Daan Besseling (Oisterwijk, NL) is a rising star in the international long distance competition

Despite his age Daan Besseling has really come to the fore in our sport's most demanding competition. His Euro Marseille provided the number one highlight in his career.

Daan Besseling showing his Super 80

Daan Besseling

Daan Besseling lives together with his wife Suzanne, and his daughter Elize (3) and his son Fidde (1) in the picturesque town of Oisterwijk in Brabant (NL). Oisterwijk is particularly famous for its green surroundings, which have earned it the name of "Green Pearl". Daan works as a self employed entrepreneur - he used to sell rabbits and fancy pigeons on the famous regional cattle market as a youngster. It was there that he developed a fascination with racing pigeons; he started keeping pigeons already at the age of eight. He was allowed to keep a group of pigeons in the loft of Piet Drijvers, a fancier from the neighbouring town of Haaren. Daan also followed a training with the Eijerkamp family during a summer holiday. He acted as the assistant of Jurgen Bayer, who used to take care of the long distance pigeons at Greenfield Stud. He was 15 years old when the old stable at his parents' house was turned into a pigeon loft. This was the start of his career as an independent sprint and middle distance fancier. The first long distance pigeons arrived in his loft back in 2005.

Daan with his friend and mentor Hans-Peter Brockamp

His breed

His first long distance pigeons came from Piet de Vogel (Oude Tonge), whom he visited in 2005 together with Jan Bullens (Oirschot, NL). He also obtained a pigeon of Hans-Peter Brockamp (Boppard, DE) through a PIPA auction in the winter of 2007/2008. In the following years Daan continued to make regular trips to the Boppard loft, for instance to obtain youngsters of Olympiad Pigeons Euro Diamond and Mistral and the national winner from Perpignan 2006. We asked him why he insisted on obtaining pigeons from this loft, and he said: "This loft basically has the very best long distance pigeons worldwide." Daan became close friends with Hans-Peter, and they have visited renowned lofts in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand together. It was Hans-Peter who taught Daan everything about the long distance competition. Daan's breeding loft was also reinforced with the NL05-1347080 Super 80, which he bought from Hans Groenendijk (Sommelsdijk).

Euro Marseille 2nd National (8th International) 2012

Euro Marseille

Daan took part in the international ZLU races for the first time in 2011, his maiden race being the flight from Pau. He has basketed seven pigeons that day, and three of them arrived home the day after the release, all three within 45 minutes. This was quite a stressful situation for the inexperienced Daan; he made a small mistake during clocking, as a result of which only two of the three pigeons were included in the official results. They finished in 127th and 146th place, and this performance proved the start of a promising career in the long distance.
The race from Marseille in 2012 was a major highlight in Daan's career; every fancier familiar with the long distance competition was impressed with what proved one of the most memorable achievements ever from a Dutch long distance pigeon. On 22 July 2012 his NL10-5018071 Euro Marseille was the only pigeon from The Netherlands to be clocked on the day of the release, at 22h44 in the evening, having completed 945 kilometres. This pigeon had to cover an additional 277 km compared to the international winner (clocked at 18h23), which makes this quite an exceptional international performance. Euro Marseille had to be satisfied with a second national prize, having been beaten by the pigeon that was clocked at 05:41 am the next morning. He also finished in 8th place at international level against 11,314 p. Click here for the pedigree of Euro Marseille. We would like to present you the the parents of this phenomenal pigeon:

Super 80, the sire of Euro Marseille

Super 80

The sire of Euro Marseille is NL05-1347080 Super 80, a pigeon of Hans Groenendijk (Sommelsdijk, NL) that proved a really successful racing bird, having won a first prize NPO in the race from Mont de Marsan in 2009 (4144 p.). He also won a 4th (7471 p.) and a 14th (6299 p.) in the national races from Bergerac 2008 and Bordeaux 2009. Super 80 was then transferred to Daan's breeding loft, where he developed into an invaluable breeding pigeon. He became the sire of Daan's Euro Marseille and Super 80 II, which we will discuss later on. His grandchildren have won five top 15 prizes in national races (4th, 6th, 9th, 11th, and 15th) in other lofts. The dam of Super 80 is NL02-1587082 (Piet de Vogel), a sister of Beer 307, 2nd national Ace Pigeon ZLU.

Elize, the dam of Euro Marseille


It is clear that Daan did a great job in his search for long distance pigeons for morning releases. A good example is the blue coloured hen DV06720-09-1712 Elize, a daughter of DV06720-02-537 Euro Diamond, the flagship pigeon of Pieter and Hans-Peter Brockamp. Euro Diamond is considered the world's best long distance pigeon, having won no less than four top five prizes in national races (and three international prizes), as well as the title of 1st Olympiad Pigeon Category E in the 2007 Olympiad, which took place in Ostend in Belgium. The sire of Elize is a son of BE99-4528985 George, just like Euro Diamond. The DV06720-03-859 Mistral finished in second place just behind his half brother Euro Diamond at the Ostend Olympiad, category E marathon. Click here for a complete pedigree of Elize.

Super 80 II 5th National ace pigeon ZLU 2012

Super 80 II   

The NL10-3032880 Super 80 II perfectly illustrates the breeding value of Super 80 when paired to the magnificent long distance pigeons from Boppard. Super 80 II has won for instance a 17th national Bordeaux ZLU 2012 (4447 p.) and a 39th national Narbonne 2012 (4303 p.). He won the title of 5th national ace pigeon in the Wie Heeft Ze Beter competition in 2012, and he finished in fifth place at the ace pigeon championship ZLU 2012. The dam of Super 80 II is DV06720-08-1245, a daughter of DV06720-02-601 Perpignan ’06, winner of a 1st National and 2nd International Perpignan 2006. Click here for the pedigree of Super 80 II.

Big Star, a grandchild of Euro Diamond

Big Star

The NL10-3032864 Big Star is a great-grandchild of Euro Diamond, and he shows that Euro Marseille is not a one trick pony. This chequered white cock won the title of 3rd Ace Pigeon Vrienden van de Fond in 2013, a competition involving 80 long distance fanciers. Big Star also won a first prize from Marseille in this competition in 2013. The pigeons of Besseling showed their full potential in the race from Agen that season: Big Star was released from Agen at 08:40 am, for a race of 895 km. He managed to arrive back home in Oisterwijk at 10:30 pm, having been in the air for almost 14 hours.

Derby Arona

Many top class lofts have heard about the potential of the Besseling breed. For instance, Marcel Sangers decided to strengthen his breed with a son of Euro Marseille. His Street Cop won training race 4 (2137 p.) and Zee race 4 (1516 p.) in the 2014/2015 edition of the Derby Arona Classic. Street Cop is a grandson of Euro Marseille and his performance has added to the excellent international reputation of the Besseling breed.

To conclude

It is a joy to see Daan and his father Hans talk about pigeon racing with great enthousiasm. They were recalling memories of the evening of the 22nd of July 2012. It was after dark when father and son were working in their loft, witnessing the sudden arrival of Euro Marseille. Daan thought they had seen a bat or an owl but his father Hans was convinced that it was a pigeon. He was right. It proved a historic achievement for Daan Besseling, with Euro Marseille playing a key role. Click here for an impressive overview of his best results in the long distance.