Yvon upstairs, in front of his original loft.
Yvon Deneufbourg won the national championship of extreme long distance with a coefficient of 25,9285%, beating the partnership Galle-Wynants (29,4499%) and Mathias Putman (32,7044%). This championship is one of the hardest to win as you need to book 6 prizes with your two first nominated pigeons in three races to choose between all the international races. And everybody knows that these races are also considered as cemetaries for our little friend. It's useless to give further explanations. Fifteen lofts were able to achieve this performance, their coefficient being between 25,92% for Yvon and 47,95% for last one to be classified. It looks like an impressive challenge!
This year, the champion is a true specialist of the discipline as he has already won almost everything that you can win when you race pigeons. After 40 years of racing at his address, the man has one of the most impressive record lists of our land: a title of General Champion at national level KBDB won in '79, a national victory, several Olympic pigeons, a Barcelona Golden Wing won in 1989, several titles of champion at regional, provincial, interprovincial level but also several titles of champion in the most prestigious championships being the European Cup, the International Criterium Fond, Cureghem Centre, the Decathlon National, the LCB or again the PIPA IATP Ranking won in 2007... and now the title of national champion extreme long distance KBDB... what can we say about it?
Historic & presentation
Yvon Deneufbourg (76 years) is a very familiar face in the Walloon pigeon sport. As a kid, I remember him being on the first page of one of my very first pigeon books. It is the furthest memory I've got about the Master of Estinnes. Afterwards, he was back on the newspaper in 2001 after his national victory won at the race from Béziers (with the only pigeon back the same day of the release) while, a few hours before, the same day, he won the 2nd national Bourges. As you guess, this day will stay as a particular moment in his life!
As it was often the case at that time, Yvon has been a pigeon fancier since his childhood. He started to race pigeons for the first time with his father in the family house, still in Estinnes. At the time, the most practiced disciplines were the sprint and middle distance races. When he got married, he started to run a pet shop and moved a few kilometres further and he had no more time to spent on his pigeons. However, he came back to his native village in 1974 and he bought a house where he is still living now. This year marks his serious start with the pigeons and also the beginning of his love for the long distance races. Five years later, he was crowned as General Champion of Belgium KBDB, a title which was the first of an endless series. At the time, this championship was quite different from the today, being raced with the two first nominated and the amount of fanciers being almost ten times higher than nowadays. This is one of my favourite moments in my racing career. In the '80's and '90's, the Estinnes based loft will crush everything in its way and won everything that had to be won at that time. Yvon was simply a part of the very best loft of our country.
The Golden Wing with, next to her, the trophy awarded after his national victory from Béziers.
The whole loft is based on 250-300 pigeons, youngsters included. For the races, 60 old widowers (they become widowers when they reach 2 years) as well as twenty yearlings raced on celibacy. As only the long distance races are considered as objectives, the racing career of the pigeons only starts at the age of 2. The pigeons are then moved to the widowerhood lofts when they turn 2 years. Their long distance career starts at this age (3 or 4 races per year, depending on the circumstances). When they reach 3 years, the pigeons are basketed for the international races and are entered into 3 races a year most of the time. The program of the yearlings is lighter as they are basketed for 6 races, their season finishing with a long distance test in races like Limoges, Jarnac or Tulle. The youngsters are never raced as the breeding happens really late in the season, the whole colony being paired around the 20th of March. As he acts as a careful manager with his pigeons, the Estinnes based champion is able to race his pigeons until the age of 8 years! His pigeons have then the necessary experience to race aound 3 international races a year !
About the origins, Deneufbourg can count on a very strong breeding loft mostly composed of his very best racers who are moved to the breeding aviaries at the age of 7-8 years. His old basis is formed around the strains of Rossens and Duchêne, being the same for several decades. Some pigeons were at the basis of very good breeding lines like the Zof (mostly on Barcelona), the Souillac, the Béziers, l'Elite and also the line of the Fred. Yvon doesn't often introduce new breeds into his stock, the last ones being purchased 10 years ago after a mutual exchange with Dieter Ballmann, another great champion of the marathon races. We can also find pigeons from the partnership Bourlard and the Carteus who gave an extra boost to the Deneufbourg stock. Before that, he received a very good breeding hen from Francis Sulmon, a grandson of the international winner from Dax from Frédéric Fernand but also the Pau 641 from his friend Francis Lavenne. That's all we can say about his stock!
The imposing lofts built in Estinnes.
I was really impressed by the lofts of the national champion. The first building was built in 1974 and has five compartments upstairs (on the right in the picture). These five compartments are all reserved for the widowers. In the '90s, Yvon built 20 meters next to the original building. The breeders are housed in the three first compartments, the rest being reserved for the racers and the youngsters. Each compartment has lots of space above. Yvon likes to see his pigeons with loads of oxygen and everything is always opened. The front of each lofts is equiped with small aviaries and the pigeons like to spend their time in them.
Typical view from a widowers loft.
Being a discreet person, the national champion of extreme long distance didn't make much noise about it but he was the great loser of the Barcelona race in 2014. In fact, he forget to pay his subscription to the Brugse Barcelona Club, the organisation which made famous the Golden Wing, and that's why Yvon wasn't able to enter his birds into the various championships, especially the famous Primus Interpares which crowns each year the best Barcelona pigeon of the last five editions. Yvon had a pigeon that could book a top performance and even the final victory. And unfortunately for his owner, the Fred Interpares achieved a great performance this year with the 516th national and made the dream come true, Fred becoming the best pigeon of the last five Barcelona races at international level, the word Interpares was rightly added to his name even if his performance will always stay honorific as it will never be written in the book. Anyway! It's important to talk about the magical performance of this pigeon who is classified at the 1st place of our PIPA Ranking. Small anecdote: only 18 Belgian pigeons successfuly won this year their 5th consecutive prize from Barcelona. A small amount that gives you a better idea about his performance!
And as we are talking about ranking, you must know that Yvon Deneufbourg is also the owner of the best Narbonne pigeon of the last three editions (2012-2013-2014). Rightly christened Narbonne (BE09-9095905), he booked a total coefficient of 5,1719% for his three last performances from Narbonne.
Narbonne EPR '12 - 348 p. : 11 Narbonne Nat '13 - 5,215 p. : 90 Narbonne Nat '14 - 4,558 p. : 13
This pigeon can also be considered as the best Narbonne pigeon of the last four editions but there is no ranking existing yet. To understand how it is possible, just have a look at his performance list:
2011: Narbonne CFW 1,919 p. : 13 Nat. 6,428 p. : 31 Int. 12,605 p. : 62 2012: Dijon Loc. 339 p. : 3 CFW 1,602 p. : 17 Montauban Zone 2,379 p. : 382 Nat. 6,822 p. : 1.434 Narbonne CFW 1,906 p. : 51 Nat. 6,583 p. : 217 Int. 13,092 p. : 265 2013: Poitiers Zone 1,674 p. : 300 Montauban Zone 2,069 p. : 96 Nat. 6,772 p. : 343 Libourne Zone 1,945 p. : 84 Nat. 6,658 p. : 871 Narbonne Nat. 5,214 p. : 90 Int. 11,442 p. : 108
Yvon, congratulations on this awesome performance and for your fantastic career!
14/06 Poitiers EPR - 949 p. : 23, 27, 46, 59, 86, 103, 121, 215, 268, 309 (10/15) 20/06 Pau EPR - 221 p. : 10, 15, 57 (3/3) 05/07 Barcelona EPR - 712 p. : 6, 41, 54, 94, 116 (5/10) 12/07 Libourne EPR - 624 p. : 3, 7, 58, 121 (4/5) 26/07 Narbonne EPR - 523 p. : 1, 3, 5, 8, 19, 22, 93, 173 (8/8) Narbonne Nat - 4,558 p. : 5, 9, 13, 77, 213, 231, 865 (7/8) Narbonne Inat - 12,528 p. : 8, 13, 25, 205, 556, 600, 2171 (7/8) 01/08 Perpignan EPR - 676 p. : 28, 35, 56, 59, 66, 146 (6/14)