Davy Tournelle and Gerrie Vanmarsenille, Rummen
Rummen is a village located in the east of Flemish-Brabant, on the Limburg border. It is a formerly independent municipality of Geetbets, just like Grazen. For decades, some excellent pigeon fanciers (short, middle and long distances) have been living in Geetbets and its formerly independent municipalities. A bright future is lying ahead with Davy Tournelle (he will be celebrating his 22nd birthday this year) who became National Youth Champion KBDB.
Davy is the youngest descendant from a rich pigeon fancier’s family. His grandfather, Fernand Tournelle and his brother have always been very good speed racers. The entire region knows about this and it has been confirmed once more. Davy’s dad Patrick managed to win a lot of prizes during his entire career and he entered for competitions of different distances but in the end, he was mostly interested in long middle distance races; the Tournelle family also calls this kind of racing “long distance”. But this is not where the story ends! Patrick’s uncle, Marcel Monette, had THREE pigeons in the national TOP 100 of Barcelona this year. What is more, Davy’s mother has an uncle: Hugo Celis, who is known from the tandem Hugo & Rob Celis in Rummen: strong long distance racers with a.o. also a pigeon in the national TOP 100 of the Spanish classic and much more!
Davy Tournelle learnt how to deal with pigeons via father’s and grandfather’s side. When the Tournelle family moved to its present address about fifteen years ago, it was decided to start racing under Davy’s name. The tall guy from East-Brabant states that he has been applying himself ‘for real’ to pigeon sport since three to four years. Since that moment, he is the manager that keeps the Tournelle Team going. Davy guarantees a first-class care after the model of Michel Vanlint. The magician of Zoutleeuw baskets his pigeons in the same club as Davy and advised him to pause the famous VHS from time to time and think about what has been said or showed. The national youth champion knows how to appreciate this kind of tips and, most of all, he knows how to make good use of them.
First-class hygiene is one of the cornerstones of the successes. Davy switches his pair of working gloves per loft. He gets up at 5 AM sharp during the season and gets down to his daily routine in the lofts a little later. Then, he is off to work which is located only a few kilometres from his home. Hygiene with respect to the drinking bowls is also very important. The bowls are washed out two to three times a day with hot water which, according to the lady of the house, results in high water bills.
Davy can count on his parents and grandfather to basket and release the pigeons. Every week, the people in Rummen want to be rewarded for their hard work which is why they focus on long middle distance races so that all the racers can be put into the baskets each week. 28 widowers and 14 hens are raced according to the method of classic widowhood which implies that all the partners of the racers stay at home. This system is applied to avoid that the pigeons that are performing good are not welcomed/rewarded because their partner shows up late or not at all.
The racing pigeons breed in winter. The date of coupling depends on the moult and the weather. As soon as the cocks’ youngsters are 16 days old, the partner disappears with the youngsters. The cocks do not get a nest before the season starts. The partner is frequently showed during the training period so that the athletes know what it is all about. Some hens however did brood for 4 days afterwards.
The pigeons are flying training races (Hannuit and Namur, about 50 km) for four times. Then, they travel with the club to Momignies or Villers-la-Tours to fly longer races. When the bird flu was going around, the pigeons returned home from Momignies for four times while awaiting the permission to enter France. Soissons and Bourges followed. The old pigeons had no trouble dealing with the national opening race but the yearlings however did experience problems: only four pigeons came home on time and qualified smoothly in the national top. All the others did not return on the day of release. They did arrive the next day (one was lost) but they all looked very groggy.
The Tournelle team had to be patched up a little and Davy pampered the athletes some more. They flew a couple of short races to relax the muscles but most of all to regain confidence. Bourges was followed by Soissons and Soissons was followed by Châteauroux. From that point onwards, the birds flew a long middle distance race every week. If no such race was on the programme, the pigeons did Toury or a race of a similar distance. If preparation would have been different, the pigeons would have already been flying middle distance races in the week preceding Bourges.
The old cocks and hens have to fly a race from Hannuit once or twice a week. The yearlings are treated a little more carefully. The cocks have to perform until the Argenton race which takes place mid August. The ladies finish off the middle distance programme every week until the last assignment. Meanwhile, they are on the nest.
The team of breeding couples is expanded from 12 to 18. Pigeons who have achieved the necessary racing results and new birds qualify for the breeding team. About 140 youngsters are being raised. The winter youngsters fly the national programme. The team of late youngsters is put through the test until Sens. The early youngsters are darkened and are then raced with open door. They flew Momignies twice, Soissons twice and two times Toury, they did Bourges, Le Mans, Argenton, Salbris, La Souterraine, Momignies (kermis race), two times Hannuit and Guéret. The sexes were separated two weeks prior to Bourges. Davy prefers to keep the sexes together for as long as possible to keep the pigeons quiet, especially the cocks. Things are getting serious as from the moment of separation!
Hygiene is extremely important. Several pairs of shoes, washing out the drinking bowls regularly, cleaning twice a day. Davy is also very pleased with the advice and supplements of Jaap Koehoorn. The athletes get fresh grit and minerals at 5:30 AM. There is a forced hour of training in the morning and in the evening. Davy uses a flag at the start but the pigeons know the drill after a couple of times.
Something is added to the water and to the food every day: supplements or probiotica. Before the seasons starts, the pigeons get an 8-day-treatment against tricho and a 5-day-treatment against ornithosis. The vet is being contacted afterwards for a check-up. The pigeons receive a spartrix tablet every four weeks during the racing season and something for ornithosis.
The present breeds in the Tournelle colony are for 80% pigeons of Mrs Smeulders (Bekkevoort). About 25 Bekkevoort youngsters come to reinforce the team every year. Davy says that these birds make an excellent match with his other material. He still has some pigeons of the “old breeds” of his father and grandfather and birds of Michel Vanlint (Zoutleeuw) and Roger Putzeys (Donk). The latter possesses mostly Verbruggen pigeons. Finally, there are the new ones who have to prove what they are worth.
Five races qualify for the National Youth Championship. Each time, the coefficient of the first nominated counts. At Tournelle’s, two pigeons appeared to be sufficient to acquire the necessary results. “Chirocco” 2217926/05 was responsible for four of the five results. “Chirocco” is a son of “Ronaldinho”. A granddaughter of “Ronaldinho” (descending from a brother of “Chirocco”!) 2232429/06 took care of the much-needed fifth top result. “Ronaldinho” was killed in action during the sizzling summer of 2006.
Davy was so kind as to provide us with a truckload of results. We made a selection of the main races, mostly the highest level results. It goes without saying that the results in smaller combined play are getting increasingly better! A small selection of the results:
27/05/06 Bourges (467,820km)
Zone C: 6771 old: 168, 247, 314, 483, 524, 840, 858 (7/15)
3330 yl: 49, 151, 200, 285 (4/17)
National: 19061 old: 287, 429, 559, 890, 979, 1658, 1699, 3402 (8/15)
11252 yl: 116, 335, 439, 643 (4/17)
10/06/06 Châteauroux (518,764km)
Semi-National: 11526 old: 871, 1217, 1484, 1567, 1654, 2058, 2063, 2284, 2820 (9/15)
7495 yl: 250, 1024, 1274, 1363, 1482, 1720 (6/12)
24/06/06 Montluçon (538,907)
Semi-National: 7459 old: 384, 1072, 1084, 1503, 1504, 1777, 1786 (7/8)
7366 yl: 263, 393, 537, 829 (4/8)
01/07/06 La Souterraine (583, 833km)
Interprovincial: 3482 old: 137, 414, 419, 472, 497, 525, 639, 761, 832 (9/11)
5621 yl: 63, 614, 1141 (3/8)
08/07/06 Argenton (547,733km)
Interprovincial: 4522 old: 100, 109, 250, 253, 384, 413, 511, 740, 924 (9/9)
4704 yl: 11, 37, 928 (3/5)
26/08/06 La Souterraine (583,833)
Zone C: 1709 old: 1, 33, 71, 76, 280, 425 (6/6)
3519 youngsters: 47, 56, 376, 384, 456, 472, 586, 698 (8/14)
National: 3607 old: 2, 47, 100, 113, 503, 813 (6/6)
13965 youngsters: 104, 122, 1008, 1034, 1369, 1424, 2356 (8/14)
Zonal winner "La Souterraine" 2006, of a total of 1709 pigeons
09/09/09 Guéret (574,850km)
Zone C: 1310 old: 42, 75, 187 (3/5)
2735 youngsters: 27, 132, 238, 658, 677 (5/9)
National: 2633 old: 144, 243, 526 (3/5)
10670 youngsters: 443, 1275, 2038 (3/9)
The list of achievements of 2217926/05 “Chirocco” simply has to be included in this article since this blue star has a share of 80% in the title.
These are his results of 2006:
10/06/06 Châteauroux: 2nd local (205 pigeons), 250th Semi-National (7495 pigeons)
24/06/06 Montluçon: 2nd local (103 pigeons), 263rd Semi-National (7366 pigeons)
01/07/06 La Souterraine: 2nd local (98 pigeons), 63rd Semi-National (5621 pigeons)
15/07/06 Toury: 7th local (155 pigeons), 26th Interprovincial (1178 pigeons)
23/07/06 Châteauroux: 1st provincial (455 pigeons), 8th Semi-National 12/08/06 Argenton: 2nd provincial (433 pigeons), 14th National (4091 pigeons)
The owner of such pigeons and scorer of such high-level results naturally has an excellent chance in the championships.
“Chirocco” 2217926/2005 who was responsible for 4 of the 5 prizes
Some of the results of 2006:
1 National champion youth
1 National La Souterraine zone c
1 National ace pigeon long distance Ave Regina
1 Provincial Châteauroux
1 Provincial La Souterraine
2 Provincial Argenton I
2 Provincial Salbris
2 Provincial Argenton II
2 National La Souterraine
2 Provincial ace pigeon youngsters long distance Brabant Union
1 General ace pigeon Obrafo Tienen 1+2
1 General champion Obrafo Tienen
1+2+3+4 National ace pigeon lcb old
1+2 National ace pigeon lcb yearlings
1 National ace pigeon lcb youngsters
2+3+7 Ace pigeon CFW against an average of 3749 pigeons per race
1 Champion 1+2 old long distance Obrafo Tienen
1 Champion 1+2 youngsters long distance Obrafo Tienen
2 King Obrafo Tienen
The lightning career of Davy Tournelle is the result of hard and disciplined work. He leaves nothing to chance and the selection criterions are extremely severe. The promising youth champion finds himself supported by his father in this no nonsense approach but his mother and grandfather are supporting him as well whenever necessary. Davy is looking after his team of helpers, and especially after his pigeons, like a fully-qualified manager. A couple of years ago, he started to really apply himself to pigeons sport: the results he has achieved are absolutely marvellous and lead to a national youth title. There should be more young skilful people like Davy Tournelle in every branch of sport. Belgium would do well out of it! The young lad cannot be more right when he says, crystal clear: “If you work hard, your work will pay!”. We would like to thank the Tournelle family for its warm welcome and wish them lots of fun and success in their shared