1st national after a total auction last winter
Tom Van Gaver is only 31 years old but he is already a very experienced fancier. The pigeon sport has been a part of his life since his childhood as his father was already a very renowned fancier in his area. He has practised the pigeon sport intensively for several years. He came under the international spotlight after his fantastic performances booked under the name De Vroe-Van Gaver (DVV Pigeons), with a.o. 1st national Jarnac against 4,559 pigeons in 2015 or 1st National Champion Long Distance KBDB 2016. But Tom wanted to race with his family and he decided that the best thing to do was to race in combination with his father, this is the reason why the entire pigeon stock he used to manage with his two associates (DVV Pigeons) was sold online on PIPA at the end of the year 2017.
Then followed a long period of heavy duty as the entire pigeon lofts were reconditioned: boxes with automatic cleaning bands were installed, a brand new breeding loft was built, aviaries were positioned in front of all the racing lofts and a brand new loft was built especially for the youngsters. Moreover, Tom & Marnik also invested in the security of their colony with fences & cameras all along the lofts.
Then, it was time to put some new pigeons in these modern lofts, pigeons able to put this new colony on the right track. Tom paid a visit to several top fanciers in order to get new pigeons which will be strictly tested, his motto in the pigeon sport being: 'breed a lot, race a lot, kill a lot'. That's how pigeons from the following fanciers have been introduced: the late Raf Den Haese, Bart Geerinckx, Sam Bostoen, Davy Tournelle, Rudi Den Haese, PEC, Adrien Mirabelle, Jan Pappens, Davy Neyrinckx, Norbert & Stefaan Ally, Rik Cools, Yves De Witte, Jo Bauters and last but not least Philip De Maeseneer. Thanks to his excellent relationship with several buyers from China, Tom has been able to use for breeding some of their top purchases coming from lofts such as Annick Goeteyn, Gaby Vandenabeele, Frederik Everaert & Paul Bellaert.
In this context, the 2018 season was quite an enormous challenge as Tom & Marnik built their racing team with about fifty yearlings cocks without any decent experience as they were only entered into a few races during their birth year. Seeing the ambition of their managers who are only interested by the national races, it was far from being an easy task to come back to the front of the scene this year. The start of the season was quite difficult and after the first sprint races of the season, the pigeons were basketed for six races of 400-500 kilometres in a row. Of course, such a program is not so easy for such young pigeons and it was too hard for a few of them. However, father & son are seeing this as a selection process to get rid of the weaker pigeons. Apparently, it was the perfect preparation for the first test of their season from Brive... where Tom & Marnik proved that with a huge quality, a good condition and regular care, anything was possible.
What was the preparation for the national winner?
The widowers (only cocks were in the racing team in 2018) were coupled on the 4th of December and they raised a couple of youngsters before being separated. The pigeons were then vaccinated against paramyxo and then the pox by their vet, Frederick Oosterlinck. In February, they were treated against paratyphus. Then, the first trainings were scheduled in March. Before the first races, the pigeons were coupled once again and stayed together for 14 days. At the begining of April, they were started racing and basketed for three sprint races, one middle distance race and then six longer middle distance races (see above). The week before Brive, the pigeons received their first week of rest but they had been trained on the Friday from sixty kilometres. If we wanted to sum up the racing program practiced by the Van Gavers, we could conclude that it is very demanding and that it only suits the most powerful pigeons. The others? They do not stay a long time in Moortsele.
Concerning the mixtures & the complementary products, you must know that the Van Gavers are working with the Beyers mixtures and that they use a lot of complimentary products from all the firms on the market (Herbots, Schroeder Tollysan, Rohnfried, MAPP Products, Backs, Ropa, De Weerdt & Vanhee).
Their philosophy is about bringing their pigeons to 100% fitness before the season, mostly through these complimentary products. Then, the pigeons who show any sign of weakness are weeded out.
Like we said before, Brive was in fact the first big test of the season for the team of the yearlings from the Van Gaver colony. In total, no less than thirty-five yearling cocks were basketed for the race and the result booked by the young colony from Moortsele showed the world that the future looks bright.
Brive national (prognose) 4,442 yearlings:
Raf brought back the national victory in Moortsele
If you want to win the national victory with your first nominated of about thirty-five basketed pigeons, you have to be very clever or you simply have a fantastic pigeon. Raf (who owes his name to the memory of the late Raf Den Haese from who he was bred) was anyway the favourite pigeon of Tom. He was apart from the other pigeons in the loft thanks to his behaviour inside the loft and he had mastered a small board leaning against the door of his compartment.
Tom: 'Before he passed away a few months ago, Raf & I became really good friends. During the year 2017, i already planned to race on my own but i didn't have enough young cocks. Raf was only racing hens and I asked him if he was willing to sell me several young cocks to be raced at home. Finally, I purchased nineteen young cocks including the national winner. Actually, there are still eight in my racing team and i'm quite satisfied with them. Of course I would like to dedicate my victory to Raf and i hope that he is enjoying it as much as me where he is now. What is really remarkable is that my dream was to win such a victory with a pigeon from Raf, and if possible with the Raf as he was my favourite pigeon. Now, my dream has come true.'
- Raf (BE17-4163570)
1. Brive national - 4,412 p. '18 5. Blois local - 170 p. '18 75. Provincial - 2,480 p. 16. Bourges I loc - 350 p. '18 772. National - 19,133 p. 55. Châteauroux loc - 490 p. '17 671. Nat Zone - 6,198 p. ...
Congratulations to Tom & Marnik on this fantastic national victory, the first chapter from this new successful story will be probably written in gold... at least we hope so. But with their ambition, their will and their talent, combined with proven breeding lines, there is no doubt that we will see the Van Gaver booking some astonishing performances in the near future.