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Tom and Marnik Van Gaver (Moortsele, BE) have made a significant impact from Limoges

With no less than two pigeons in the National top 10, seven pigeons within the top 64 National positions, and 21 pigeons winning per 10 (1:10) at the national level against 10,653 pigeons. And this after six days in the basket!

Limoges with 6 day in the basket 

The unsettled weather continues to grip our pigeon racing sport. The opening race of the national long-distance from Limoges was no exception. The release could only proceed on Tuesday, June 4, after the pigeons had spent six days in the basket before starting their journey home. Despite these six nights in the basket, it turned out to be a very smooth flight. What stood out, and was echoed in almost all the comments afterwards, was that the pigeons returned home particularly fresh and lively. This is evidence of perfect care in the basket, allowing them to start in ideal condition. A feather in the cap for the organizers of the Belgian Verstandhouding for their excellent work, often under difficult circumstances in Limoges.

Whether it's three days in the basket or six, class always rises to the top. Once again, it is the top lofts in long-distance racing that dominate the competition. The Vandenheede brothers clocked no less than nine pigeons out of their 65 entered within the national top 100, closely followed by Tom and Marnik Van Gaver, who managed to place seven out of their 52 in the top 100. Easier said than done! An analysis of these results from Limoges can be found in a separate article on PIPA.

Tom and Marnik Van Gaver dominate

In recent weeks, it had already become clear in the preparatory flights that the pigeons of Tom and Marnik Van Gaver were approaching their peak condition. At Limoges, this culminated in a stellar performance and dominance from the local to the national level. Enjoy the following highlights:

Limoges I club 356 old: 1-2-5-7-8-9-11-14-15-16-17-19-20-23-33… (en 32/52)
  National 10.653 old: 7-10-35-38-51-52-64-134-138-150-200-255-256… with a total of 21 pigeons classified per 10 (1:10) and 33 prizes out of 52 National (per 4)

Tom and Marnik are among the trio of enthusiasts who managed to place two or three pigeons within the national top 20, in their case, even two pigeons within the national top 10.

Blue Finn Etienne wins 7th Nat Limoges

This top cock belongs to the elite circle of champions in the Van Gaver colony. The week before Limoges, he had already placed himself at the top of the results from Bourges.

-Blue Finn Etienne BE22-4055095

7. Nat Limoges 10.653 p. ’24 – 1. FCD 1.370 p. 
163. Nat Bourges I  24.006 p. ’24 
14. Nat Zone Souillac 1.802 p. ’23 
43. Nat Zone Tulle 1.966 p. ’23 
69. Nat Zone Aurillac 1.577 p. ’23 
187. Nat Argenton II 15.210 p. ’23 

The father comes from a cross between Van Gaver-Sam Bostoen and PEC... with Charlie’s Boxster BE18-4070996, himself a son of Charlie: 1st Best Yearling of Belgium over 5 national long-distance races in 2018 (bred by Sam Bostoen) paired with Boxster (PEC): 8th National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB, a full sister of Porsche 911 (from the golden foundation pair PEC: Wacko Freddy x Lieve). On the mother's side, we find the Etienne Hen BE20-4141806 (from Etienne Buyle), herself bred from Son Blue Finn (from Tom Van Gaver) paired with Almost National Marc (Marc Van Haute), winner of 1st National Zone, 2nd Provincial, and 3rd National Chateauroux against 6306 pigeons in 2020.

Andrea Dark Ricky, winner 10. Nat Limoges

Not just any pigeon, he was already flagged as 19th National Ace Pigeon Allround Old/Yearlings KBDB in 2022. This ace seems to have a preference for Limoges, as he flew right at the top from Limoges last year as well. Moreover, this is the 4th time he has managed to place within the national 'top 100'. Clearly, a pigeon with power in its wings.

-Andrea Dark Ricky BE21-4201804

10. Nat Limoges I  10.653 p. ’24 
21. Nat Limoges II 7.211 p. ’23 – 3. Nat Zone 2.379 p. 
81. Nat Chateauroux I  5.720 p. ’22 
89. Nat Bourges II 10.366 p. ’22 
177. Nat Brive 5.885 p. ’22 
197. Nat Limoges I  10.381 p. ’23 

The father is national champion Dark Ricky BE18-4070811: like his son, he was also the 19th National Ace Pigeon Allround KBDB 2020, co-winner of the title 2nd National Champion Long Distance KBDB 2020, 3rd Best Souillac Pigeon 2020-21, winner of 1st Interprovincial Jarnac against 983 pigeons, and son of foundation breeder Ricky paired with Daughter Witpen Rivaldo (from Dirk De Roose). The mother is Andrea BE18-4070880: 29th National Ace Pigeon KBDB 2021, coming from the Crack (Etienne De Stercke) paired with Sister Finn 417 (daughter of the golden Finn pair).

The third pigeon clocked in, winning 35th National Limoges – Dark Little Champ BE22-4198081 – comes from a full sister of Andrea Dark Ricky 338/20, paired with Little Champion, a cock from the Tiets line (from Small Bander x Daughter Champion from Chris Hebberecht).

Also noteworthy is the 4th pigeon from Limoges, which secured 38th place in the National Limoges race: the remarkable hen Finn’s Queen, with ring number BE21-4201816. Last year, she was the 4th National Ace Pigeon Allround Old and Yearlings KBDB 2023. She won 1st place in the National Zone and 3rd National Libourne against 3,882 pigeons in 2023, 2nd place in the National Zone Aurillac against 1,477 pigeons in 2023, 13th place National Argenton II against 12,936 pigeons in 2022, 68th place National Bourges against 21,075 pigeons in 2023, and now, 38th place in National Limoges against 10,653 pigeons.

This outstanding pigeon is descended from Son Queen James (directly from Bart Geerinckx) paired with Always Finn (another daughter of the breeding foundation pigeon Finn). This highlights the strong genetic background and excellent breeding performance of these pigeons.

At the opening classic from Limoges, the colony of Tom and Marnik Van Gaver experienced a remarkable moment with seven pigeons finishing in the national top 100. There is no doubt that many more top performances will be added in the coming weeks. Congratulations, Tom and Marnik!