Vermeerbergen-Wilms-Greg (Mol, BE): outstanding results in races from 100 to 600 km

This year’s most impressive results of Vermeerbergen-Wilms-Greg are without a doubt their first prize provincial against 4,874 pigeons, first prize zone B against 12,532 pigeons and second national from Bourges, a first zone B from La Souterraine and a third national from Guéret against 17,007 pigeons.

A three-strong team

The partnership Vermeerbergen-Wilms has one of the best lofts in Belgium in the middle and long distance young birds. Luc Vermeerbergen is mostly responsible for the racing birds. He was a successful fancier in the nineties, with a second place in 1999 and a tenth place in 2000 in the national middle distance championship, but that does not mean that the younger of the two, Robby Wilms, is just his assistant. Luc’s nice and lively colleague is very ambitious as well and has already won a national ace pigeon in 2009 with his bird Fenomeentje.

The third member of the team is Gregory Bekaert, a close friend who used to work for the KBDB. He races the second round of young birds in Brasschaat. He is very ambitious as well so his first provincial Bourges young birds in 2012 did not come as a surprise. In fact he beat his fellow fanciers from Mol…

Joint breeding, always room for improvement

The previous stock father Witpen (3rd national ace pigeon sprint KBDB) was paired with Flitske and Rosita of Leo Herremans-Ceusters through joint breeding in 2005. In the total auction of Leo, two of these excellent birds were repurchased and were paired. They bred Lucky Luc, the new stock sire in the loft.

In 2012 Lucky Luc was again used for a joint breeding with Leo Heremans. Right from the start of the partnership in 2010 they have been using the successful bloodlines of

  • Olympiad pigeon Guylian and Mister 1000 of fancier and close friend Henri Menten (Herselt);
  • The Mustang dynasty of Roger Engelen (Dessel), 1st Olympiad pigeon sprint 2009;
  • The praised sprint racers of Etienne Stassen (Dilsen-Stokkem), a champion with countless top rankings in the national championships KBDB;
  • Gaston van De Wouwer pigeons through Leon Verslegers;
  • The breeding loft of rising star Johan Bleyen (Lommel), a specialist whose investment in new pigeons paid off: he has won several national and provincial victories

The fanciers continue to look for top quality pigeons. Luc thinks the best approach is simply to breed pigeons that stem from good bloodlines. Throughout the year Luc looks out for interesting transfers and for fanciers who are fond of joint breeding as well. Some of his most interesting transfers this winter include some pigeons of Van De Wouwer as well as some exchanges with Ronny Menten (Rummen), Leon Jacobs (Tremelo), etc.

Luc came into contact with John Meurysse (Oeselgem), who became a close friend after the death of John’s father in 2008. Soon Luc became his mentor and now they discuss all aspects of pigeon racing on the telephone every day. The two fanciers exchange pigeons regularly, which resulted in a few excellent and successful birds in the two lofts. For example, the winner of the 1st Nat. zone B La Souterraine 2012 and the 10th Nat. Gueret 2012 were bred from a round of eggs from John. Besides, the best young cock from John is a son of top breeder Lucky Luc of Vermeerbergen-Wilms. Isn’t that wonderful?

An overview of 2012

Up to now the young birds were basketed every week, except for one weekend. After two flights from Momignies the birds were basketed for Marne and Pithiviers. For the fanciers in Mol these flights are part of the preparation for the four big races in July and August. Shortly before Bourges their pigeons had achieved an unprecedented result from Marne: they have won the first fifteen prizes against 1,676 pigeons.

After a good race from Bourges they had another great day from Pithiviers. Unfortunately their young birds from Mol suffered from the feared one-eye-cold disease shortly after the race so it was decided not to take part in the next national flight from Argenton.

As a preparation for La Souterraine the youngsters raced Momignies on Wednesday and Pithiviers on Saturday and the pigeons continued as they had done before: they took the victory. Hopes were raised that they would do well in the next national race as well and they did: They had an excellent result from La Souterraine (over 609.79 km). Let’s have a look:

Local – 220 pigeons
2-4-5-6-7-8-12-15-26-36… (15/32)
Provincial – 2744 pigeons
2-16-24-25-34-35-66-… (17/32)
National – 19155 pigeons
7-65-88-89-114-117-207-253-393-562-1176-1189-1352-1951-…

They had four pigeons in the national top 100, six in the national top 117 and also a first national zone B. An impressive result!

After the successful race from La Souterraine the pigeons were basketed for Momiginies, since there was no middle distance flight that weekend, but that was not a problem for the all-rounders from Lommel: they can do both middle distance races and sprint races. The fanciers had confidence in their pigeons for Gueret and they did a great job: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 20, 21, etc. against 668 pigeons and 33 prizes with 44 pigeons in the race.

A new top couple?

In their search for pigeons with that little extra they had luck on their side. Luc and Robby paid a visit to the auction of Francois Wellens, which features a number of Van de Wouwer pigeons. They purchased Blauwke 416, a clever hen that had been bred from the best lines of Van De Wouwer.

Leon Verslegers, a close friend, also had a collection of some of the purest Van De Wouwer  pigeons and they decided to pair a son of the famous Den Bourges (a son of top class breeder Kaasboer) with their new pigeon Blauwke 416, which is in fact a great granddaughter of Kaasboer. The first round of youngsters was bred in Mol; the second round in Brasschaat, in the loft of Gregory. Each of the two rounds had one outstanding hen. You can find the excellent results of the two full sisters below:

6030686/12 Brenda:

1st national zone B Bourges 2012
Dourdan  874 p     3  (3rd fastest of 10,114 pigeons after three loft mates)
Bourges  718 p     1
Prov.    4,824 p   1
Zone B   12,532 p  1
Nat      33,524 p  2
Dourdan  1,003 p   6
Noyon    727 p    19
Blois    332 p    19

6030608/12 Laura:

Candidate for top-3 national ace pigeon middle distance KBDB young birds
Pithiviers  494 p     1
Pithiviers  291 p     2
Bourges     651 p     2
Prov.       4,824 p  15
Zone B      12,532 p 16
Nat         33,524 p 29
Marne       1,279 p   3
Momignies   758 p     5
Marne       1,676 p   6
Momignies   1,476 p  31
Momignies   973 p    19
Pithiviers  1,276 p  80

Method

Traditionally the young birds are darkened until 21 June and then they are lightened. Most of the pigeons have dropped two to three primaries by now.

The pigeons are raced with the sliding door; the combination has a no nonsense approach and their lofts are kept simple. Sometimes they would place a few nest bowls to motivate the racers but there is nothing more to it.

They will only train their birds before Bourges. Depending on the weather the birds do one or two training flights of about 50km but sometimes they are also released from Quievrain. In that case the cocks and the hens are released separately with a ten minute gap. Luc had noticed that it motivates them to arrive home as fast as they can. If they are released in one group they do not seem to be hurried, especially not if they are separated again ten minutes after the flight.

Medical guidance

There is no fixed plan when it comes to medical guidance. If necessary they provide a treatment but that is it. However the pigeons are sometimes treated for tricho, especially when they were basketed two nights in a row. In that case they are given a quarter of flagyl and a tricho pill provided by the veterinary. During the season they get two treatments against head diseases, on the advice of the vet. Vincent Schroeder is veterinary surgeon for the loft in Mol, Karlo Van Rompaey gives medical guidance in Brasschaat.

Feed and supplements

For three years in a row now the combination has made use of Matador mixtures. They think that if a pigeon has to cover a lot of miles it should have plenty of fuel, which is provided by the food. In the beginning of the week the birds are given a start mixture; in the week before a race they are given a racing and turbo mixture. In the last days before the race they are given some sweet seed as well for a diet rich in energy and fat.

The fanciers use some supplements from the company Backs as well. The aim is to increase the amount of natural products towards next season. Luc and Robby have noticed that this is the best way to prevent diseases in the loft.

Commitment

Modern pigeon racing is not aimed for the lazy. Everything has to fit perfectly. You have to work hard every day; you have to be involved and fully committed. In this team they can only take a rest after the season but in November preparations for the new season are already under way. Unfortunately the efforts of Luc and his companions are not always appreciated, possibly because of envy.

To conclude we would like to give you one of Luc’s quotes: “In pigeon racing you have to be good sportsmen. What does that mean? In a way pigeon racing has evolved to be a sport with a lot of envy and narrow-mindedness among fanciers. It seems there is no longer room for friendship. Over the weekends you should be good sportsmen and most of all we should all be good colleagues and friends.” Food for thought!

Click here to see the results of 2012 in Mol and Brasschaat.