Gerard Schalkwijk belongs to the best extreme long distance fanciers in Midden Nederland (Afd. 7) but is also nationally recognized. He comes from a true pigeon fanciers family, as the Schalkwijk family name can be found at the top of the results for decades. Gerard's mentor was his father Ries, who unfortunately passed away several years ago. He made Gerard the fancier he is now. Whilst Ries primarily shined on short, middle and long distance, Gerard focuses fully on the extreme long distance races. A discipline for which he has a remarkable stock of pigeons.
His current stock is a mix of Cor de Heijde via the Belgian Frans Bungeneers, Jelle Jellema and de Aarden via Fam. van Houten. There are several more super pigeons from different fanciers too, but the largest part originates from the names mentioned above. Gerard is an average sized fancier and says "it has to be doable, we therefore don't fill our lofts with too many pigeons, quality over quantity!". Besides being a pigeon fancier, Gerard's occupation also involves pigeon sport. He is the owner of Travipharma (health-supplements mainly produced for pigeons). This season Gerard has a team of 85 racers played on the nest, 24 breeding pairs and 75 young birds. This year he started with more yearlings than usual, that are kept in an open aviary (open front). The old pigeons are raced on the ZLU-races with morning releases, whilst the yearlings and late young birds from 2019 are raced on the extreme long distance races with afternoon releases. The pigeons are trained on the provincial races and well known training flights basketed in Hank (Wegrestaurant Napoleon). Due to the bad weather conditions he also trained the pigeons himself several times. In total, the pigeons basketed on Perigueux had flown 1700km in preparation for this race.
As mentioend earlier, Gerard is one of the best extreme long distance fanciers in The Netherlands. Click here to view Gerard's own website to get an overview of his best results of the past years.
The nightly spectacle Perigueux 2021
On June 19th of last weekend, Sector 3 and 4 raced from Perigueux. This race was released Friday afternoon at 15:30. Due to the Southern wind it was expected that the pigeons would arrive at night. The pigeons aren't tired when night falls...so they fly on. Not all pigeons that fly at night reach home, as it requires an exceptional orientation. Many pigeons that fly through the night realize they have flown too far when the sun comes up. One of the reasons why many pigeons return from a Northern direction in the morning. For many fanciers nighttime arrivals are sensational and an impressive achievement by the pigeons that manage it.
Gerard who read that a pigeon was clocked at 00:00 on another race (Bordeaux Sector 1 and 2), took into account nighttime arrivals. He went to his bedroom at 01:00 to check his clocking notification system and when he turned around he got a notification...he had clocked his first pigeon! He went to the lofts together with is wife Katiuska, who couldn't sleep either. It was the yearling NL20-1323505 who was waiting for them inside his loft. During taking care of this pigeon, two other pigeons flew onto the roof. This spectacular race, in the middle of the night, continued for some time as many more pigeons arrived in the dark. At the end of the day, Gerard had achieved the following magnificent result:
NL20-1323505 Night Goldplay, 2nd National S3 Perigueux 6,759 pigeons (1st NPO 1,604 p.)
The winner is a beautiful, long pigeon with a feisty appearance, soft feathers, long supple muscles and a long wing with a short arm. In preparation for this race he flew 1700km. As a young bird he was trained on flights up to 350km with 1x 2 nights basket. His pedigree reads super pigeons such as Barca King (father Gold Play) and Orange Oil (1st Nat. and Int. Ace pigeon Barcelona 2017-2019).
NL17-1082738 Mighty Wings, 4th National S3 Perigueux 6,759 pigeons (2nd NPO 1,604 p.)
Second to arrive was Mighty Wings, a 50% Jellema and 50% Bungeneers pigeon. This cock also has super soft feathers and supple muscles. With a 4th National Perigueux he is not a one hit wonder as he already won 10th Nat. Perpignan S3 and 92th Nat. Narbonne in 2019. His hen, together raced on eggs of 10 days, arrived home shortly after. In the following 30 minutes another 2 pigeons managed to reach the lofts. Despite having lights on the lofts Gerard couldn't manage to get these pigeons down from the roof in the dark, and where clocked during sunrise.
NL20-1323625 Night Perigueux, 5th National S3 Perigueux 6,759 pigeons (3rd NPO 1,604 p.)
Night Perigueux arrived 3rd and he too was raced on eggs of 10 days. His father is a half brother to MG430 (Arjan Beens x Jellema). Mother is the super hen Lady in the Dark.
Lady in the Dark is both an invaluable racer and breeder at Gerard's lofts:
Gerard's opinion on night flying
Perfectionistic, eager and driven are several words that describe Gerard. Here is his comment on night flying with which we conclude this article:
"Nighttime arrivals are increasingly important for extreme long distance fanciers since the new neutralization time regulations are in order. Previously, when a pigeon arrived shortly after the beginning of the NT, a pigeon arriving just after the NT at a slightly further distance would easily beat the pigeon that arrived hours earlier. Partly because of this I spent the past 6 years devoted to breeding and training pigeons that could arrive at dusk and/or during the dark. Especially the lines from my International Golden Barcelona pigeon "Orange Oil", such as "Goldplay" have proven to posses these qualities. "Goldplay" won 1st Nat. Perigueux in 2020 and arrived at 02:40 in the dark. A year later, from the same lines (a nephew), "Night Goldplay" wins 2nd Nat. S3 whilst arriving at 01:14. With other pigeons arriving at 01:45 and 01:47 at night. The last mentioned is bred directly from Lady in the Dark, this International Ace pigeon from 2017 managed to arrive at night twice from a race".
Due to repeated success on Perigueux Gerard got the nickname "Mr. Perigueux". After successive nighttime arrivals we may have to start calling him "King of the Night".