David Vermassen (Gavere, BE) is General National Champion KBDB 2013, which was a predicted win

David Vermassen made a steady rise to the top in recent years and many expected him to win the title of General National Champion sooner or later.

This is of course, easier said than done but this well organised team made it a goal to win this title one day. Many pigeon fanciers dream of winning this important title but only a few of them are capable of doing so. We could say that the title of General National Champion KBDB goes to a versatile pigeon loft that performs really well over an extended period of time.

A team effort

It is no secret that David has a talent for pigeon fancying. He showed the ability to win top prizes already at the age of 19 but he does not hesitate to thank his mother Nadine and her partner Denis for their support. The three managed to combine their strengths and talents and this led to a number of impressive achievements. Denis takes care of the widowers; Nadine focuses on the young birds and the hens. David takes care of the loft in general. He does not have as much time as Nadine and Denis to spend on the pigeons because of his job.


The fanciers from Gavere have two different breeding lofts. The first loft houses 17 breeding pairs, including five fixed pairs and 12 pairs with changing partners. This is basically their stock loft. Their second loft houses 15 test pairs. 100 young birds are bred in the first round, followed by another 60 in the second and third rounds.

The 37 widowers (old birds and yearlings) and 28 hens do not breed before the season. The old widowers are kept in the aviary for a few months while the yearlings get the chance to find a place in a breeding box. The old birds return to their loft in early April after which all pigeons are paired for four days. That is when the training flights begin as well, with one training per day in the cold spring days. They are trained twice a day regularly as soon as the weather improves. These widowers are raced on classic widowhood.

The hens are raced on classic widowhood as well and they are locked in their nest box during the day. They are trained once a day and they are trained with the flag as well, until a solid training regime has been established.

The hens and the young birds get a full feeding tray but the mixture is fairly light: 50% diet and 50% sport. The cocks get a light mixture in the first week and a racing mixture in the second week, in preparation for the day of basketing. The widowers are fed separately in their breeding boxes to encourage them to mark their territory and because one pigeon eats more than the other. Another reason is that Denis can better monitor their health and physical strength. The hens cannot be seen before basketing but they can see their partner on the weeks without a race. This helps to keep them motivated and it keeps them calm on the day of basketing.

The young birds of the first round are raced with the sliding door while the second round is raced from the nest.  One thing we noticed during our visit is the strict schedule. The day to day maintenance is well organised and they have a very well equipped loft. Nothing is left to chance because they are eager to get results. Their approach has allowed them to get the most out of their widowers, hens and young birds in all disciplines. Compare it to a cycling team that excels both in the classic races, the Tour de France, the team time trial etc.

They always follow the advice of their veterinary surgeon Vandercruyssen, who provides a regular cure against trichomonas and respiratory diseases. There was no cure against paratyphus last season, because the lofts were very clean and because they had a very cold winter. The widowers and young birds get a cure against the pox virus, unlike the hens. The pigeons are given some garlic oil and brewers yeast, as well as some vitamin supplements. Their vet adds some Belgasol to the drinking bowl for when the pigeons arrive home and some purifying tea is provided regularly as well. Deweerdt eye ointment is used during the racing season as well.

Stock breeds

The stock breeds in David’s loft include the lines of Andre and Patrick De Smet (today’s pigeon breed of Patrick & Olivier De Smet), Johan De Vroe, Mark Helleputte, Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede and a hen from Bart Piens. The stock pair of Vermassen is Bonte Crack x Sayenne and both pigeons originate from top quality pigeons. Bonte Crack is a pure son of Frans (Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede), a direct son of Dream Couple De Rauw-Sablon x Griezel 934/66. This means Frans is closely related to world famous top breeder Freddy of the late Pros Roosens.
Sayenne is a daughter of Iron Lady, winner of the title of Provincial Ace Pigeon Youth Club East Flanders and winner of a 1st National Argenton Zone 1. Their stock pair has bred an impressive number of great pigeons: the national winner from Gueret, the 2nd Olympiad Pigeon Middle Distance 2007 and the 1st Olympiad Pigeon Cat. H Poznan 2011 were bred from Bonte Crack x Sayenne.

1st National Brive Yearlings of Black Hawk (BE12-4184493) was the start of a success story

We almost forgot to mention that one of the highlights of the 2013 season was the national victory from Brive yearlings with Black Hawk (BE12-4184493). This champion took the first prize against 6,482 yearlings in a difficult race from Brive, with a velocity of 1,105 m/min. Click here for the pedigree of Black Hawk. He won quite a few other prizes in the past two seasons as well:

Argenton national        383/25,940
Vierzon provincial         49/4,058
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

He was the leading man of an exceptionally strong pigeon that won the following titles in 2013:

1st General Champion of Belgium
1st General Champion AJD East Flanders
1st Long Distance Championship East Flanders old birds & yearlings
2nd Provincial Champion Longer Middle Distance
2nd Champion Old Birds Cureghem Centre
2nd General Ace Pigeon Championship old birds-yearlings-young birds in Championship of Bruges
3rd General Champion Cureghem Centre
4th Champion OVV interprovincial old birds and yearlings
5th General Champion FVOV
1st national Brive yearlings
1st zonal Issoudun old birds
2nd zonal Montluçon yearlings

Click here to take a look at all the results of 2013

Title of General National Champion is like winning a decathlon gold medal

Olympic decathletes are often considered the most complete sportsmen and everybody agrees that the winners of ace pigeon titles or general championship titles are the most versatile pigeon families. You have to win top prizes in nine different disciplines (from the longer middle distance to the sprint competition) with the old birds, the yearlings and the young birds to become general champion. The winner of this title is without doubt a great champion. We give you the complete top ten, which includes nothing but the very best fanciers from Belgium:

1  Vermassen David             Gavere
2  Verschoot Joël              Ingelmunster
3  Panza Roberto               Ans
4  Pollin Marc                 Jabbeke
5  Platteeuw Kurt & Raf        Rumbeke
6  Devos Etienne & Frank       Deerlijk
7  Hebberecht Chris            Evergem
8  Bascourt  Nicolas           Braine-Le-Comte
9  Van De Walle Marc & Franky  Zwalm
10 De Smet Patrick & Olivier   Semmerzake

We are convinced that this team of three motivated and dedicated fanciers from Gavere will continue to achieve great results in the future. PIPA wishes them all the best for the future.