During the last weekend of July the 'classic of all classics' for the Middle Distance specialists is on the national racing calendar, being 'Bourges 2'! With a participation of 70.889 pigeons in total (a good 10.000 pigeons more than in 2007, and 15.000 more than in 2006) the organisers of the 'Belgische Verstandhouding' were more than happy! Still, possibly for the 8th weekend in a row, the weather picture threatened to be the spoilsport. For the last few days the summer had arrived in the country but heavy thunderstorms above France forced the baskets to remain closed once again on the Saturday.
On Sunday it was ideal pigeon weather on the flight lines so that at 8 o'clock nearly 71.000 pigeons could begin their journey home! It became a rather heavy task, because with a temperature of 25 degrees, under a 'strong sun', and as bonus sometimes a light headwind this task was not 'a piece of cake'!
The first 'heat' was especially difficult for the pigeons. At national level there were early pigeons almost everywhere, in other words, it was well distributed yet the first pigeons landed on the borderline of East and West Flanders with the national victory by the Old and yearlings in West-Fl., and the youngsters in the province East-Flanders!
In the end it was Philip Grymonprez who pocketed the national victory by the 16.802 yearlings with his "Mauricio", clocked at 13h52'09" from a distance of 423,232 Km, good for a velocity of 1201,85 m/min also the highest speed of the entire convoy of Bourges-pigeons!
By the yearlings Philip was in front of Johny & Yves Jonckers out Drieslinter who achieved 1184 m/min, while the battle for 3rd place looked to be a matter of seconds between Roger Himpe from Harelbeke, Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede from Zingem and Geert Landuyt from Adegem, probably in this order.
"Mauricio" fastest Bourges pigeon
The winning pigeon was christened "Mauricio", as a tribute to Philip's father who is called "Maurice" and who still comes to wait for the pigeons from the further races, and who also helps with taking the clocks to the club. A helping hand that is very welcome because Philip is a policeman by profession, and usually has to work 3 of the 4 weekends anything except ideal when you race pigeons! He also gives thanks to his wife who helps daily with the care of the pigeons when Philip is out working.
It is for these reasons that the Grymonprez family see the pigeon sport as unadulterated relaxation, a pure hobby. In full season the total colony consists of no more than 120 pigeons, consisting of a handful of breeding couples, 12 widowers for the start of the season and 40 youngsters (at the moment already reduced to 28 pigeons). There is neither time nor room for more pigeons, but that is not necessary according to Philip. It has to remain manageable, that's why they like to keep things simple... and also because it is often his wife who has to take care of the training and basketting. Then the simplest method is to always do everything the same way!
The hens are never shown before leaving, also not now for Bourges! For feed the pigeons are given the 'Vandenabeele mixture' from the firm Beyers, but for the last 3 days sport mixture is served.
For the breeding season and just before the racing season starts, a visit is paid to the veterinary surgeon and the advice is followed.
If he notices during the season that the performance curve is showing a downward line than Philip will visit the 'man in white' once again but for the rest he tries to keep his pigeons close to nature, and tries to keep the pigeons healthy naturally. If you have to add something to the food or water every day and you are just like us, with 2 people in the lofts, then it is impossible and superfluous work, according to Philip. With his national victory from Bourges Yearlings, Philip has proved that things can be done differently.
His "Mauricio" ring B07-3108551 is not just any old pigeon, but a first-rate racing pigeon.
He stems on father's side out the "Grandson Quattro 868/06" (coming out the "Son Quattro 260/04" x "Simons-hen 820/03" from Gebr Simons from Ransdaal).
On mother's side he comes out the "Blue 850/06" (daughter of "Den Hollander 261/04" or a "son Simons hen 820/03" x "Granddaughter Quattro 639/05), so that this "Mauricio" is in fact inbreed to 2 stock lines, these of "Quattro" and of the "Simons hen"!
He has already won a total of 14 prizes with 21 baskettings (as a youngster + yearling), including in 2008:
Orleans 150 yearlings 25 (with 1092 m)
Orleans 439 old 32 (with 1125 m) 413 yearlings 23 Prov 1.190 yearlings 96
Tours 233 yearlings 11 (with 1049 m) Prov 2.394 yearlings 116
Tours 433 yearlings 55 (with 1290 m)
Bourges Nat 16.802 yearlings 1 (with 1201 m)
A top pigeon who clearly likes races which involve 'working hard' with 1200 m/min or less for speed! Because of the tree in front of the lofts, which blocks out a lot of sun and sometimes makes it quite dark in the lofts, the pigeons never really reach 'top condition' early. This comes with the 'longer days' (read from the middle to end of June), with more light and warmth. That was proved even more now from Bourges. Philip basketted 3 old + 5 yearlings for Bourges who won 4/8, five late youngsters missed the train, but returned home safely.
The Philip Grymonprez colony is for 95% built up with pigeons from his good sport friend Chris De Backer from Beveren Leie, and he would like to take this opportunity to thank him honour where honour's due! We would like to congratulate the Grymonprez family with this magnificent national victory and wish them all the success for the future!