Francis Franssen showing us his national winner
Released at 08h30 Saturday 5th of July with one day of delay, the 3.132 yearlings basketted for the race of St-Vincent enjoyed a strong wind of south-west on mostly all of the racing line, the explanation of the high speed reached by the first pigeons. However, the weather conditions were very bad on all the path, what has dampened the enthusiasm of the most determined pigeons. Finally, this race will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of a lot of fanciers. Several pigeon clubs closed the race with a lot of difficulties and, currently, hundreds of pigeons are still missing. But for Francis Franssen from Bolland, a village localized at thirty kilometers at the east of Liège, Saturday the 5th of July will stay as one of the most beautiful moments of his life. Francis won indeed his first national victory, after failing at the second national place the last week on Agen! Important fact: the second national from Agen is a full brother of the first national St-Vincent!
Clocked at 19h03''42 after traveling the 941 kilometers who separated him from his loft, the national winner achieved an average speed of 1.485,94 m/min, so an advance of more than 41 m/min on his closest opponent, the pigeon of Nic & Eddy Didden (1.446,38 m/min), while the 3rd place was won by the combination Hemelaers father & son (1.409,47 m/min) from Flémalle, also in the Liège area. Thereafter, the Franssen colony clocked again the same day on 21h09, 21h13 while the next day it was on 08h36, 08h53, 10h02, etc... As you can see, the arrivals were spaced, reflecting perfectly the difficulties experienced by our pigeons in the race where nobody really shined, except the different winners.
A steadily increasing loft
Francis Franssen (who works as a builder) is coming from a pigeon fancier family. His father, Joseph Franssen from Charneux, is a well-known pigeon fancier in the area of Liège as he was regularly crowned as provincial champion in the '90's, winning several provincial victories in his whole career. In 1994, his son also decided to start with our fantastic hobby. During the first years of his racing career, he was crowned as 1st national champion beginner (1995). Francis then realized he wasn't made to enter his birds into the sprint and middle distance competition. The only thing that had his interest was the long distance races. Firstly because of his geographic situation but also because he appreciates the performance made by the pigeons who come back home after covering such a distance in a whole day of flying. Moreover, his job doesn't give him the possibility to spend a lot of time into his pigeon lofts. It was in 2003 that he decided to go a step further. He purchased pigeons able to fly for this discipline. In 2006, he had the luck to breed an exceptional pigeon: the 'Super Orange'. This pigeon, who was simply an exceptional racer, would soon leave his mark on the further development of the colony. But he was above all an incredible racer (see picture). In 2010 and in 2011, he suited perfectly for the ambitions of his owner who wished to see him perform in the heavy long distance races. That's why he was entered to Perpignan (2010) and Barcelona (2011). The result? He won the 24th national Perpignan against 6.257 pigeons in 2010 (32th international 15.756 p.) before winning the 120th national prize from Barcelona against 12.170 pigeons (288th international de 26.068 p.) the next year. Unfortunately, he never came back from Barcelona in 2012.
Just two years after he got lost on his way back from Barcelona, his influence is more and more important in the Franssen loft. He became grand-father of the ''Saint-Vincent'' as well as his full brother ''Origui'', the two pigeons who were just put under the spotlight. On Barcelona 2014, Francis won the 43th national and the 94th international (clocked at 02h56 in the morning!) with the ''Marseille'', a pigeon who already won the 63th international Marseille last year against 8.848 pigeons. The father of this ''Marseille'' is a full brother of the ''Super Orange''. Actually, the blood of the ''Super Orange'' flows in the veins of mostly all the racing pigeons. The pigeons bred from this line are crossed with high potential material and the best results are obtained when they are crossed with the pigeons from Dieter Ballmann (Amel, BE).
Since 2012, Francis invested a lot. He purchased pigeons at Batenburg-Van de Merwe (Barca Beauty line), Colbrandt, Caro (line of the national winner from Montauban), PEC (two grandchildren of the ''Nieuwe As'' from Wilson Dekens), Injaaz Loft (De Rauw-Sablon line), Christian Bouhy, Henry Léon (line of the 1st national Souillac) or again Luc Herbots (a half brother from 'Claire', 2nd national Barcelona 2011).
As you can see, the potential of this loft is constantly increasing. That's how Francis just won his first national victory. He persevered with the same pigeons from his start while several pigeon fanciers told him he would be unable to race the heavy long distance races with the same pigeons. He also had to adapt to the daily cares brought to his pigeons because, as he says it himself, ''the heavy long distance, it's another pigeon sport.'' During the racing season 2014, the colony has reached an incredible level and is now considered as one of the very best lofts from his area. The racing team, composed of 93 racers (hens & cocks), is raced on total widowhood. They are only focused on the extreme long distance races.
We already wrote above this race wasn't really successful as several pigeons are still missing. The Franssen loft was able to clock three pigeons on the first day of flying. The winning pigeon is a grandson of the ''Super Orange'' and is a full brother of the 2nd national Agen that won the previous week, ''Origui''. This year, before the national race from Châteauroux of the 07th of june, these two brothers never won a single prize. During the race of Poitiers from the 14th of June, an unfavourable race seeing their racing line, they came under the spotlight as ''Origui'' won the 4th provincial against 516 pigeons, good for the 9th national zone against 873 yearlings.
The national winner in his box
Francis, congratulations for your first national victory! Good luck for the rest of your pigeon career!