Raf and Lars Luyckx (BE)
Geel : The town Geel, in the province Antwerp, is world famous for the way they people take care for the mentally ill.
A few weeks ago I got an Email from a fancier in U.S.A. who reads my articles in a Racing Pigeon Digest. He knew the town Geel and was interested in the method we use for the mentally ill persons. Geel, my hometown, is also famous
for the pigeon fanciers. Most fanciers specialize in speed races. World famous Karel Hufkens, the speed machine. In the 90's Raf and Lars Luyckx became the Stars of the town with their performance on middle distance racing (about 400 km). Many fanciers in Geel and surrounding places wanted to race this distance also. Raf and Lars Luyckx proved them it is possible to do well on these races, even to become best of Belgium on middle distance. Raf Luyckx and his son Lars, true sportsmen, true winners!
Strain building : Raf Luyckx (49 years) learned about pigeon racing from his uncle Frans Giles. Raf regularly put some money on the speed birds of Frans. In 1986 Raf met Staf Boonen in the local club. Staf was a nice man but had too many pigeons in his loft and won no prizes. Raf could convince this man to reduce his birds. He went to the loft of Staf. Raf judged the 200 pigeons and thought that 12 (6 cocks and 6 hens) of them would be good enough for racing. After a few weeks of medication, the birds were not healthy, the races started. By the end of that racing season, Staf and Raf raced the 12 birds on La Souterraine (600 km). They won 10 out of 12. Staf was happy but Raf was not. He wanted to win races so he needed others birds. That same year he bought 10 late breds from Karel Hufkens. In 1987 20 pair breeding stock were matched and the youngsters would be raced at Staf Boonen. Most of this breeding stock was Karel Hufkens (strain Maurice Van de Velde) but also Johan Nys (Heist op den Berg) and Kriekemans. Staf Boonen listened to the advice and instruction of Raf Luyckx. Results 2nd National Champion KBDB Youngsters! In May 1988 the family Luyckx moved to a new house and one year later they build a pigeon loft in the garden. Only some birds of Ludo Dams, a pigeon-man who helpt building the loft, were put on this loft in 1989. In 1990 the wife Mieke Matheve started racing on the new loft. She got some birds of Staf Boonen; Raf was still 'manager' on the loft Boonen. But these birds proved to be better and won first prizes on middle distance. Mieke Matheve liked racing birds now. A few years later Raf did not manage the Boonen-loft anymore but concentrated on his own loft. The name changed into Raf and Lars Luyckx. Lars is the 15-years old son of Mieke and Raf. He helps with the daily work and answers the telephone when the races are on. Mieke Matheve still helps her husband, so pigeon-sport is family-sport. In 1990 and 1991 Raf bought 16 youngsters at the vet Fernand Mariën (Tielen). Fernand is a very good vet but owns very good middle distance birds. These birds proved to be excellent and won many races and ace-pigeons in big club Zuiderkempen. In 1995 Raf and Lars won first prize in the club on Vierzon, but in a bigger area was beaten by Lanslots-Dockx (Merksplas). 14 days later, again first prize on Tours but also beaten by a bird of Lanslots-Dockx. Raf said to his wife:" These fanciers have better birds than I have. I must buy some birds at that loft" During the following winter Raf bough one youngster at Lanslots-Dockx and . Excellent! On the second race of that bird, it won 1st prize against 2100 youngsters. It was on Quievrain (120 km). The following weeks that young cock was raced on Noyon (230 km) but did not have prize. Raf raced him on Quievrain again and the results were amazing. For many years this cocks was almost not to beat on Quievrain. In fact this cock 'Red Knight' became basic pigeon of the Quievrain birds. Raf specializes on middle distance but he has some racing cocks for the speed race Quievrain. These cocks must race Quievrain at least once a week. In 1996 Raf bought another youngster at Lanslots-Dockx and had some "luck" again. It was another excellent bird that won prizes on middle distance. Since 1996 Raf buys birds at Lanslots-Dockx every year. In 1997 he bought Lancelot 604/97who won on Quievrain 606p: 20, Noyon 420p: 64, Noyon 274p: 25, Toury 1399p: 76, Toury 1178p: 10, Sens 1428p: 8, Sens 1378p: 50, Sens 919p: 13, Toury 964p: 31, Toury 671p: 8, Orleans 685p: 225, Sens 678p: 3 and Marne 616p: 11. This cock was lost on another race. In 1997 he matched Red Knight to a hen of the Boonen period and bred the cock 304/97. He became two times ace-pigeon on Quievrain. The other main strain of pigeons comes from Ludo Dams (Dams-Verwimp from Geel). In 1995 this fancier, friend of the family Luyckx, sold his birds in a public auction. 12 pigeons were not sold because the fanciers think they were not good enough. These 12 birds stayed at the loft of Ludo Dams. The following year Ludo gave some youngsters of these 'leftovers' to Raf Luyckx. One of the youngsters, 259/96, became super bird on races and basic hen on the loft. In 2001 most of the best pigeons are strain Ludo Dams and Lanslots-Dockx. Raf would like to race on very long distance. He bought youngsters 2002 at Noël Peiren (Zedelgem) for these races.
Basic Pigeons : For the speed race Quievrain the basic cock is Red Knight of Lanslots-Dockx. For the other races the basic hen is 6150259/96, direct Ludo Dams. She is in the pedigree of most of the good racers. She was an excellent racer herself. 21 3rd Ace Pigeon Zuiderkempen This hen is the mother of 880/99, good hen with first on Tours in the club and 7th provincial, 34th provincial Argenton, 1st Vierzon and 6th interprovincial, 1st Chateauroux and 24th provincial, 55th interprovincial Chateauroux etc. The father of 880/99 is '135/94' (Mariën X F. Berghmans). The 'Ace Ludo Dams 259/96' matched to 'Barca 6082436/92' (cock Hufkens, Van de Velde) are parents of 302/97 and 387/98. The cock 302/97 won Toury 1860p: 400, Vierzon 1443p: 74, Chateauroux 123p: 33, Chateauroux 190p: 6, Argenton 1st prize in club Mol and national 10.638p: 20, Limoges 25.803p: 229, Argenton 1st provincial and 4th national, La Souterraine 1st prize provincial and 8th national, 72nd national Souillac 7214pigeons. A sister of him 387/98 won 1st provincial on La Souterraine!
Method : Raf, Mieke and Lars race 16 widowers and 8 hens. These birds are all matched on 1st December and can raise youngsters. On advice of the veterinary they are not matched again. Widowhood for the cocks starts after this nest. The cocks train twice a day, in the morning from 6.00 till 7.00 and in the evening 18.00 till 19.00. The cocks for Quievrain have the same system and are amongst the other cocks. The racing hens raise youngsters in the winter and than stay without a cock for the tossing and the first middle distance races. Raf tried the system of F. Engels with his hens, but it did not work. Now he just puts his hens on the loft on the youngsters. On the national race Bourges, he races them on natural system. The youngsters are raced on darkening system; darkened from 1 March till 20 June. After the Noyon race (230 km) the cocks and hens get another compartment and train twice a day on different hours. They are raced on door-system. On Monday always electrolytes, on Tuesday garlic and beer-yeast and vitamins on Wednesday. Twice in one season Blitz in the water. And good pigeons!
Championships : 1997 General Champion Fond and Half Fond Zuiderkempen (1200 members) Winner Fondcriterium Zuiderkempen Winner Sport Extra Zuiderkempen Winner Best Loft Zuiderkempen General Champion Half Fond in Mol 1998 General Champion Fond and Half Fond Zuiderkempen Winner Sport Extra Zuiderkempen Winner Best Loft Zuiderkempen General Champion Half Fond Zuiderkempen 3rd Champion National yearlings KBDB 9th Champion National youngsters KBDB Superstar of the year half fond magazine DE DUIF 1999 General Champion Fond and Half Fond Zuiderkempen General Champion half fond Zuiderkempen Winner best loft Zuiderkempen Winner Sport Extra Zuiderkempen Winner Fondcriterium Zuiderkempen 2000 1st Champion hens fond Molse Fondclub 2nd Champion yearlings fond Molse Fondclub 2nd Champion old pigeons half fond Molse Fondclub 3rd General Champion Molse Fondclub 1st General Champion Mol Millegem 1st Champion yearlings Mol Millegem 3rd Champion youngsters Mol Millegem 2001 General Champion Fond and Half Fond Zuiderkempen