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Claessens L. - Putte NL

After a 'sabbatical year' and 'long consideration' the final 'verdict' has arrived The 'Best Middle Distance racer' in the world' Ludo CLAESSENS from Putte (NL) quits the pigeon sport!
Every sport has its 'celebrities', 'standouts' and 'stars'… people who one way or another are more intelligent, more powerful and/or 'more gifted' than the rest, and distinguish themselves from their fellow sportsmen… and are seen as the 'best' in their branch of sport. In the cycling racing one thinks of a Anquetil, Coppi, Merckx, Hinault, Armstrong and other Bettini's… in the football they honour stars so as a Pele, Cruijff, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Messi, Kaka, Ronaldo… while in tennis It's a Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Sampras, Federer or Nadal who claim the 'masculine' bill board… and our own pigeon sport has numerous champions and super champions in various disciplines! And then you have that 'coronet' of fanciers who are a touch above the rest, say the 'unreachable hero's' or 'rare wonder talents' of our sport… who know the 'ins and outs' of the pigeon sport better than anybody, as a result of which they 'dominate' their fellow sportsmen! One of these 'rare talents' is without doubt Ludo Claessens, often described in the World wide pigeon press as the 'Best Midfond racer in the world'! Very rightly so, when you see the 'exploits' that this 'miracle man with pigeons' has put down on paper over the years! Certainly not an everyday occurrence as you will read in this 'homage'! Still, there are sometimes two sides to the medallion that comes with the success, with which one can be confronted, like here… Whoever has ever telephoned Ludo Claessens, or visited him for a coffee, knows what a 'talking waterfall' Ludo was and is, once he starts talking about his beloved pigeon sport! Ludo 'radiates' pigeon sport! You might have just experienced your biggest disappointment and be planning to nail your pigeon loft shut with the biggest nails you can find… after chatting with Ludo, you have new courage, once again you are 'interested' in the 'game'. The enthusiasm with which the man can talk about pigeons and the pigeon sport is so infectious… no nonsense, but straight to the point… based on his own practice and experiences… which were a result of the 'incredible performances' that his colony of 'super pigeons' has achieved over the years. When we telephoned Ludo at the end of 2008 it wasn't the 'trusted voice' on the other end of the line… So we left for Putte with 'mixed feelings'…

We wrote at the beginning of 2008 that Ludo Claessens would as of now (from 2008) continue with only 30 or 40 pigeons (8 breeding pigeons and no more than 12 racing pigeons)! All eyes were directed towards Putte once again, waiting to see if Ludo would manage to perform 'stunts' with his 30 pigeons in the middle distance races, so as he had done in previous years!

Until the night of the 17th of February 2008 when suddenly disaster struck and Ludo became the victim of a 'cowardly theft'! In true 'commando style'… these thieves chopped through with the 'big chopping axe' in order to get into Ludo's lofts… they removed 8 pigeons, not the least ones… including the 'star racer' SIMPLY THE BEST (1° Nat Argenton NPO 4.318 p., 1° Prov Orleans RI 2.153 p. in '05, 1° Prov Sens RI 1.890 p., 1° Prov Orleans 1.787 p. in '04, 1° Morlincourt…), both top breeding hens 'BLAUW 007' and 'NEST SISTER KIRSTY', in addition to the 2 newly obtained 'capital crack pigeons' WIZZARD (1° Nat NPO Etampes 17.487 p.) and KANNIBAAL KING (1° Harchies 24.855 p., 1° Sens 1.875 p., 1° Creil 1.705 p…). Not only the theft (with the accompanying material and financial damage), but mainly the way it was carried out… caused an 'emotional crater' in the peace of mind in the otherwise 'optimistic' and 'jovial' man Ludo Claessens… These facts caused him many sleepless nights. The idea that these thieves could return one evening to steal the rest of his pigeons, made him decide to temporarily move his pigeons to a different address, where hopefully they would be 'safe'! He knew that he was taking a risk with his sport season 2008, but there was no other way… it was at that moment, the 'best decision'! Especially when you learn that a week after Ludo had moved his pigeons to a different address, the thieves tried to attack again. This time they removed a section of the pigeon loft roof… but left empty-handed because all the lofts were empty! A few weeks later Ludo made the decision to take a 'sabbatical' and not take part in the races in 2008! A restart in 2009 was an option… but, this won't happen! A summer, a winter, and a lot of pondering later, Ludo has made the painful decision to stop definitely with the pigeon sport! During our visit to Putte we faced an obviously emotional Ludo Claessens. He, the 'speaking waterfall' when it comes to pigeons… could hardly bring himself to say the word 'pigeon'. Whenever we talked about the 'Young Super crack', the 'Favoriet 65', the 'Supervedette'…,he got a 'lump' in his throat, he had to leave the room more than once… to be alone (we suspect) to wipe away a tear. It's only human, and Ludo Claessens is only a man of flesh and blood. Because soon he will have to part with his 'treasure of pigeons', his 'wonder birds'… 'his best friends'… and that means saying farewell to his 'life's work', that for 35 years has given him pleasure, enjoyment and lust for life! A result of years of racing hard and mercilessly selecting… possibly the 'best team' of pigeons that he has ever owned! The feeling of having to live with daily fear and insecurity has obviously got the upper hand on his 'inner peace of mind', especially when you see how audaciously the men (with hammer and axe) went to work here… You can secure your lofts as much as possible with all sorts of camera's and other technical gadgets… that 'feeling of uncertainty' remains and eats at a person, and… then it is better if I stop ,I don't want it anymore… says Ludo. These 2 thefts (within just 2 weeks) formed the 'drops' that made the cup run over… and together with another reason… that is known to insiders and which we will come back to later… caused this 'painful decision' to definitely stop with the pigeon sport! The 'verdict' has been given, the 'myth' Ludo Claessens will say farewell. Whoever has ever wanted to own these miraculous 'super pigeons' knows how difficult it was to obtain them, and still is…! Because Ludo Claessens was first and foremost a 'pigeon racer', and… certainly not a 'trader' of pigeons! When building up his pigeon stock, Ludo Claessens didn't spend exorbitant amounts of money straight away. He proved that one can obtain 'super pigeons' from the 'smaller top champions' in the area, even with pigeons from the 'Lier market'… one can achieve 'miraculous performances' in the pigeon sport! That is why we are giving you the 'success story'… say the 'life's work' of Ludo Claessens… in a few episodes in


The 'living legend' Ludo Claessens…


Part 1: The secret of a solid basis (1974-1995)

In this first episode we will deal with the 'roots', say the 'foundations' with which the colony of Ludo Claessens was built, and his first top successes: the period 1974-1995! For those who don't know, Ludo is a Dutch 'Belgian', born (1951) from a Belgian father and a Dutch mother… not so surprising when you live just 1 km from the Dutch border. He was given the nationality of his father, even served in the army in Belgium… but has lived all his life in Holland! Ludo was mainly raised by his grandparents, where he was soon to be found with 'granddad Louis' in the pigeon lofts, and with whom he later raced in combination! He had in his 'granddad Louis Sebrechts' an excellent teacher when he stepped into the pigeon sport… it wasn't for nothing that Ludo called his granddad a 'pigeon psychologist', who gave him the advice: as a person, imagine oneself in the pigeon environment… in other words: learn what makes a pigeon 'unhappy' or 'happy', in order to encourage their 'performance urge'! Ludo soon realised that you can't make a pigeon do what he is not capable of… This is then the 'guiding principle' that hides behind the top successes which have been achieved over the years, namely…

Selection! Few pigeons… inconceivably few even… were allowed to remain for the winter each year. Even 80 pigeons was and is 'very many' by Ludo Claessens-standards… the number of pigeons that passed the yearly selection would usually be a maximum of 60 or 70 pigeons… with in the begin period 1974-1985 no more than 20 or 25 pigeons in the loft… just to give you an idea! Only the pigeons that he could use for the building up of his own breeding stock, and for 'shining' in the races the following season were allowed to remain for the winter in Putte in the Keizerstraat! The rest left for 'mother's kitchen'… no, not to the 'trade' so as some 'vicious tongues' would have you believe!
Ludo enjoyed the fact that his pigeons were placed in the 'spotlight' because of their performances… but to make Putte a pilgrimage for pigeons… that made him shudder and he wanted nothing to do with it. Because if there is one thing that we admire in the man Ludo Claessens it is his straight line in thinking and handling! His objective at the start was then: trying to create the best pigeon stock in the world for the races up to the short middle distance, said and written as 500 Km! Ludo looked for the 'shortest way' of achieving his goal, and did everything he thought he had to do!
One of the points that enjoyed 'top priority' and was marked in red was then: Selection! The first question that comes to mind is: how do you manage this with so few pigeons in the loft? In the pigeon sport the standard is 'plenty of breeding' and then a strict selection, in the hope of discovering 'good pigeons'? Ludo's answer to this is quite simple: it has to remain pleasurable! Everything must remain clear, and above all you don't have a loft full of good pigeons straight away, you have to work at it! And that means… daring to select when it hurts! Not many can do this…either because they like these pigeons… or because they give themselves too many illusions!
The secret… now, secret (?)… is removing the 'good pigeons', and only keeping the 'very best'! Didn't we hear a 'sly fox' but miraculous Belgian 'super champion' Marcel Aelbrecht announce the same thing? Marcel also raced the 'national racing calendar' of Belgium under the table with a maximum of 14 old + 5 yearling widowers in the lofts… '19' was the number of racing pigeons that he never diverted from! So the same philosophy by Ludo Claessens as basis to success…so much so that anno 2008 virtually all the pigeons in the racing team had won at least one prize per thousand, or a 1° Prize in a big race (read Prov Rayon, NPO or National) or arrived home with another pigeon that had won a 1° (what abroad is described as 1*, read: equal First)… not to mention the 'late pigeons' out the very best stock breeders which were directly reserved for breeding! Other pigeons… Ludo Claessens doesn't want them, so simple is the 'success picture'! Let's take a look at the 'short road' that Ludo had marked out and walked along!

His first pigeons
Ludo fund in 'granddad Sebrechts' not only a 'fine teacher'… when, after his marriage to Marja in 1974 he started racing on his own from the 'Keizerstraat, the very first pigeons came from granddad! With these over-tested pigeons Ludo achieved in his first sport year 1° Orleans, 1° Moulins (with the dark Thijssen, which would later lie at the basis of the 'Voskes line), 1° St.Vincent and 1° Ruffec… something which directly illustrated his 'feeling' for pigeons! A quasi 'infallible feeling' for pigeons that was exceptionally useful, when he went to obtain reinforcements… whether they came from a 'good racing neighbour', a 'small unknown' fancier or even from the 'Lier-market'! Ludo searched for and nearly always chose the 'best'! People even believed that I knew 'it', laughs Ludo when he thinks back to that time! So was the 'man to beat' in the time that he raced with his granddad, one Gaston Cruysweegs! They mainly raced with a nest up to 350 Km, but sometimes dared to send a pigeon to the 'long distance'! Results with the 5 first prizes against thousands of pigeons… were not a rarity by Gaston! Are you surprised that in his begin period Ludo rang the door bell by Gaston?
Ludo remembers Gaston as a 'fine fancier', one with 'pigeon ingeniousness ' in his 'head'… who understood the art of, without digging deep into his pockets, managing to come away with the best pigeons… by toppers at the time so as: Gebr Van Gils, Louis Vermeyen, Stan Raeymaeckers etc… Ludo and his granddad obtained stock pigeons so as 'the Rappe' and the 'Schouwveger'. In 1974 Ludo took an egg from his best breeding couple, wherefrom Gaston predicted that it would be a cock… and what a cock! He had the ring number NL74-238915, and was given the name 'The Fokstier'… and became the absolute stock father of the Ludo Claessens loft! He produced good to 'supers' by virtually every hen… a real 'stock bear' and 'breeding wonder'! In total he gave Ludo no less than 18 different 1° Prize winners, including the phenomenal '08' (2599108/77) who won 4 x 1° prize and 6 x 2°! Ludo Claessens was directly 'sitting pretty'!
To be able to start with such 'merchandise' in the lofts… the dream of every pigeon fanatic! And yet… the art is to firstly to secure such 'hereditary material' in the breeding lines… and then via 'selection' bring the nouveau to a higher level… in other words set the 'expectations' higher! An art that Ludo Claessens clearly has in his 'fingers'! He proved this with 4 direct children of the 'Fokstier' which are included in the entire Claessens stock in the period 1974-1995!

- The first breeding line was this from the '08' with his 4 x 1° and 6 x 2° prizes in big races. The 'Black White pen 69' and the 'Dark 40' came from this line (that lay at the basis of the 'Voskes line)!

- The second breeding line arose when the 'Fokstier' was coupled with the higher cited 'Dark Thijssen'! The 'Fokstier' easily produced 'piebald' and white pen pigeons… also the 'Grote Bonte', ring NL76-2488239 was born from this breeding line. She won 28° Nat Orleans… and was already paired with a 'red cock' with Horemans blood,
the 'Oude Roden' B69-6582499 (that Ludo had also bought from Gaston Cruysweegs) were at the basis of the 'Voskes line'. Their descendants included later top pigeons so as the:

" 'Rooie Orleans': 1° Orleans 2.610 p., 1° St.Quentin 384 p. (fastest of roughly 20.000 p.) and was a great-grandson of the 'Oude Roden'
" 'Vos 28' NL86-8664528: comes out a 'Son Rooie Orleans' coupled with the 'Klein 54' (daughter F194, see further). He won 3° Limoges 1.640 p. and 4° Compiegne 1.209 p. Ludo coupled him with the 'Nest sister 1° Nat Orleans', which was then inbreed to the 'Fokstier'… They were the parents of the 'Voske 54'! "
'Voske 54': was self a super-gifted racing pigeon, but especially a super breeder! He was father of 4 x 1° Provincial winners and one 'National winner'! He was also grandfather of the top star of 1995, namely the 'Red Arrow', winner 1° Nat Orleans 5.445 p… With a 'granddaughter White pen Orleans' (see further) he was father of the 'Voske 88'
" 'Voske 88': won 1° Chateauroux 3.069 p. (4° National) and mother of 'Red Arrow' (1° Nat Orleans)!
" 'Voske 91': comes out 'Voske 54' x 'Daughter White pen Orleans'… he won 1° Chateauroux 4.506 p. and 1° Creil 1.968 p.
" 'Dark 92': nest sister 'Voske 91'… she won 4° Chateauroux 2.898 p. (behind 3 roommates)… and was mother of the 1° Chateauroux 2.069 p.!
" 'The Dream': comes out 'Voske 54' x 'Dark white pen 72' (mother of the Nationaaltje). He also won 1° National 7.406 p. (directly the third national victory for Ludo) and 2° fastest of the entire convoy of 193.500 p… The Dream was lost in a race a few weeks later! The superior 'Voskes line' where out excellent breeders and racing pigeons have been bred over the years!

- The third breeding line was the line of the 'Zotten'! Because another 'Daughter Fokstier' ring NL82-8268974 was mother of toppers so as the 'White pen Zot' who won 2° Nat Orleans… while his sister, the 'Red Zottin' won 1° Creil 2.304 p., and was mother of the 3° Nat Orleans! Ludo coupled the line '08' with this 'Zotten-line' and directly bred from this line his 1° National Orleans 1987!

- The fourth line and maybe the most successful arose when Ludo coupled the 'Fokstier' with the 'Old Blue Smijers' that Ludo had bought as a voucher in 1976. Sport friend Smijers donated a voucher with the choice out of 2 proven racers… the 'bontje' had performed extremely well, the 'blauwtje' much less. Ludo bought the voucher, and to everybody's surprise het took the 'Blauwtje' home with him… Was it his 'feeling' for pigeons or pure intuition, the fact is that this 'Old Blue Smijers hen' (so as she was later named) coupled with the 'Fokstier' grew to be a real 'stock mother'! They are, amongst other things, parents of possibly the 'best breeder' out the 'Fokstier', namely the 'White pen Orleans' NL81-8191863, self 5° National Orleans 9.709 p. He was grandfather of the 1°, 2°, 3° National Orleans by Ludo (see further)… but also for the now world famous 'Super Ludo-hen' ring NL91-2422897 (granddaughter of the White pen Orleans and of 'Voske 53') who by Frans Waerniers, Knesselare (B) is mother of the

1e National Narbonne 6.092 p. in 1996
1e Prov Brive 1.331 p. and 3e Nat Brive 5.736 p. in 1996
1e Prov Brive Derby 632 p. and 3e Nat Brive Derby 2.589 p. in 1996

A fantastic breeding line in the Belgian pigeon sport history and 'mother' and 'grandmother' of 1° National winners and 'National Ace pigeons' in the 'Long Distance' and 'Extreme Long Distance' in various other lofts (including 'Shrek 2' or the 1° Provincial + 2° Nat Ace pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2006 by O&K.Brackenier) ! Powerful top successes made by… Ludo Claessens!
That the 'Fokstier' with the 'Old Blue Smijers' formed a 'super couple' was proved by the 'nest sister 864/81' from the 'White pen Orleans' who landed 15 minutes ahead in a very tough Chateauroux with NE-wind, at the time she won the 1° prize Chateauroux against 2.557 youngsters and 2° National. This more or less formed the 'overture' for the recital of podium places and victories that Ludo Claessens has since managed top put down on paper year after year, in the 'national classics' for youngsters!


The 'White pen Orleans' or how the 'dice' can roll…
So as mentioned earlier, this pure 'classy piece' was the overture to the chain of victories and podium places at 'national level' which Ludo Claessens up until today has put down on paper! But also here there is a nice anecdote… One day (in 1982) a good acquaintance of Ludo´s, namely Toine Musters, came to ask Ludo if he possibly had something to sell to him. Ludo had to disappoint his sport friend and the 2 decided to go together to the market in Lier…
Ludo was going to pick out a few of the best for Toine, which were possibly as good as those from himself. One Sunday morning they both jumped in the car and left for Lier. The quality by the Lier market was not to Ludo´s taste… After a lot of searching and feeling they had 5 youngsters from the couple of thousand that were on offer… which were worth taking to the Netherlands. When they returned home the pigeons were re-examined… both were convinced that they had made the right choice… even though Ludo was convinced that the 'blue one' would be the best one.
Ludo spoke 'knowledgeably': if that is not a good one, then I know nothing! Toine was so moved, that he suggested to Ludo that he raced this pigeon from the Claessens lofts! The pigeon didn't let him down and won consecutively 1° St.Quentin 801 p., 1° Corbeil 2.221 p., and 1° Orleans 7.100 p.! Also as a 2-year old it was entered for the races and was easily the best pigeon, not only in the Claessens lofts, but also in the wider environment! She was later given the name the 'Knap Blauwke', ring B82-6322858! Therefore Ludo once again contacted the seller, with the intention of buying the breeding couple… but this 'deal' didn't go through in the end because both parents didn't have the qualities of their daughter according to the 'Ludo Claessens-standards', … the 'knower's eye' of Ludo saw this straight away! The first breeding results of the 'Knap Blauw' were below average, compared to what Ludo had in his lofts at that moment.
Until 1987… when Ludo coupled the 'Knap Blauwke' with the 'White pen Orleans'… it was immediately 'bingo'! They produced the wondrous twins 'Blue 58' and 'Blue 59', together father of the 1°, 2°, 3°, 3°, 4°, 8°, 9° National Orleans.
The couple 'White pen Orleans x Knap Blauwke' remained coupled with each other for 2 years and also produced the 'Bonte Ekster' and the '911', both of which would play an important role in the further stock building, take a look:
- The 'Bonte Ekster' was father of the '75' (175/89) and the 'Witneus 53' (see further)
- The '911' self won 2 x 1° Prize and was father of the 'Platkop' who won 1° Creil 1.331 p., 3° Nat Orleans 8.210 p., and 5° Nat Montargis 2.147 p.. Ludo bred the 5° Nat Orleans and the 5° + 7° Nat Chateauroux out a full sister of this 'Platkop'!
- The 'Blauwe 59' was a step higher as father of the 2° Nat Orleans, 1° Creil 1.045 p., 1° Orleans 4.947 p. (3° National), 2° Chateauroux 2.898 p., and 1° Chateauroux 2.930 p. (3° Nat). The greatest 'crack' that was produced by this 'Blue 59', and who would later play a leading role in the further stock building is without doubt the 'Supercrack 69', his wins included:

1° Etampes 3.211 p. with a good 4' lead (and fastest of roughly 70.000 pigeons)
1° Provins 2.231 p. (fastest of the entire lot of 25.000 pigeons)
2° Reims 2.763 p. (after fellow loft mate)
3° Montargis 692 p. (after 2 loft mates)
5° Creil 2.735 p. etc…

- The 'Blue 58', the twin brother of own nest brother of the 'Blue 59'… gave even more impressive breeding results. So was he, amongst other things, father of the 'Nationaaltje' NL91-9187757 that won
1° Nat Orleans (district 1B)… but also father of the 3°, 4°, 8°, 9° Nat Orleans!
One of his best known sons is without doubt the 'Favoriet', (favourite) that raced the following toppers:
1° Provins 1.974 p. (fastest of 25.000 pigeons)
3° Orleans 4.481 p.
8° Compiegne 4.196 p.
9° Creil 3.334 p.

These are all pigeons out the line 'White pen Orleans' coupled with the 'Knap Blauw'… a pigeon from 'Lier Market'! Just to make clear that the 'most expensive wine' is not per definition the 'best'!

Now, re-coupled with the '08-line' the 'White pen Orleans' gave: the 'Donkere 65' NL85-8590865, a phenomenal top breeder! So was he, amongst other things, father of the 1° Golden Crack 1989 with the 8926177/89.
This '177' was then also in turn grandmother of the 1° Golden Crack '91 and great-grandfather of the 1° Golden Crack '92… talk about 'over dominance'! Coupled with the 'Dik Licht 56' (an inbred product out the famous 'F194') the 'Donkere 65' showed what he was really capable of. This 'F194' (ring 194/81) was obtained by Ludo from Chris Adams, and was a half 'Klak pigeon' (closely related to the Oude Merckx from Janssen-Arendonk)… and once again Ludo had chosen the top bird!
This 'F194' won as a 2-year old, three weeks in a row 1° Corbeil, 1° Melun and as icing on the cake, once again 1° Corbeil Prov 2.200 pigeons. Later by the breed he gave 3 'top breeding hens' in the form of the 'Klein 53', the 'Klein 54' and coupled with his own granddaughter he produced the 'Dik Licht 56'!

Coupled with the 'Bonte Ekster' (out 'White pen Orleans x Knap Blauwke') the 'Dik Licht 56 ' produced the unequalled '75' ring 175/89 who won 1° Creil 1.061 p., 5° Nat Chateauroux 9.183 p., and 15° Nat Orleans 8.090 p.… while his full brother, the 'Witneus 53' then again won 1° Creil 1.323 p., 2° Creil 1.412 p., 3° Creil 1.606 p., 3° Creil 2.046 p., and 1° St.Quentin 427 p.! So as we mentioned earlier, a new unequalled breeding couple was formed when Ludo coupled this 'Dik Licht 56' with the 'Donkere 65'! They are, amongst other things, the parents of the following toppers in the racing and breeding loft:

- The 'Dark White pen 72' ring NL90-9014072 who in turn was mother of the 1° Nat Orleans 7.406 p. in 1991 and 1° Nat Orleans 8.210 p. in 1993…
Other children and grandchildren win amongst other things 1° Chateauroux 2.898 p., 1° Nijvel 2.355 p., 1° St.Ghislain 2.626 p., 2° Chateauroux 2.069 p., 3° Orleans 3.919 p…

- The absolute star racer out that period, the famous 'Katoog' NL92-9207628, whose wins included 1° Etampes 1.073 p., 1° Etampes 1.963 p. (fastest of 25.000 p.), and 1° Orleans 4.947 p. + 4° Nat Orleans! A 'brother Katoog' won 1° St.Ghislain 4.368 p… while his 'sister' in turn was mother of the 1° Creil 2.321 p.!

- In 1991 this 'wonder couple' delivered the 4° Nat Orleans 8.210 p… a performance that was worth a 1° Nat victory, because she was only beaten by 3 loft mates!!!
But there is more, and certainly no less important news from the breeding front, because… coupled with the 'Dark VA 195/90' the 'Dik Licht 56' became mother of the unbeatable stock bear the 'Late Donkere 375/93', and… lean back in your chair with your glasses perched on the end of your nose for the breeding exploits of this 'wonderboy'… because this 'Late Donkere' was:
- father of the 1° Nat. Orleans '95 and the 1° Nat Orleans '02
- grandfather of the 1° Nat. Orleans '01
- great grandfather of the 2° + 3° Nat. Orleans 2006!
- great grandfather of the 1° + 3° Nat. Orleans 2007!
And then we haven't said a word about the 'cartload' of other 'top racers' en superior 'breeding material' that this 'fanatic' put into the world, which would dominate the 2° episode in the history of the Ludo Claessens-colony with 'super pigeons' as his son the 'Favoriet 65', and grandsons the 'Blue White pen Bliksem', the 'Young Supercrack' and their direct descendants! In short, we can say that Ludo Claessens, with this 'White pen Orleans' and the 'Dik Licht 56', had pure 'breeding gold' in the lofts, which in the shortest of time gave him 'world fame'… almost unimaginable how the dice can roll!

A stray
In 1978 Gaston Cruysweegs bought a 'Slate Cock' ring B78-6115575 (pedigree Michielsen) from a Belgian sport friend in Putte… one of the 'good sort' then! When he tried to teach the pigeon his new loft he lost him, and a few days later he walked into the loft of Ludo Claessens. Ludo was so impressed with this pigeon that he promptly told Cruysweegs to never get rid of this pigeon before 'telling him' first! Apparently the breed didn't go very well by Cruysweegs, because in 1982 he offered this cock to Ludo. Ludo didn't hesitate for a second and bought him together with his hen.
It was no surprise that he also took the hen, because she was a half-sister of his stock pigeon 'the Fokstier'! Ludo was apparently successful because the first clapper that Ludo bred from this couple was the 'Red Zot' NL82-8215829 winner 12° La Souterraine 1.523 p., and 12° Orleans 3.060 p… and won top up to the overnight long distance from Bergerac! He was worth even more as a breeder and was father (coupled with daughter Fokstier) of the 'White pen Zot' NL83-8364098 who won 2° Nat Orleans and 1° against 4.998 p. ZUF with 5' lead. His sister the 'Red Zottin' NL86-8664554 won 1° Creil 2.304 p., 2° Compiègne 1.348 p. and 1° Etampes 400 p… Here the 'breeding strategy Ludo Claessens' came to it's full glory with his inbred coupling 'Son of half-sister Fokstier' x 'Daughter Fokstier'! But it went further… the 'White pen Zot' was now coupled with 'granddaughter of the famous '08': the 'Dark 40' ring NL84-8414940, self 1° Noyon 4.061 p.! This inbred couple 'White pen Zot' x 'Dark 40' presented Ludo with a daughter who won 1° Nat Orleans against approx. 9.000 with 7' lead (district 1 b). Her nest sister was the 'Dark 03' ring NL87-8722903 who became a super stock mother of a generation of 'super pigeons' so as the 'Voske 54', 'Dream', 'Red Arrow', 'Voske 88', 'Vos 91', 'Dark 92'… which we have already mentioned above! It was still the intention of Ludo to anchor the exceptional 'dominant qualities' of his pigeons in the stock via 'inbreeding', and thus securing the 'future'!


The 'muse' of the inbreed
Making comparisons between various branches of sport is almost impossible, but sometimes it can be handy for making something clear. Take now football, there you have trainers, good trainers… and top trainers! We explain… most football trainers are only capable of playing the game and no more… as long as everything goes well, no problem, but if problems arise they often can't find a solution to the problems! A world of difference with 'top trainers' of the calibre José Mourinho, sir Alex Furgesson, Fabio Capello, Arsene Wenger, Rafa Benitez, Louis Van Gaal, Guus Hiddink... who, when they join a team, can in the shortest space of time, find the ideal match system to make them successful.
They know straight away where the 'gaps' or the 'weaknesses' are situated in a team, and know which players they need to achieve 'top successes'… to win 'prizes', yes, to make sure the 'jigsaw pieces' fit together perfectly. Seeing that 'enthusiasm' often shields a lack of 'class', they don't always have to be a Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi Kaka (read: expensive pigeons)… or other top celebrities! A team built around 3 or 4 top players surrounded by 'work horses' who will walk through fire for them! We call this: insight and knowledge.

Is it not the same in the pigeon sport?
One fancier is able to get 'more' out of a team of pigeons than another fancier… and the 'real toppers' also know what they need to introduce to their stock to bring them to a higher level or to keep them there. Building up a loft with 2 or 3 real toppers, and create there a family… a 'stock' around them, is often the basis to years of successes in the pigeon sport!
Ludo Claessens is one of the perfect examples of this within our pigeon sport. He is possibly the modern 'Louis Van Gaal' within the pigeon sport. Look at what sport brother Louis has realised with his 'AZ', with a team without real (expensive) top stars. The pigeon career of Ludo took the same road… Ludo also moulded a stock of pigeons with what he had available, that for the middle distance and 1-day long distance, nothing could compare to!
He obtained 'top class' by 'smaller' but 'good' fanciers as the starting basis… we are thinking of the stock breeder 'Fokstier', the 'Vale Michielsen', the 'Old Red'… Ideal crossing material was found in the 'Knap Blauw', the 'Fameuze 194' etc… and so allowed the pieces of the jigsaw to fit together perfectly! To remain at the 'top' you have to try to anchor and keep the best out of your stock via 'inbreeding'… and try to get rid of any small flaws or threatening shortcomings via suitable crossings! It is written in the books that often the problem with 'inbreeding' is that the pigeons lose vitality!
Ludo Claessens knows everything there is to know about this: let them proclaim their theories in the 'books'… you just haven't got to let it go so far that your pigeons lose 'vitality', and this is done… through 'selection'! With inbreeding and selecting one anchors the characteristics that you chose yourself… whoever ignores the 'vitality' by the selection goes downhill! No, you must never let it get that far… Allow us to catalogue this under the name 'professional skill'! Here above you can read how Ludo went about things, how he could make his colony 'outstanding' compared to the competition! Once you are there it is difficult to find equal, let alone 'better' breeding material than what you already have in your lofts. No, this isn't being arrogant… it is purely the correct analysis of what in reality took place in the lofts of Ludo Claessens. Through lack of equal… let alone 'better' breeding material he was forced to anchor the 'dominant super genes' of his pigeon stock via inbreeding, and optimally exploit these for the future! A 'mission' that he passed with flying colours, because the performance curve reached never seen before heights… heights that followed each other like an express train, and went in search of higher and higher lying regions, so that… with the millennium insight, it was just impossible to race against this Ludo Claessens… but that is for the '2° episode' of this success story!