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David Vermassen (Gavere, BE) wins first nat. Brive yearlings

On 13 July we saw a hard race from Brive with a north-east wind and very high temperatures. Black Hawk BE12-4184493 is the name of the national winner from Brive and he covered the 660km between Brive and Gavere with a velocity of 1105 m/min, as the fastest of 6,831 yearlings.

This is already the second national victory in the career of David Vermassen. The 38 year old tradesman took the national first prize from Gueret old birds in 2010 and three years later he takes the win in the race from Brive. His 2013 national winner was just 1 m/min too slow to de the fastest pigeon in the old bird category. He was beaten by Jacques Verschuere and Joël Verschoot, who had to share the national victory.

The pigeon loft of David Vermassen in the town of Gavere is a good example of excellent team work: David takes care of the loft but he is assisted by his mother Nadine and her friend Denis Annaert. They have really contributed to the successes of this breed in recent years. Denis is responsible for the widowers and David takes care of the racing hens and the young birds. Nadine gives a helping hand when Denis and David are at work.

Holidays and blocked telephone

Nobody saw Black Hawk arrive at the loft from Brive. David was on holiday in Turkey with his wife when his pigeon took the national first prize. He was having a beer at a hotel bar in Turkey when the first pigeons from Brive were landing. Nadine and Denis did not see their winner land either; they could only hear the beep of the electronic clocking device. “I had told them to prepare everything in time. I basketed the pigeons for Brive myself before going on holiday and everything looked great. My team for Brive had already demonstrated their form from Argenton”, David explains.

“We had everything ready in time, just like David asked. We were following the updates on PIPA. We made a few calculations based on the first arrivals and we found out the first pigeons should land in Gavere at around 17:20. We were working in the lofts when we heard a beep at 16:57; Black Hawk had arrived and we knew he would win a top prize”, Nadine and Denis said. We made quite a few phone calls to David in Turkey. “You can’t imagine how annoying it was not to be there when my pigeon had won a national first prize. I was thousands of kilometres away from the loft. We made phone call after phone call and people congratulated me on my national victory. Eventually I made so many telephone calls that my provider blocked my telephone. Back in Belgium I first had to pay my telephone bills before I could use my phone again.”

Top racer Black Hawk

The northeast wind and the high temperatures made this into a race for the strong pigeons but Black Hawk is one of them. He had already won a second nat. Zone A Montluçon three weeks ago and he has won some other top prizes as well:

Argenton national       383/25,940
Vierzon provincial        49/4058
Gueret national         204/16,988

Noyon                      12/644
Angerville                 23/431
Angerville                 28/488
Vierzon provincial       126/2,982
Montluçon zonal            2/4,766
Brive national             1/6,831

Fanciers who are familiar with the loft of David Vermassen know that their stock pair Bonte Crack x Iron Lady plays a key role in this pigeon family. Bonte Crack is the sire of Olympic Dreamgirl (First Olympiad Pigeon Poznan), ‘t Superieurke (2nd Olympiad Pigeon Ostend) and Kytana (dam of the 2nd nat. Bourges). Bonte Crack originates from pigeons of De Rauw-Sablon, Rene Van Den Heede, Jef De Ridder, etc.

The national winner is also related to this stock pair, both via his sire and his dam. ‘t Superieurke was paired to Marcus, a top class racer with excellent breeding qualities as well. He has won a first prov. Chateauroux against 4,854 pigeons and a 5th prov. Chateauroux against 3,202 birds. He is also the sire of Jamal, winner of a 2nd prov. and a 9th prov. from Bourges and Vierzon respectively. The bloodline of the first prov. from Tulle is related to the national winner as well. Click here for the pedigree of Black Hawk.


Black Hawk was raced on classic widowhood and all yearlings were placed in the widowers’ loft on 10 January. The boxes of the old widowers, which were still in the aviary, were closed so that the yearlings could pick a box themselves to get accustomed to.  After that the old widowers returned to the loft as well to be paired around the first of April. On 19 April the eggs and the hens were taken away and the pigeons were on widowhood.
The widowers are raced every two weeks and they do not see their hen before basketing. They see their hen in the weekend when there is no race, together with the cocks that arrive home from their flight.

Versele-Laga is the main supplier of pigeon feed. From their arrival until Saturday they are given 50% Dieet and 50% Sport. After that they are on a 100% Sport diet and some sweet seeds and peanuts. The pigeons are regularly examined by veterinary surgeon Vercruysse. The pigeons follow a strict plan with usually a tricho treatment and a medicine to prevent respiratory problems every 3 to 4 weeks.

Nadine and Denis with their Black Hawk

The national victory is another impressive win for the Vermassen pigeon family. Few fanciers have won two Olympiad Pigeon titles, two national victories and several zonal and provincial first prizes at the age of 38! This illustrates the quality of the pigeon breed of team David Vermasssen!