Team Meirlaen: with Etienne, Yvette and Aline
Excellent weather and a slight northeasterly breeze. These were the perfect conditions in which the international flight from St. Vincent took place. Some of the best racing birds that day were able to make it back home in the early evening. There were several early finishers in the west of Belgium, while the national winner comes from the very east of the country. In addition, most prizes were won in about four hours' time the following morning. Things couldn't be better.
A fellow fancier asked us what would be the main difference with the classic from Barcelona last week. Well, this race is 160 to 170km shorter, and despite fairly similar weather conditions, the closing time for Barcelona is a whole lot longer: the race from St. Vincent closed in four hours, Barcelona ended after four days (at club level). The biggest difference is perhaps the crossing of The Pyrenees: having to travel through high mountains and valleys, with many obstacles in between, tends to make this race a lot more difficult to most pigeons. It could make for an interesting study.
The first pigeons arrived home in quick succession in the west of Belgium. And yet, the national winner arrived home in the opposite end of Belgium. This pigeon landed in Verviers, in the loft of the Caro family, being clocked at 21:31'09". This pigeon must have been a very fast finisher, hats off!
The first pigeon that was clocked in Belgium belongs to Etienne Meirlaen from Deurle; it arrived home at 21:18'08". Etienne initially looked on his way to claiming another national first prize, but that changed with the early arrival of the Caro family, the eventual national winners.
Pau – St.Vincent - Perpignan
The team's best birds that did the race from Pau, along with some newcomers, were also basketed for St. Vincent, and they put in a great performance, including most notably a provincial first prize and a second national:
St.Vincent Club 94 olds: 1-6-8-9-12-14-16-17-27-30 (10/15) Prov 477 olds: 1-19-25-27-33-38-44-49-87-102 (10/15… preliminary results) Nat 2,777 olds: 2-86-104-116-142-162-187-207-415-492 (10/15… preliminary results)
Their next challenge will likely be the closing marathon classic from Perpignan. The Barcelona team had a great result last week as well, with the following top prizes in the club:
Barcelona 210 p.: 4-6-7-9-10-12-17-23-29-35-36-40-48-54-63-69 (16/32)
A few members of this team (mainly hens) will also be racing in Perpignan.
A son of Monar wins a 1st Prov. and 2nd National
Etienne Meirlaen is on his way to having another great season, after an already highly successful year 2017, in which he won a top result in almost every single race. His most successful birds of 2018 again appear to be mostly related to breeding dam Yelena. The winner of a 1st Prov. and a 2nd Nat. St. Vincent is yet another grandchild of Yelena, being a son of Monar, which won a 1st Intnat. Narbonne. The dam is a granddaughter of Queen Tony (a direct Cor de Heijde, from a crossing of Frans Bungeneers and Cor de Heijde, with 1st Nat. Barcelona winners Samoerai and Queen Tony). They clearly come from race winning bloodlines:
Son Monar 031 BE13-4077031 (2nd nominated from Pau, now 3rd nominated from St. Vincent)
22nd Nat Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017 2nd Nat St.Vincent 2,777 p. ’18 – 1. Prov 512 p. 25th Nat Pau 2,135 p. ’17 75th Nat Pau 2,587 p. ’18 78th Nat St.Vincent 3,053 p. ’17 141st Nat Libourne 5,024 p. ’15 213th Nat Brive 5,952 p. ’16
Monar: winner of a 1st Internat. Narbonne, the sire of a 2nd Nat. St.Vincent
The pigeon that was basketed as 1st nominated is also a son of Monar, and the 3rd pigeon to get clocked from St. Vincent:
-Son Monar 054 BE13-4077054 (1st nominated from Pau and St.Vincent)
70. Nat Pau 2.587 p. ’18 45. Nat Perpignan 4.620 p. ’17 63. Nat Perpignan 4.191 p. ’16 104 Nat St.Vincent 2.777 p. ’18 (preliminary results) 105 Nat Perpignan 5.254 p. ’15 316 Intnat St.Vincent 11.569 p. ’17 350 Intnat St.Vincent 10.643 p. ’16 co-winner of the title of 1st Nat. Champion Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017
These two direct sons of Monar were basketed for Pau as first and second nominated. Etienne was tempted into basketing his first prize winner from Pau (and 13th Nat. Pau) as his second nominated. Etienne admits that this was not his best idea, since this second nominated only finished in 10th place (30th in the club and 492nd National).
These two prize winners appear to be ready for their final assignment of the season, the closing classic from Perpignan. They are eager to give it their best once again, and to claim another great result if possible.
Meirlaen pigeons excel in other lofts as well
The Etienne Meirlaen pigeons have been successful both at home and in other lofts. Last weekend Team Freddy De Jaeger claimed a 1st Internat. Barcelona with a 50% Meirlaen bird, and the Meirlaen breed was again successful in other lofts last weekend. The most eye-catching result came from Mark Gilbert from the United Kingdom: Mark wins a 1st and 2nd National St. Vincent (UK), with a granddaughter and a son of Starlight, the former champion of the Meirlaen pigeon breed (winner of a 2nd Internat. Tarbes). Here is a closer look at the best results of the Meirlaen pigeon breed in other lofts this season:
-Team Freddy De Jaeger: winner of a 1st Internat. Barcelona 2018 (the sire is a direct Meirlaen pigeon, a grandson of Old 7Y Barcelona and Marseille: see pedigree)
-Mark Gilbert (UK) wins a 1st Nat. Poitiers 2018 (the dam is Daughter Starlight, a direct Meirlaen: see pedigree)
-Mark Gilbert (UK) wins a 1st Nat. Pau 2018 BICC (with a son of Starlight: winner of a 2nd Internat. Tarbes 12,549 p. for Et. Meirlaen). This pigeon was basketed again for St.Vincent and he now wins a 2nd National St.Vincent, to be beaten only by his own teammate. This is quite a feat! Click here for the pedigree of this champion
-Mark Gilbert (UK) wins a 1st Nat. St.Vincent 2018, now with a granddaughter of Starlight (her dam is a daughter of Starlight: see pedigree).
-Jeff & Catherine Cooper (UK) win a 1st Prov. and 2nd Nat. Pau 2018 (the dam is Daughter Starlight, a direct Meirlaen bird)
These are quite impressive references for the Meirlaen pigeon breed. These pigeons can excel not only in their own loft but they have also supplied numerous other fanciers with great racing birds and even national winners.
Starlight: winner of a 2nd Internat. Tarbes, (grand)father of a 1st and 2nd Nat. St. Vincent, a 1st Nat. Pau, 1st Nat. Poitiers in 2018
grandfather of a 1st Prov. and 2nd Nat. Pau in 2018. Impressive
With three more international races coming up (Marseille, Narbonne and Perpignan), the Meirlaen pigeons still look very eager to win. It will be interesting to see if the team from Deurle will continue to excel in the closing marathon classics of 2018.