Rudi Luyten - Ramsel (BE) wins 1° National Souillac 7.597 Old birds - 2009

Was the weather in central and north France better than forecast during the weekend of the 18th of July, then towards the south of France it was completely the opposite.

Both on Saturday and Sunday persistent low cloud, out of which raindrops fell from time to time… kept the baskets closed in Souillac. On Monday there was a positive change in the weather, as a result of which the organisers of the Belgische Verstandhouding gave the start sign for this beautiful long distance classic at 7am. There was a gentle favourable wind, the first part of the course was mostly ZW, later more and more from the west corner. Logical then that the first pigeons at national level could be found in Antwerp and Brabant, although all in all it was fairly distributed.
The fastest pigeon in the convoy of 7.597 old birds (a bonus of 282 pigeons compared to 2008) landed in Ramsel by Rudi Luyten. Rudi clocked his winning hen at 15h24’59” from a distance of 724,774 Km, which meant a velocity of 1435,23 m/min. With this he achieved national victory ahead of Armand Celis from Vorselaar who ended  2° with 1427 m/min, and Robert Verheyden from Tielt-Winge who can be found at 3° + 4° place national with 1417 m. Despite 2 extra days in the basket this Souillac was one of the fastest competitions this season, with a time span of hardly 40 to 45 minutes at national level.

Rudi Luyten glorious winner
This national victory from Souillac is the ‘icing on the cake’ for Rudi in a wonderful sport season 2009. He will directly like to include his wife Diane in the tributes because she mainly takes care of the pigeons… together with father  Emiel (self active since last season under the name Luyten –Verstrepen with youngsters from Rudi’s 2° round, with which he immediately won 1° Prov Orleans!)… and therefore has a large share in the top successes that are being booked at the moment. Rudi (47 y) is a dock worker in Antwerp harbour, which doesn’t only mean travelling 120 km daily, but also irregular working hours and getting up early. He is lucky that he can rely on his wife Diane, who works part time, to keep his pigeons tip top.

For the vast majority the colony was built with pigeons from his namesake William Luyten, where he bought an entire 2° round 5 years ago…  and pigeons from sport friend Mark Vlaeminck (Herselt) which were entered as crossing material to be coupled with the William Luyten-pigeons. Up until just over 2 years ago the action of the Luyten racing team was only situated in the middle distance, in which he has won the championship with both the old birds and the yearlings for the last two years. Rudi only races with old hens and yearling hens in widowhood, for which he has a team of 32 ladies distributed over 2 lofts, a loft with brooding boxes and a rest loft with triangles. Because the number of pigeons participating in the middle distance strongly declines towards the end of the season, he was convinced by his sport friend Mark Vlaeminck to take a gamble with a further distance. Rudi accepted the challenge and 2 years ago he immediately won 1° club Montluçon in Long Distance club Houtvenne. He got the (Long Distance) taste for it… and aimed his arrows more and more towards the Long Distance, although the middle distance (for the time being?) still has his preference! The only objective in the game with the youngsters is to give them enough experience, and to separate the wheat from the chaff, but is not an end in itself … but more a sort hobby, to see the pigeons return home from the races. The accent lies by the older ‘ladies’ in widowhood. They are invariably paired at the end of November or beginning of December and raise a round of youngsters, after which they are allowed to lay again… but not brood. The hens then move to the aviary, where they remain until 2 weeks before the training races. They are then coupled again and are allowed to brood for 5 days, calculated from the lay of the first hen. After brooding for 5 days the widowhood begins, and all the cocks are removed (also from the hens that haven’t yet brooded for 5 days). The hens are free in the rest loft on triangles (with a wire floor). Rudi doesn’t really have any trouble with hens wanting to pair, since he has selected on this for years. The type of ladies that constantly want to pair are few and far between through the years of selecting… and if there is one in the racing team she is removed immediately! The hens train 2 x per day for an hour and are basketted every week. Rudi discovered that a ‘week’s rest’ is catastrophic… and only creates problems.  Hens have to get rid of their ‘energy’ somehow, otherwise they only think about pairing with each other, or they lay eggs… with all its harmful effects. That’s why between 2 grand middle distance or 2 long distance races Rudi… serves them a race from Momignies (120 Km). It is also a piece of advanced training at ‘match level’ of about 1h15 flying.
Before the hens are basketted they are always allowed to see their cocks, this varies from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how much time Rudi has when he comes home from work. At the start of the season the couples stay together after the race until Rudi returns from taking his clock to the club. As the season progresses the couples are allowed to stay together longer, sometimes even until the evening towards the end of the season.

An approach that is clearly successful because the colony of Rudi Luyten stood in the spotlights several times this season… the international victory from Souillac is the crowning of a strong series, take a look (in the main club results from Long Distance club Houtvenne):
Issoudun    174 p.        8,36,47 (7)
Brive        173 p.        8,9 (with 1° + 2° nominated from 3 p)
    Zone B    4.800 p.     200,248 (3)
Bourges (7/6)    165 p.        3,10,11,33 (4)
Montelimar    124 p.        7 (2)
Montauban    78 p.        1 (2)
    Nat    7.203 p.    166 (2)
Limoges Derby    187 p.        8,21 (6)
Limoges YL    269 p.        1,65 (4)
    Nat    16.896 p.    20… etc (preliminary forecast)
Souillac        143 p.        1,36 (3)
    Nat    7.597 p.    1…
Beautiful results, always with a small number pigeons at the start, a high price percentage, and what is particularly important and jumps out at you… the large number of top prizes that are achieved, including 3 resounding victories locally! This is not the first time that the ‘National winner Souillac’ ring B06-6166257, now christened ‘Dianeke’ by Rudi has done well, and she can be considered the ‘banner carrier’, say the ‘Nr 1’ of the Luyten Long Distance team! She had already performed as follows:
30/5 Brive    Club    173 p.        9
        Prov    1.492 p.    42
        Zone B    4.800 p.    248
20/6 Montauban Club    78 p.        1
        Zone B    2.069 p.    45
        Nat    7.203 p.    166
20/7 Souillac    Club    143 p.        1
        Nat    7.597 p.    1
On father’s side she comes out a ‘Son Mont Ventoux 062/05’ (a direct Mark Vlaeminck) x ‘Hen 031/04’ (direct William Luyten). A lady with ‘spice’, who has now opened the gates to eternal fame for Rudi Luyten and wife Diane. A more than deserved victory in one of the nicest and most honest Long Distance classics of the season qua racing conditions and progress, and from which can and may be ‘savoured’ to the full there in Ramsel! To Rudi & Diane on behalf of the entire PiPa-team, a ‘congratulations’!