10. Breeding pigeons only from certain genotypes - the future of pigeon racing?
To what extent does a certain gene influence the quality of a racing bird? It is a question that haunts fanciers across the world. It was a topic of discussion in 2016 as well, as you can tell from our report on Marijke Vink, who had the genotype of all of her pigeons determined. As it turned out, her best pigeons had a rare genytope, which seems to support the idea of a gen theory.
9. Cancellation of all middle distance races causes a stir
As in previous years, pigeon racing in Belgium and in other European countries has been gripped by difficult weather conditions on several weekends. Belgium saw some particularly grim weather in June, which forced the KBDB to send out a press release stating that all middle distance races in the first weekend of June were to be cancelled. Some applauded the decision, others were furious. Back in 2014 a report of a dramatic race made it into our top-10 of most-read articles, and in 2015 our entire top-3 was dedicated to the disastrous national race from Châteauroux. The KBDB obviously wanted to avoid a new catastrophe, although it is almost impossible to keep everyone happy.
8. Animal welfare cause for another general cancellation
A heatwave swept across Belgium in late August, and the KBDB intended to shorten the national race from La Souterraine to Vierzon, which upset many fanciers. However, temperatures were expected to rise dramatically in the last weekend of August, and the Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts urged the KBDB not to organise any pigeon races. The KBDB was about to follow that advice but they reconsidered and it was decided to allow the sprint races to take place. The national race from La Souterraine took off eventually, albeit one week later.
7. Successful combination PEC Racing Team ADK claim their first national victory
Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and Pascal Ariën had been in close contact since 2011, when PIPA was selling the pigeon collection of the former Verreckt-Ariën combination. In 2013 and 2014 Ariën-De Keyser acted as a satellite loft for the PEC pigeons but they started the 2015 season as a full-fledged combination called PEC Racing Team ADK. It was an instant success, with for instance 5 provincial victories and 4 national ace pigeons in the top-8. Nikolaas and Pascal could not wait for the new national season to begin; their 2016 season started with a national victory from Bourges old birds and a 2nd National in the yearlings' race. It was a feat that caught the attention of quite a number of fanciers.
6. Pigeon thieves break into the loft of Barcelona champion Frans Bungeneers
Every season again a number of fanciers get an unwanted visit from pigeon thieves, and this year one of them was the renowned Barcelona champion Frans Bungeneers. Thieves took 60 pigeons, including the star of the team Iron Lady Ellie, winner of a 15th National Barcelona 2015 and a 6th National Barcelona 2016, and winner of a Bronzen Vleugel award. Unfortunately the police have not been able to trace the thieves.