on the nest for the extreme long distance. Tony is fond of the dry litter system after the moult. Tony likes to keep things simple, for instance, when it comes to the feed and the use of medicines. He thinks a pigeon should gain strength by building natural resistance, which could explain why his pigeons hardly have to visit Karlo Van Rompaey, his veterinary surgeon.