Tom & Marnik Van Gaver (Moortsele, BE): 2022 was exceptional from start to finish

2022 was a sensational season for the Van Gaver household. In what is possibly their best season ever, this father and son combination performed throughout the whole season at an exceptionally high level.

Countless titles 

On their own lofts, Tom and Marnik experienced one highlight after another in the past season. In a tough season with weekly headwinds and warm weather, the TVG pigeons performed from the first speed race to the last tough long distance classic from Libourne (752km) like never before. Almost every week, a sensational result was achieved, first place and even complete podiums were occupied on several occasions. Whether it was at the club level or in larger races, on important races, these pigeons were right on time. No surprise that these results led to winning several renowned championship and ace pigeon titles. Amongst others the following titles were won; 

  • 1st Prov. Champion Long Distance Yearlings KBDB East-Flanders
  • 1st Champion Long Distance Entente Belge
  • 1st General Champion FVOV-OVV
  • 1st Champion Old birds and Yearlings FVOV-OVV
  • 1st Champion Long Distance FVOV-OVV
  • 1st General Champion Heavy Middle Distance and Long Distance FCD
  • 1st General Champion Heavy Middle Distance and Long Distance LVA
  • 1st Champion Long Distance AJD Flanders
  • ... 

Flashing season start 

In the preparatory stages of the season the results were already spectacular, with top results on the short and middle distance races. Tom enters all pigeons into the race, even if they are destined to shine on longer distances. Tom is very keen that from next season onwards, all pigeons have to be entered into the race and can't be basketed as training birds. This wil increase the number of participating pigeons on the speed disciplines by approximately 25%. In the combine Midden-Waas, where the speed and middle distance specialists battle it out weekly and thousands of pigeons are released, the athletes of Tom and Marnik blasted through the season start: 

17/04/22 Noyon 164 km : 1-9-26-27-28-41-72-75-112-115-151-221-... / 3.776 Old birds and 39 pr. out of 104 p.

30/04/22 Ecouen 236 km : 1-2-7-8-20-28-53-58-68-70-72-73-74-... / 3.009 Old birds and 59 pr. out of 102 p.

24/04/22 Noyon 164 km : 2-9-36-37-... / 4.849 Old birds and 45 pr. out of 97 p. (Club 1-4-17-18-... / 1,216 p.)

14/05/22 Orleans 362 km : 1-2-3-4-6-7-9-13-17-22-23-28-31-37-... / 867 Old birds and 47 pr. out of 100 p.

Provincial East-Flanders FVOV-OVV against 11,735 Old birds from Orleans : 8-17-26-36-71-75-88-108-139-187-195-245-275-322-369-385-467-502-528-531-541-605-650-717-734-742-757-810-813-818-916-1038-1051-... a staggering 33 pigeons take prizes 1:10!!

These pigeons that battle for the win on these speed and middle distance races, are also the pigeons which shine on the 500 and 700km races. Thereby, Tom and Marnik honor their reputation as true allrounders. 

Tom enjoys another sensational season.

The National races

That the great results early in the season would be continued throughout was anticipated. A colony with the status like the one of Van Gaver is expected to continuously reach a high level. On the popular national heavy middle distance classics, the Van Gaver pigeons achieved results which are out of this world: 

Bourges 446 km : 1-2-3-4-5-6-8-10-15-33-35-38-39-42-... / 823 Old birds and 34 pr. out of 41 p. 

National : 88-119-131-138-170-173-287-316-707-1486-1503- ... / 33.410 Old birds and 30 pr.

Argenton 510 km : 1-2-4-6-15-17-18-25-35-42-43-45-... / 438 Old birds and 21 pr. out of 28 p.

National : 68-100-185-311-701-819-828-951-1686-1846-1850-2004-... / 20.467 Old birds and 20 pr.

Chateauroux 484 km : 1-2-3-10-18-20-33-41-51-54-57-... / 988 Old birds and 32 pr. out of 44 p.

Provinciaal : 4-6-9-94-137-145-241-265-301-313-318-319-346-351-363-... / 4.164 Old birds and 31 pr.

Argenton 510 km : 1-2-3-8-11-13-15-18-19-24-... / 272 Yearlings and 19 pr. out of 39 p.

National : 7-13-50-176-267-393-479-612-671-854-1200-... / 12.938 Yearlings and 18 pr.

Limoges 631 km : 1-3-6-12-14-31-37-50-62-76-80-88-... / 1.669 Old birds and 25 pr. out of 33 p.

National : 5-38-68-264-280-528-639-802-950-1053-1094-1181-1378-... / 17.356 Old birds and 19 pr.

Tulle 619 km : 1-19-21-24-31-40-47-48-52-54-58-... / 916 Yearlings and 16 pr. out of 24 p.

National : 53-308-311-323-357-389-449-456-490-493-502-... / 6.842 Yearlings and 15 pr.

La Souterraine 551 km : 1-2-10-33-45-50-51-52-59-71-... / 746 Yearlings and 21 pr. out of 26 p.

National : 3-15-80-252-359-397-400-402-457-585-595-613-... / 6.761 Yearlings and 20 pr.

Tulle 619 km : 1-2-3-6-8-13-30-31-37-38-46-59-... / 571 Yearlings and 18 pr. out of 21 p.

National : 4-20-21-56-71-107-221-233-311-322-428-... / 4.993 Yearlings and 18 pr.

Orleans 362 km : 1-15-22-31-39-... / 424 Old birds and 9 pr. out of 14 p.

Chateauroux 484 km : 19-43-87-380-... / 4.003 Old birds National and 11 pr. out of 14 p.

Chateauroux 484 km : 65-66-81-94-110-... / 5.720 Yearlings National and 15 pr. out of 24 p.

Libourne 752 km : 1-5 and 25 / 279 Yearlings and 3 pr. out of 4 p.

National : 5-45 and 237 / 2.992 Yearlings and 3 pr.

Argenton 510 km : 1-5-7-10-13-15-17-19-22-... / 265 Old birds and 20 pr. out of 25 p.

An unbelievable percentage top results were achieved on these races against the strongest possible competition. Moreover, the young birds were also prepared for the races and immediately showed what they are capable of; Montoire 412 km : 1-2-3-5-7-9-... / 274 Young birds

Provincial : 18-21-24-28-54-105-... / 3,882 Young birds

Sermaises 317 km : 1-2-3-4-6-8-12-17-18-... / 455 Young birds

Combine : 4-6-7-9-11-17-32-51-52-... / 1.703 Young birds

Tom observes his young birds.

Several stars from 2022

Especially the hens were the stars of the past season. Sister Tetske (BE21-4201732) was undoubtedly one of the best pigeons in the country. She performed every week and flew more than 10,000km prizes in 2022. There is a noteworthy anecdote about this world-class hen: Sister Tetske was having a great season when she was basketed for her first national long distance race from Brive. When the pigeons arrived, she was nowhere to be found and only clocked late at night, around 22:00. She had to dig deep, but quickly recovered and was looking in great condition throughout the week. She was then basketed for the national race from La Souterraine on which she set her earlier race result straight and almost took the national victory...she ended up on the podium with the 3rd National. Hereafter, she wasn't basketed on a long distance race and became 2nd PIPA Ranking across 8 National Heavy Middle Distance races. Sister Tetske is also mother of one of the best young birds from 2022. 

Sister Tetske: star racer in 2022.

Jamie (BE21-4202779) also deserves a place amongst the stars of 2022, who has an almost identical story to the above mentioned Sister Tetske. After the super performance on La Souterraine she was basketed on Souillac with great expectations. It would turn out to be a tough race with a good result, but just slightly below what was expected. The pigeons were nonetheless prepared for the second to last race from Tulle. Jamie, who only returned form Souillac on Sunday morning, was also basketed on Tulle a week later...where she took a beautiful 4th National and 1st Provincial, fastest of all East-Flemish pigeons. Many loft mates quickly followed in her slipstream, which led to another sensational result. 

Jamie: 1st Prov. and 4th Nat. Tulle.

Another example of the unbelievably quick recovery of the Van Gaver pigeons is Ricky's Eye (BE21-4201877). This hen was racing a strong season and was in the running for a top result in the national ace pigeon competitions. On the second to last long distance race from Tulle, on which the other pigeons achieved an incredible result, she only returned just before night fell and had visibly given a lot to return home. With Libourne (750km) as the season finale, which would be basketed on Wednesday already and a forecast of 35° C and headwind, it seemed impossible to give this hen her chance to redeem herself. However, after a few days rest, Ricky's Eye was already in great condition and round as a bullet. The decision was made to basket her anyway and hope for the best. She didn't disappoint and won the 1st Provincial and 5th National! She is a direct daughter of Ricky paired to sister Finn. Both parents have the same capacity to recover quickly for the next race. However, such performances won't be possible in the future due to the new KBDB regulations, to Tom's dismay. This selection strategy proves its worth on other lofts and tough one loft races across the world, where quick recovery is a vital characteristic. In the end, Ricky's Eye became 19th National Ace Pigeon KBDB, 5th across 4 long distance races and achieved a beautiful classification amongst the ace pigeons Allround as a result. 

Ricky's Eye: super athlete.

Just behind Ricky's Eye, her cousin arrived: Ricky's Star (BE21-4201714). This beautiful hen was clocked just before nightfall from Libourne, good for a 45th National and led to important points for great classifications in various championships. Thanks to the perfect track record on the long distance races, she became 1st Best Yearling across 5 long distance races. A title which Van Gaver pigeons have patented, as Tom and Marnik won this title 4 times in 5 years time. Due to her magnificent results, she also became 8th National Ace Pigeon Long Distance, 4th Best Yearling across 4 long distance races, 35th Ace Pigeon Allround and together with Ricky's Eye she also won 1st Provincial Champion Long Distance & 8th National Champion Long Distance Yearlings. 

Ricky's Star: ranking high in various championships.

Thanks to such athletes and their loft mates, Van Gaver managed an immense list of national top results in the super season of 2022. Top 100 results on national races in 2022: 3-4-4-5-5-6-13-15-19-19-20-21-30-31-34-34-35-38-43-44-45-50-53-53-55-56-56-58-62-65-65-68-68-68-68-71-72-75-80-82-83-87-88-89-93-95-96-99

Top 25 results in PIPA Rankings and KBDB Championships from 2022 : 1-1-2-2-4-4-5-6-7-7-8-8-12-13-15-15-19-19-19-20-21-21-25

After the last race from Libourne on which also the other pigeons basketed on Chateauroux performed very well, the pigeons were paired. Normally the season would end there, but the hens already laid after 6 to 7 days and after a week Tom was already getting excited...they decided to continue racing the hens, with the exception of The Eye of Ricky and Ricky's Star, on the national of late August and early September. The first national was Argenton on 27/08, raced on eggs of 10 days. It would be a difficult but beautiful race on which the hens rushed home. Another sensational result followed, just missing the national victory. When the dust had settled, they won 1st Provincial and 4th National, the first pigeon clocked was Sabine II (NL20-1525621): a direct super hen from the Dutch top loft W.B. de Kruijf. 

On the last race from Chateauroux the hens were in super condition laying on small youngsters. Unfortunately this season finale had terrible arrivals due to the irresponsible release in thunder and showers. Nonetheless, the racing team of Van Gaver still won 1st and 2nd Zonal. The first pigeon to arrive was Queen Finn (BE19-4207236), a direct daughter of the famous Finn who has proven herself as a phenomenal racer. Later, continuing racing the hens resulted in extra 1st Prizes on short distance races, the title of Best pigeon across 8 national races with a direct  Davy Tournelle (Flanders Tiësto BE19-2138361) and 2nd in the same ranking for yearlings with Sister Tetske (see above). 

Hens flying 10,000 race kilometers in this spectacular season weren't an exception. However, the cocks also performed very well, see the pedigrees of several racing stars from 2022 on the lofts of Tom and Marnik Van Gaver: 

Amongst the best in the One Loft Race scene 

After the season, an exciting climax of various One Loft Races followed. Everybody knows Tom has a phenomenal colony of pigeons which perform week in, week out from 100 to 750km. A quality rich stock that excels on their own lofts as well on that of many other colleague fanciers around the world. The references below are highly impressive if you take into account only a few descendants from the best breeders are sold. Cocks don't fertilize multiple hens at once and no artificial insemination takes place either. Tom preferably has his breeders on the lofts amongst the other pigeons to keep the vitality high. He is convinced that during normal fertilization the quality of the youngsters is even higher and breeders are fertile longer. The old breeders such as Father Finn (2011) and Ricky (2013) are still 100% fertile today. Tom hopes that they stay fertile for some time still. The descendants of these TVG icons were responsible for the following achievements in finals and ace pigeon competitions of renowned One Loft Races: 

  • 1st Final Victoria Falls 2022 (Brinkmann Henrik)
  • 1st Final Europa Master Pigeon Race OLR 2021 (Altmiks Jurgen)
  • 1st Acebird Derby Galychyna OLR 2021 FCI (troostprijsspelers)
  • 2nd Acebird Europa Master Pigeon Race OLR 2021 (Altmiks Jurgen)
  • 3rd Final Algarve Gold Race 2022 (Altmiks Jurgen)
  • 3rd Ace Bird As Golden Greece OLR 2021 (Brinkmann Henrik)
  • 4th Final (430 km) As Golden Greece OLR 2021 ( Brinkmann Henrik)
  • 5th Super Ace Victoria Falls 2022 (Brinkmann Henrik)
  • 5th Final Sofia OLR 2022 (Brinkmann Henrik)
  • 5th Ace Bird Great Derby Algarve Winter Race 2022 (Pigeon 24)
  • 7th Place Final San Guan China OLR /7500 pigeons (Lue Feng)
  • 12th Ace Bird Great Derby Algarve Winter Race 2022 (Pigeon 24)

... the series of references is endless ...

As we see in the references overview, Henrik Brinkmann wins Victoria Falls 2022 with a 100% Tom Van Gaver pigeon : Little Finn (DV02752-21-368). Both parents were bought via PIPA. Little Finn achieved a great feat by winning against more than 2,200 pigeons with a 5 minute lead. 

The winner of the Victoria Falls 2022: Little Finn, 100% Van Gaver.

At the Algarve Gold Race 2022, Tom was present when 3 pigeons arrived and circled the loft for several minuted. One pigeon landed first on the left-side, whilst shortly after the other 2 landed on the other side of the loft. The pigeon which landed first, was only clocked as 3rd and so Fast Finn (DV05536-22-8) won a wonderful podium spot for Jurgen Altmiks. This is a grandchild of the Finn Pair. Moreover, in 2021, Jurgen won 1st Final and 2nd Ace Pigeon at the Europe Masters with a grandchild of Tetske paired to brother Finn, Aelfric (DV05536-21-487), honoring the Van Gaver name. 

Fast Finn: 3rd Algarve Gold Race 2022, 100% Van Gaver.
Aelfric: 1st Final and 2nd Ace Pigeon Europe Masters 2021
Jurgen Altmiks and Tom after the first 3 pigeons arrived at the Algarve Gold Race 2022

Simon Kohlenbrenner (racing under the name Pigeon 24) houses a superhen with a sister Tetske. She was sold as a late youngster at the end of 2020 on PIPA and within 1,5 years she breeds the following top references: 27th Ace Algarve Gold Race 2022, 30th Final Algarve Gold Race 2022, 83th Final Pattaya Int. OLR, 1st against 366 p. at Bart Gillis, 30th Nat. 6,761 p. La Souterraine, ... at Philip De Maeseneer.

Golden Tetske: star at the Algarve Gold Race 2022

Besides the top references in various One Loft Races, the following victories were achieved in 2022 on other lofts with pure TVG bloodlines as the foundation: 

  • Fastest pigeon on Orleans against 10,811 Young birds at Jens Van Cutsem
  • Fastest pigeon on Orleans against 10,934 Young birds at Jens Van Cutsem
  • Best Bourges pigeon 2022 at Rogier Ingels
  • 1st Nat. Bourges Youth against 1,043 Young birds at Yorik Mertens
  • 1st Prov. and 31st Nat. Narbonne 6,521 p. at Guy Baerts / Jos Thoné
  • 1st Lennik 3,472 p. at Irving Van Oss
  • 1st Quivrain 903 p. at Irving Van Oss
  • 1st Montoire 776 p. at Gino Moreels
  • 1st Sermaises 2,337 p. at Davy Neirynck
  • 1st Club and 3rd Prov. Orleans 7,230 p. at Davy Neirynck
  • 1st Toury 2,429 p. at Adrien Mirabelle
  • 1st Club, 4° Prov. 2,346 p. en 61stNat.Bourges at Adrien Mirabelle
  • 1st Club and 3rd Afd. 2,787 p. Quivrain at W,B, de Kruijf
  • 1st Mondercange 3,983 p. at RV Schwarze + Laser
  • 2nd Prov. Fontenay 9,055 p. at Kristof Verstraete
The crack Febeke of Jens Van Cutsem.

Thanks to the bloodlines of a/o Finn, Tetske and Ricky, the Van Gaver colony is amongst the best lofts year after year. These three icons still have the blood of the old Dreampair running through their veins. With The Last One, Tom has the last daughter of this old pair that also made her mark on the colony. It must be a great feeling to be able to fall back on such quality.