Liberated at 6h45 in ideal racing weather, a light northern wind for the first part of the journey home, which fairly soon into the course changed to southwest. Not surprising, seeing the circumstances, that the first pigeons at international level fell in Germany.
It was the combination Herbots-Heller from Zweibrücken who set down a remarkable performance by clocking 2 pigeons within a minute, good enough for places 1 + 2 International against 12.805 pigeons. They clocked their pigeons at 18h02 from a distance of 880,775 Km, and with this had the highest velocity of 1301 and 1300,36 m/min… their 3° pigeon classified at an excellent 23° place international (Provisional prognosis). The third place was won by Ernst Heike (who also won 24° Internat.), also living in Zweibrücken. He clocked exactly 1 minute after the first pigeon from Filip, Ewald and Elvira Herbots-Heller, with 1293 m/min. In the international result it is ‘Zweibrücken on top’ with no less than 8 pigeons in the ‘top-40’ at international level!
The name Herbots – Heller was held above the christening font on the 1st of January 1998. It was Filip Herbots from the Belgian Halle-Booienhoven who planned to set up a ‘Grand Distance colony’ in Germany with Ewald and Elvira Heller during the winter pigeon fair in Kassel. Grand Distance was the challenge and the international races were clearly marked on the racing calendar. We have more than once written: ‘Grand Distance’ demands great long distance pigeons. In this light, the basis of the Herbots-Heller colony was built up with sublime Jan Aarden and Jef Van Wanroy pigeons. Over the years this pedigree was bought from Dutch, Belgian and German fanciers.
The 2009 season was started with a group of 50 cocks and 50 hens. In addition there are also 25 breeding couples residing in Zweibrücken, and 100 youngsters have to guarantee the future. The racing pigeons are not raced in nest position, but according to the system of total widowhood. As a result, they can carry out a better selection both by the cocks and the hens.
In order to prepare them, the racing couples are coupled in March and when all the pigeons have eggs they are removed and the total widowhood is a fact. Both the cocks and the hens are allowed to train twice daily and for the rest they have to conquer a lot of kilometres through the various training races. If we add up all the preparatory races then we come out at 3000 km. Then the direction turned to Bordeaux and then Tarbes. In the result from the Bordeaux race it was clear that the pigeons were in good condition because more than 50% prize was obtained per 4.
In between Bordeaux and Tarbes the pigeons were allowed to train twice per day, had a mix of 3 different makes of pigeon food on the menu and given by-products from the ‘Herbots Animal Products’ gamma over the feed or in the water as regular as clockwork. Medically everything is in the hands of the veterinary surgeon Raf Herbots, and the pigeons are treated or untreated according to his advice. Something is sometimes added to the drinking water for tricho, but they are almost never cured for ornithosis. According to Ewald this is because there is hardly anything that can be given to prevent ornithosis, it is purely down to the lofts. These have been built above an extension of their house so that they are very dry. Seeing that the exits to the lofts face east… an abundance of sun can shine in the lofts early in the morning.
Sun brings warmth, dryness and cosiness and from this the form flows.
Ewald and Elvira had not been expecting the pigeons from Tarbes when suddenly 2 yearling hens dived towards the trap. These ladies were clocked with a 20-second difference and they were the only 2 pigeons from the 12.805 participants that exceeded the cape of 1300 m/m. Elvira explains: it startled us… but looking back it was a magnificent performance that will remain with us for a long time…
The winner 1° Internat. Tarbes DV08228-08-599, a blue hen called ‘Berni’… is a granddaughter of the 1° Nat Pau 2003 coupled with the 1° Nat Bergerac 2005… whilst her mother is a sister of the 1° Prize Zone Pau 2007 and a pure inbred product of ‘brother’ x ‘half-sister’ EVITA from Lothar Lessmeister (‘Evita’ won 1° Nat Barcelona 2006). The hen that won 2° Internat Tarbes, answers to the name ‘Lina’ ring DV08228-08-640 and is a granddaughter of ‘Miss Barcelona’ who was 1° Nat Ace pigeon Barcelona 94-98 (by Roel vd Burg) in crossing with the line 1° Nat Perpignan Cor de Heijde… we see by the performances of her grandparents ‘toppers’ so as 4° Nat Barcelona, 16° + 17° Nat Perpignan, 20° Nat Pau, 58° Nat Marseille, 67° Nat Tarbes…. Both international winners definitely don’t get it from a stranger!
Some insiders have … whether or not rightly or wrongly,… difficulty with the fact that in Germany they can enter yearlings for this international race, while this is not allowed in Belgium for example. Also because this is the only race where the yearlings are classified amongst the old birds (at international level), normally they race in their own category! Admittedly, it gives a different picture of the race… and you will have the first 'old pigeon’ at international level in your clock. But the criteria for this race are determined in advance, and well-known to every fancier, so not really ‘food’ for thought… and are facts that don’t alter the great achievements of these 2 yearling ‘pearls’ from the Herbots-Heller colony. So as stated earlier, it didn’t just stop with these 2 international top pigeons… their 3° pigeon stands in the provisional prognosis at place 23, while they can be found 7 times in the first 150° international. In short…one of the German top colonies in international races were not only glorious winners of this ‘top classic’, but dominated this international Tarbes impressively. Class with a capital ‘C’ … they were simply ‘the best’ from Tarbes, end of discussion !