A radically different season due to Covid 19
The extreme long distance season looked quite different compared to previous years due to corona. Since the racing season did not start until late May, with a number of training flights for the sprint competition, the international races of the extreme long distance had to be organised in quick succession, in five consecutive weekends (from 18th of July to 15th of August), with sometimes two races in a single weekend. This called for a completely different planning, approach and preparation. Etienne Meirlaen had to move things around in order to have a strong team at the start of each race.
The fancier from Deurle quickly knew what to do. Only the pigeons raced from the nest would be able to do two races. This was not really an option for the widowers, since it would be impossible to darken the large barn where Etienne Meirlaen keeps his widowers. Besides, basketing pigeons for an extreme long distance race in August, if they have already shed four or five feathers, puts your future of both pigeon and pigeon fancier at stake. So he knew what he was up to.
He would be focusing mostly on the first three weekends of extreme long distance racing, with the races from Pau, Agen and St. Vincent. He completed the last two races from Rieux Minervois (Perpignan) and Narbonne with his hens raced from the nest and two cocks from Narbonne. The one year olds hens (raced from the nest) had to race both in Agen and Narbonne, so as to separate the wheat from the chaff. The majority of one year old cocks were basketed for Limoges-Souillac. In other words, he did not want to ask too much from his pigeons, so as not to jeopardize their future. He had put together a different team for Barcelona.
You can tell from his excellent results in the international extreme long distance that Etienne Meirlaen had made the right choices. We were genuinely impressed with some of his overall results. .
1st Provincial & 2nd National Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2020
His many great results eventually led to a title of 1st Provincial and 2nd National Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2020, with another descendant of the golden Yelena dynasty, crossbred to the long distance bloodlines of Jan Hooymans. That same pigeon - Yelena's Ace - has also just won a title of 2nd International Ace Pigeon Europe Cup 2020. This fantastic athlete had already demonstrated his potential in 2019 as a yearling, with early finishes both in Limoges and Souillac. It goes to show that a talented bird will inevitably come to the fore one day. We take a look at his best results:
-Yelena’s Ace BE18-4216081
1st Prov Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2020
2nd Nat Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2020
2nd Internat Ace Pigeon Europacup 2020
10. Nat Agen 5,140 p. ’20
26. Nat Narbonne 4,454 p. ’20
40. Nat Souillac 4,056 p. ’19
130. Nat Limoges 10,783 p. ’19
This fantastic racing bird was bred from a breeding cock of Jan Hooymans with ring number NL11-1911801 (grandson of a 1st Nat. Barcelona x 1st Nat. perpignan x the Don Michel bloodline of Cor de Heijde), crossbred to one of the best breeding hens of the Meirlaen breed, Miss Agen. Miss Agen has a 1st Prov. Agen 659 YLs and a 3rd Nat. Agen 3,180 YLs to her name, and she is a daughter of stock breeder Montali (son of golden stock dam Yelena) x Daughter Ace Pair. Daughter Ace Pair comes from Cor (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2008) x Perpignanlady (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon extreme long distance KBDB 2009). The bloodlines of previous national ace pigeons have now bred a new national ace pigeon.
2nd Final One loft race
The Meirlaen pigeons showed their potential in other lofts as well, and they were also very successful in a number of one loft races. They won a second place in the final of the Derby del Mediterraneo OLR 2020. This was a very demanding race in difficult conditions, with a speed of 893 m/min. The Meirlaen pigeon responsible for this first place was Derby Yelena BE20-4118310. Her sire is Son Montali BE14-4261283 (and thus a grandson of golden stock dam Yelena), and the dam is Daughter Marco BE18-4216498 (Marco won a 1st Nat. Pau in 2014 and her dam won a 1st Nat. Bordeaux S2 of 9,691 pigeons).
The best results of 2020
Golden stock dam Yelena is still playing a very crucial role in the racing team: even the third and fourth generation of descendants of this fantastic breeder are among the top performers in the international races. Here are the results of five weeks of extreme long distance racing in 2020:
Agen club 248 yearlings:
Agen National 5,955 yearlings:
Agen club 189 olds:
Agen National 5,140 olds:
A total of 42 hens were basketed for Agen, leading to the following results at national level:
Agen National 3,273 hens:
14-18-23-32-46-49-50-55-57-64-118-139-143-145-160-162-202-270-301… or 19 pigeons per 10 and a total of 25 prizes with 42 basketed hens.
This has been quite a remarkable overall performance from the Meirlaen pigeons in Agen. This is clearly a world class breed!
Narbonne 89 yearlings: 1-3-4-5-6-8-10-12-14-15-21-25-28-29-30 (15/27)
Narbonne Provincial 1,028 YLs: 17-67-90-93-95-115-151-167-196-197-256-310-340
Narbonne National 4,120 YLs: 98-286-370-391-401-493-663-724-848-820-1023
Narbonne 98 olds: 1-4-9-11 (4/8)
Narbonne Provincial 1,028 olds: 7-44-74-78
Narbonne National 4,454 olds: 26-229-337-349 (4/8)
Rieux-Minervois (Perpignan) 98 olds: 2-23-31 (3/6)
Rieux-Minervois National 2,643 olds: 12-385-560 (3/6)
Rieux-Minervois International 3,054 hens: 40-425-601-656-758 (5/6)
Marseille club 29 olds: 1-3-5 (3/7) – Prov 222 olds: 3-22-27 (3/7)
Marseille National 2,102 olds: 22-189-213 (3/7)
Pau club 93 olds: 2-3-6-7-20-22-29 (7/11)
Pau National 2,919 olds: 24-47-60-66-400-430-657 (7/11)
St.Vincent club 92 olds: 5-12-13-14-15-18-21-23-26-28-30-31 (12/23)
St.Vincent National 3,038 olds: 41-243-250-257-288-385-547-602-656-736
The numbers speak for themselves.
Meirlaen pigeons: international stars in the extreme long distance
This is a team of international stars indeed, judging from their many great results. These pigeons have demonstrated their world-class potential in the extreme long distance again in 2020, with victories at club level, great results at national level and several ace pigeon titles both at national and international level! The modern-day Meirlaen pigeon is truly one of a kind, this is a class-leading pigeon family!