Kurt & Raf Platteeuw (Rumbeke, BE) win 1st National Châteauroux against 29,591 yearlings

This is already the third national victory for Kurt and Raf. They claimed victory with a late youngster from September 2015, that was basketed in an important national race for the very first time, competing against 55,000 racing birds. This is quite a breakthrough performance.

All pigeon fanciers agree that this has been one of the most difficult seasons so far in terms of weather. Pigeon fanciers across the country are fed up with the rain, which has caused many organisers to cancel their race. Many fanciers were also forced to reschedule their season, and to adopt an unusual strategy.
The cancellation of the national race from Châteauroux on 4th of June resulted in a record number of old birds and yearlings that competed in the national KBDB race from Châteauroux (in place of Guéret). Due to the weather conditions the basketing (on Wednesday) and the release (on Friday) took place one day earlier than planned. It was a smart decision by the KBDB, given the weather forecast for Saturday. A group of 54,717 pigeons took off on Friday morning at 7am in fine weather. There was not too much wind, with only a slight breeze from east-northeast. All went well in the race from Châteauroux, and the top prizes in the old birds' and yearlings' race were won in one hour and one hour fifteen minutes respectively.

Kurt and Raf Platteeuw claim victory in yearlings' race

Kurt and Raf sold their entire collection of old birds on PIPA last year, to keep only their young birds of 2015. They bred a final round of youngsters from their very best pigeons after the season, to prepare for future seasons, to get the most out of their successful pigeon breed. Also introduced in this loft was a round of late youngsters (September) from the successful pigeon fancier Rony Calus (Heist-aan-zee). Kurt and Raf started the 2016 season with just over 60 pigeons from their own first rounds of 2015, which had proven their worth as young birds.  Some late youngsters and other young birds (so called nestpenders) joined the team as well.

The season did not go as planned for the Platteeuw family due to the tough weather conditions in the preparatory races and the many cancellations. The early youngsters took part in the provincial race from Tours, while a small team of 22 yearlings was basketed for Bourges two weeks ago. The rest of the team (nestpenders) had to do with the preparatory races from Arras-Clermont-Fontenay.  Since the national race from Châteauroux was moved to Friday due to the weather, Kurt and Raf decided to basket their entire team of 190 yearlings (except for one pigeon with a broken foot) for this national classic.

Kurt Platteeuw is not afraid to make a bold decision every once in a while. Keep in mind this race was quite a challenge for the 134 late youngsters of 2015, some of which were only born in December. It was quite an unusual approach. "The wind was expected to come from east-northeast so we just went for it", Kurt explains. "We assumed the late youngsters would make it back home fairly quickly in these weather conditions, and it would be a good opportunity for the strongest birds to stand out from the others."

The following prizes were won at national level:

Châteauroux national 29,591 yearlings:
1-5-21-47-77-149-217-219-246-288-309-351-378-418-494… etc.

They have won a total of 46 prizes per 10 (1:10), as well as 73 prizes with 190 basketed yearlings.
In fact, the first 56 nominated pigeons for Châteauroux were the early young birds of 2015, 32 of which have managed to win a national top result. The remaining pigeons (from the 57th basketed pigeon onwards) were the late youngsters and nestpenders.

Emmanuelle takes the win

It was one of these late youngsters that claimed victory in the race from Châteauroux. It is already the third national victory for Kurt and Raf Platteeuw, after having won a national first prize from Guéret and Argenton. National winner Emmanuelle BE15-3115969, named after Kurt's wife, is a September youngster coming from Rony Calus. She actually spent two minutes around the lofts before actually being clocked. Fortunately it did not prevent her from winning a national victory. Click here for the full pedigree.

She was raced in total widowhood, just like the rest of the team. The second and third best pigeon, which finished in 5th and 21st national, come from their own breed. Both their parents have been sold on PIPA:

-Elza BE15-3115280: 5th National Châteauroux 29,591 YL
This was one of the early youngsters of 2015. He comes from Father Erwina BE08-3055160 (Erwina won 4 first prizes and became 10th Provincial Ace Pigeon Middle Distance KBDB), which was purchased from Philippe Brantegem. The dam of Elza, Daughter 50 BE09-3129719 (from Eric Vermander), was obtained from Galle-Wynants. In fact, Gino Clicque won an 11th National Châteauroux against 29,591 yearlings with a half sister of this 5th National Châteauroux of Kurt Platteeuw (they have the same dam), which is obviously no coincidence. Click here for the pedigree of Elza.

-Daughter Ratcliffe BE15-3115640: 21st National Châteauroux 29,591 YL
A youngster from December 2015. She comes from Bellew BE12-3112519 x Ratcliffe BE12-3112290 (winner of a 2nd International Pau against 2,063 hens in 2014), and she was also purchased from Philippe Brantegem. Click here for the pedigree of Daughter Ratcliffe.

All old birds were sold in the end of 2015, and the fanciers made a fresh start in 2016 with a team of yearlings. It is with this team that they managed to add a third national victory to their palmares. It goes to show that a fancier has to try something new every once in a while in order to be successful. Many congratulations to Kurt and Raf Platteeuw!