Luc Van Coppenolle (Ouwegem, BE) wins first international Narbonne against 13,527 old birds

It was hot, muggy and torrid. That is how we could describe the weather conditions of the 2013 race from Narbonne. This means it was a difficult task for the pigeons. It was Blue Final of Luc Van Coppenolle who proved the best and the strongest against 13,527 old birds.

Narbonne was a demanding race, first of all due to the scorching temperatures. Temperatures of 34 to 35°C were measured (in the shade!) in France around noon. The heat and the muggy conditions turned this into a really difficult flight. A number of thunderstorms occurred in the late afternoon and in the evening as well, making for a particularly difficult return journey for some pigeons. We noticed big gaps in the different clubs and we could say that pigeons generally arrived home fairly late. On Saturday there was a heavy thunderstorm in Belgium in the early morning, which explains why there is a two hour period during which hardly any pigeon arrived at its loft. In other words the 2013 race from Narbonne was quite a task and the weather played a decisive role.

Blue Final, magnificent old bird winner

The deserved victory was for long distance specialist Luc Van Coppernolle, whose winning pigeon achieved a magnificent result in an extremely tough pigeon race. This bird managed to stay ahead of the thunderstorms and it achieved an impressive velocity, which shows that it did not have to make a lot of stops during the race. The winning pigeon arrived in Ouwegem at 17:40’33” after a race of 864.957km, resulting in a velocity of 1350.33 m/min. This pigeon is called Blue Final and he shows that a Coppernolle pigeon has great character and a strong will. They are true extreme middle distance racing pigeons!

He is a summer youngster of 2010. He was carefully trained as a yearling but he was sent to Narbonne as a one year old after all, where he showed his qualities as a marathon pigeon with a top prize per ten. Two years later he did an excellent race from Narbonne as well, as the winner of the international first prize.

-Blue Final BE10-4292294

’13 Narbonne Int  13,527 p. 1
             Nat   5,170 p. 1
’11 Narbonne Int   9,666 p. 693
             Nat   7,027 p. 536
’12 Bordeaux Int  10,724 p. 1963
             Nat   4,971 p. 1200

This pigeon was prepared for Narbonne with the races from Châteauroux and Libourne, where he improved his fitness. He is an inbred pigeon of stock sire Pau BE92-4525762: three of his grandparents are grandchildren of that same Pau, namely Beziers, De Favoriet and Dochter Pau-Koppel! This Dochter Pau-koppel is also a granddaughter of Beziers, which is in turn grandfather of Blue Final.

Sire: Zoon Beziers BE08-4224236

A great looking breeding cock and sire of a 90th nat. Marseille in 2012. He is obviously a son of Beziers BE00-4497078, a great racing pigeon and winner of the following prizes;

5th  Nat Pau 2004
6th  Nat Pau 2005
77th Nat Beziers 2001
77th Nat Dax 2006

His dam Muisblauwe 3-band BE04-4432754 originates from a crossing of Roger Florizoone x the De Pau bloodline, as a daughter of As Roger 373/97, winner of a 9th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance 1999.

Moeder: Fijn Witpen Favoriet BE06-4373957
A direct daughter of Favoriet BE02-4408930, an outstanding extreme long distance bird:

1st Intnat Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance 2005 IFC 4000
7th   Nat Pau       2,212 p.
100th Nat Dax       4,534 p.
136th Nat Beziers   4,559 p.
217th Nat Dax       5,189 p.
385th Nat Perpignan 7,611 p.
438th Nat Narbonne  5,051 p.
592nd Nat Bordeaux  7,519 p.

Her dam is a daughter of the famous Pau pair.
Click here for the full pedigree

The pigeon BE09-4302839, which is one of his full brothers, will now be basketed for Perpignan. He will be one of the candidates for the title of International Ace Pigeon Grand Distance 2013 if he achieves a top result from Perpignan. These are his best results this season:

’13 Agen      Loc    56 p. 1
              Nat 5,507 p. 45
’13 Marseille Loc    34 p. 2   (behind loft mate)
              Nat 2,376 p. 104

Most pigeon fanciers had to wait quite some time before their entire team had arrived from Narbonne. The team of Luc Van Coppenolle however had a wonderful performance (7 old birds and 24 yearlings). These are the official timings with the results according to the registration by telephone between brackets (official results in the club in Ghent are not yet released):

7 old birds: 17:40 (1), 20:23 (4), 20:35 (8), 20:36 (9), 08:01 (28), 13:23 (41)

24 yearlings: 19:58 (2, with Zoon Favoriet), 20:22 (4), 20:31 (5), 20:37 (6), 7:39 (15), 8:03 (16), 8:26 (17), 10:21 (20), 11:08 (23), 11:26 (26), 12:12 (32), 12:33 (35), 12:42 (36), 15:27 (52)
This could result in five prizes with seven old birds and 13 prizes with 24 yearlings in the club.

A strong family bred from their own top class pigeons

The pigeon breed of Luc Van Coppenolle has a rich tradition in the long distance and especially the extreme long distance. Luc (59) learned the ropes when assisting his father Leon van Coppenolle.  One of the first highlights was the title of First General Champion of Belgium in 1986. Luc started a pigeon family on his own in 1989 from his current loft in Ouwegem and he developed into an international star in the long distance and the marathon competition. To illustrate we give you an overview of his national titles only:

National titles KBDB
2nd National Champion Long Distance KBDB 1999
2nd National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 2009
3rd National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 2006
5th National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 2003
6th National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 1993
6th National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 1994
8th National Champion Grand Distance KBDB 2007

Click here for a complete overview of his titles

The 2013 racing season was started with 74 racing pigeons (34 old birds and 40 yearlings). The old birds and a group of yearlings were paired between mid and end December. They did a winter breed and they were allowed to raise one youngster. Afterwards the pigeons were not paired again, unlike previous seasons.
He had quite a big team of yearlings this season because he had bred an additional group of summer youngsters last year. They were housed in a separate aviary and some were trained until the race from Brive, others continued until Souillac. The older 2012 young birds were a bit more experienced as they were already trained as young birds, so they were all basketed for last weekend’s race from Narbonne. Luc found it strange that four young birds that had a bad result from Libourne three weeks ago were already home on Friday evening, while the team that had performed well from Agen returned home only on Saturday. After Libourne the pigeons received a tricho cure with ¼ Flagyl and they were given a ronidazole pill from their vet Wim Boddaert as well, to make sure the pigeons were in perfect health.

The pigeons that have already won a prize per ten can usually stay at home to recover, while the others are put to the test from Narbonne. This season however, Luc had a large team of yearlings so he decided to basket his entire team of racers for Narbonne. However, he has been thinking of using his method of 2012 again next season, simply because he will have a smaller team of yearlings in 2014, just like in previous seasons. 

The old birds are basketed for the long distance races (the international competition). That is why Luc divides his old birds over four to five different teams which he tries to keep together throughout the season. They have plenty of time to recover in between the flights and they are no longer basketed for shorter distance races or short training flights at home.

Luc Van Coppenolle believes the strength of his pigeon breed is the result of keeping his best breeders in his own loft, some of which have developed into invaluable stock sires. You can see this in the pedigree of the current national winner as well, who originates from the stars of this loft including The Pau, The Beziers, Blauwen Narbonne, The St.Vincent, The Favoriet, The As Roger and stock dams 1, 2 and 3! If you want to learn more about the pigeon breed of the Luc van Coppenolle pigeon family just reread our PIPA report published at the end of 2012.

Breeding new generations from your own proven breeding pigeons and trying to compose a new pigeon breed from them, that has been the key to success in pigeon racing and Luc van Coppenolle is a textbook example. He has been successful for years thanks to this approach; last weekend’s international victory from Narbonne is a crowning achievement. Many congratulations!