The international race from Perpignan during the first weekend of August each year means the closing of the 'international pigeon sport season'. The organisers were very pleased that for the 2008 edition there was an increase of around 2.500 pigeons compared to the 2007 season. This was then a great windfall the only thing that could stop the guarantee of a perfect race was the weather picture. Let's admit it, after Barcelona the race from Perpignan is seen as the 2° nicest international classic in the 'Grand Distance'! This race is as it were a 'clash of the titans', where the best 'Grand Distance racers' of the season give each other 'rendez-vous', and battle for the last time for the highest honour, before starting their well-deserved rest and recuperation period. It is also an important race for the division of so many titles in the various prominent championships, not in the least the National championships and Ace pigeon titles! The weather now also threatened to be the spoilsport.
The weather computers predicted favourable racing weather for the south of France, but clear patches were predicted in the early morning for the rest of France, whereas it would soon cloud over from the west, with cloudy weather and heavy clouds with rain for the rest of the day. It turned out to be a perfect prediction, because in the early morning it rained in the western half of central France in the region of Poitiers to Tours and Le Mans, a rain area that quickly spread to the whole of central France, and was quickly driven by a strong SW-wind towards the Belgian border.
The Small Middle Distance were just able to stay ahead of the first storms, whereas the races Tulle, Vierzon and Tours had already had to settle up, while the East Flemish Angoulême (liberated 8am) almost literally drowned in the rain... whilst the races from Nantes and Le Mans were postponed until Sunday. Now also the Perpignan pigeons who were liberated at 7 am didn't arrive home in their 'dry clothes', although the persistent rain of the afternoon gradually took on a more stormy character in the early evening. The strong SW-wind ensured that the first pigeons in Belgium arrived home at around 18h30, whereas the eventual national winner by Jos and Wim Kempeneers from Nieuwerkerken landed at the trap at 18h52'55" from a distance of 918,328 km, good enough for 1283,91 m/min, for the 'crack' from Paul Coussens from Eksaarde, who was 2° (pigeon had previously won 64° Nat Barcelona in 2008) for Etienne Meirlaen from Deurle, 3° place with his "4344528/05" but nevertheless has "THE" candidate 'National Ace pigeon Grand Distance KBDB' in his lofts with a total coefficient of 0.2564%:
25° Nat Barcelona 11.484 p. (coeff= 0.2177%)
3° Nat Perpignan 7.752 p. (coeff= 0.0387%)
Which meant a 'new pearl' in the richly filled crown of the super celebrity in the 'Grand Distance' from Deurle!
The aforementioned 3 weren't good enough for an international victory, because in the international result they shift one place, since the combination I.J.J.Roobol out the Dutch Zwijndrecht near Dordrecht) had the fastest Perpignan pigeon at international level, clocked at 19u57'56" from a distance of 1.010,349 Km, with which the 'Roobol-hen' had a velocity of 1298,76 m/min. Good enough for 'International Perpignan victory' against 17.643 participating pigeons!
Jan Pol & Ina Roobol
This pigeon couple won then 1° International Perpignan 17.643 p., a windfall of format. Jan Pol (54 y) is a self-employed plasterer, and next to his busy professional life he is quite a sporty chap, and a practiser of the triathlon in addition to pigeon sport fancier. After working hours he is often found swimming 'lengths' in the swimming pool, or grinding kilometres under his bike, or is on his way for a walk all this for training, which keeps him 'busy' 6 days of the week. Where does the man get the time to take care of and train his pigeons we hear you ask? He manages quite well because on the one side he is only active in the sport with a few pigeons, and because where the care and training is concerned he has a welcomed ally in his wife Ina. Ina helps with the cleaning of the lofts and takes care of the breeding pigeons and the youngsters. Jan Pol who has had pigeons since he was a child, takes care of the racing pigeons. The total Roobol-colony consisted in 2008, next to 9 breeding couples, of 9 old + 9 yearling widowers (still 18 widowers) and 40 to 50 youngsters. In addition a team of hens is trained (in widowhood), who are trained 6 times from a short distance. From these, Jan Pol then selects 3 old hens (2 or 3 year olds) who serve as reserve for the 'Grand Distance' races, if anything should go wrong with the widowers! The actual basis of the current loft was laid with pigeons from Bas & Hugo Batenburg, when Jan Pol was working on the new house in Klaaswaal in 1995. He was given 6 youngsters, mostly grandchildren of the famous 'Witbuik'! In addition they also did very well with pigeons from Gebr Veth from Alblasserdam, A.Rijken from Heerjansdam and from good friend W.Rijkers from Dordrecht (supplier of the father 1° Intnat Perpignan, and can be seen together on the photo with Jan Pol).
Jan Pol learned a great deal from sport friend Auke Smid from Zwaagwesteinde (self 5° Nat + 13° Intnat Barcelona 2008 from 1.354 Km!!) with good tips concerning care and preparation for the international races. Auke's tips played a big role in the top successes in the 'Grand Distance', with the highlight now being the international victory from Perpignan Jan Pol wanted to involve Auke in this success and give him the honour he deserved Sportsmanship and good fellowship of the highest order!
How does he manage it all?
A fitting question, because with a busy work schedule, 6 training days per week for the triathlon, and on top of that being successful with the pigeons we don't need to draw you a picture to demonstrate that a very strict plan and schedule has to be kept to. They have to start very early in the morning in the Roobol household. At 5h20 Jan Pol creeps out of bed and at 6am the widowers are set free. At 6h45 Jan Pol leaves for work.
When the cocks return they are given 1 soup spoonful of food, usually by Ina. Jan Pol makes sure that he is usually home by 4 o'clock in the afternoon and firstly takes care of his pigeons before beginning his triathlon training. The last days prior to basketting the pigeons aren't trained from home in the evening. Jan Pol takes them to a distance of 30 to 50 Km, and releases them between 9 and 10 pm, by very clear weather he sometimes dares to release them at 22h20. First the hens are released, and fifteen minutes later the cocks. He does this for 4 consecutive days. Why, we hear you ask? We let Jan Pol answer this training has 2 objectives:
1. to teach the pigeons to continue racing as long as possible in the evening
2. When the pigeons are liberated at such a late hour, then they make haste to arrive home before dark. This is a forced training, much more intense than the normal travels round the loft! Jan Pol has more than once experienced seeing the pigeons flying over the motorway in front of him on the return journey home. You can't believe the kick you get seeing your pigeons giving 'their all' in order to return home in 'broad daylight' says Jan Pol. And where the training is concerned, you can't teach a trained athlete like Jan Pol anything new
When they return home the nest dish has been turned over, and normally the pigeons are home before their boss they are then separated straight away. Maybe this 'moment' together is an extra motivation trick?
For the entire season the pigeons are given a mixture of 50% zoontjens mixture + 50% sport + a few nibbling seeds. For the last 4 days they switch over to just sport mixture, with the addition of 10 peanuts per pigeon. On the last day they are only given peanuts for their meal! As a variation for the peanuts Jan Pol dares earlier in the season to give the pigeons 'soya flour' over the food, but then more from an economic point of view. Soya flour is after all very 'fatty', but much cheaper than peanuts. When they return home they are always given BS (from Belgica De Weerd) + glucose to drink.
Before the start of the season the pigeons are given a 7 day cure of 'Parastop', a cure that is repeated after a few weeks. Then the 'heads' are purified with a 5 day cure, something which is repeated 1x per month during the season! After the season the pigeons are coupled and stay together until December. At the end of March they come together again for the first brood, something which is repeated 3 weeks later, and then the widowhood game starts.
The 'International Perpignan winner' ring NL05-1451959, is a 'chequered white flight' hen that had earlier in the year won 8° National St.Vincent 5.204 p. and had also won a prize from Montauban. With Perpignan she has then won and excellent 3/3, with the absolute 'icing on the cake' being the victory against 17.643 pigeons at international level not just by chance as you can see! This hen was paired with 2 cocks. When she returned home from the 'trainings races' she was allowed to stay with 'cock 1' for the one evening, and the following evening by 'cock 2'. Before basketting both cocks were put 'half box' and the hen could freely 'flirt' from the one cock to the other. That clearly ensured an 'extra portion' of motivation!
She is a daughter of the "Grandson Klamper" NL00-1984660 who Jan Pol obtained from W.Rijkers from Dordrecht (out a "Son Klamper" Cor de Heijde from Made x "Daughter Barcelona" from Gebr Hagens) x "Granddaughter Witbuik" NL96-2204391 from Hugo Batenburg-Vd Merwe.
A full brother was the 2° pigeon from Perpignan, on which the Roobol family scored a fist-rate3/4! She is also a full sister of the super crack "Vino" 773/03, also no 'softie' he raced the following honours list:
19° Nat. St. Vincent 6.829 p.
16° Prov. St. Vincent 3.898 p.
39° Nat. Mont de Marsan 3.669 p.
28° Prov. Mont de Marsan 2.097 p.
152° Nat. Bordeaux 9.277 p.
113° Nat. Bergerac 12.125 p.
206° Nat. Bergerac 14.573 p.
77° Prov. Bergerac 8.762 p.
28° Prov. Bergerac 2.097 p.
104° Prov. Bergerac 8.436 p.
He was 1° Ace pigeon Long Distance club Rotterdam, 1° Ace pigeon District Drechtsteden, 5° Best Long Distance pigeon the Netherlands '06 ! He shares the lofts with other superior crack pigeons such as the "Basso" (7° Nat Bordeaux 9.277 p, 22° Nat Montauban 7.440 p, 61° Nat Bergerac 14.573 p), the "Bettini" (26° Nat St;Vincent 6.212 p, 49° Nat Narbonne ZLU 2.992 p, 65° Nat St.Vincent 6.385 p etc ), the "Baldato" (wins include 98° nat Marseille ZLU 3.679 p) etc And that people, all with lofts containing no more than 9 or 10 widowers! Almost unbelievable! What's more in other lofts the Roobol-pigeons also perform really well. A large percentage of the current 2 and 3 year olds in the Batenburg-Vd Merwe colony result from a joint breed between Hugo and Jan Pol, with even a few direct 100% Roobol pigeons amongst them. So is the current 'crack' in the lofts of superman Cas de Graaf from Arnemuiden, "Den 74", likewise a Roobol-cock 3 weeks ago this clapper won the 7° National Tarbes, and had already won 6 x 1° prizes in the space of barely 2 years!
This in addition to numerous other references, too many to mention with pigeons that Jan Pol had just given away in large numbers to his sport friends! A sign of great 'class' and 'quality' just 'very strong pigeons' with unbelievable 'character'! Let it be clear that the organisers acquired a splendid winner in their Perpignan race with Jan Pol and Ina Roobol! A small fancier in terms of the number of pigeons, but with 'massive performances' in the 'Grand Distance races' and the 'international happenings'! On behalf of the entire PiPa-team and its many readers: our warmest congratulations!