If the distance between this city and our country is +/- equal, their geographic position is not really the same. If Dax is localized into the Atlantic front, Tarbes is itself more refocused. You just have to take a look at the previous winners of the race to realize that the geographic positions of the city have an influence on its progress: since 2008, the victory has not left the grounds of the ‘Hainaut province’, after the victory of V. Lisoen from Commies, the Miyashita from Sirault last year and now the association father and son Masure from Herinnes. In 2007, the tandem Goossens-Druart won the first place but this time from Irun.
The national calendar of the extreme long distance race consists of the same races for a great number of years now. The amount of pigeons in the races is then not really variable because those races don’t have to struggle against the other races as in the middle distance. This year, 4.623 old birds were sent over there, against 4.812 last year. A small difference then. At international level, we notice a small improvement concerning the amount because there were 15.028 this year against 12.849 during the last edition. Initially programmed for the Saturday, the race was liberated on the Sunday at 6.40 due to the storm which was raging across the centre of the France. The international race was won by the Dutch Jos Martens from Stein, clocked at 18h56 from a distance of 963km, with a speed of 1309 m/min. At the national level, Thierry and Gilles Masure from Hérinnes, situated in the Tournai area, clocked their red cock at 18h20 from a distance of 869km, good enough for a speed of 1241m/min.
It’s the third time that the Tournai area can scream ‘Bingo’ this year after the victories of Christian Harchies on Bourges and Damien Baert on Argenton. Proof that Tournai is the grounds of true champions.
Thierry Masure has been a pigeon fancier for a great number of years. He was already racing his birds during the 80’s, still in Hérinnes. The long distance races were already his preference and he has won a few top 100 here and there. Inside the loft, we find an old report about a local victory in Barcelona, with the 94th place national and the 18th place in the well renowned golden wing. However, not being satisfied with all the time spent on his pigeons, having the feeling of being a slave to them, he stopped all his pigeon activities in 1999. This stop was hard to overcome due to the ‘missing feeling’. And it all came back in 2006, when Thierry wanted to restart again, even though he had moved to another district. It was not so simple to build a loft due to the residential character of this neighbourhood. The loft accommodation consists then of only an 11m loft with 5 compartments (3 for the old, 2 for the young) completed with an aviary on the left side of the loft for the widow hens. The breeders are housed in some boxes at his mother-In-law’s house. Father and son divide the work simply: Gilles, the son, takes care of the youngsterswhen he comes home from school. Due to the lack of space, the youngsters are all housed together in 2 compartments, first round and third round together. They are only trained during the end of the season to give them experience. Thierry himself takes care of the 36 widows which are divided amongst 3 compartments each year. The care is kept as simple as possible, all the pigeons receive the same food during all the year and this even during the racing season. (‘sublime moult’ from versele Laga). As preparation , they receive the last days Start Plus, still from Versele, for the last days. Garlic oil and brewer’s yeast is also given often. All this with the aim of staying as close to nature as possible. Father and son give the compulsory vaccinations. Nothing more.
The selection depends of the results of the races of course but the physical state by their arrival is also a criteria.
A new beginning
What we can easily say about them, is that the harvest in only 4 years of racing is simply unbelievable : besides the recent first national, Thierry and Gilles have won the 86th national Brive 17.456 pigeons, 64th national Cahors 5.441 pigeons, 56th national Bordeaux 3.197 pigeons, etc. But their best souvenir was done last year : they had already won the 1st Euro Regions from Bordeaux with the highest speed of the whole race of 17.674 pigeons with the only bird to fly more than 1000 m/min !!! This year, it is again another victory but at national level this time, doubled with a third place international. Has anyonesomething to add ?
What you also should know is that father and son don’t like to basket a large amount of birds. Anyway, they couldn’t do it due to the small size of their team. Two for Barcelona, three for Tarbes, etc… each time with an enormous success because a few top 100 were achieved. Is that the result of a hazardous situation? When you look at the regularity of their performance and the quality that is housed into the loft of the ‘general Lemaire street’, there is no doubt about it. This is simply the way they manage the colony, the simplicity in the care and above all the respect and the love for their pigeons which are at the basis of their performances.
As I already said, Thierry & Gilles came back into the sport in 2006 and they have already invested a lot of their time in it. They were 100% focused on the long distance. To approach this kind of race the best way, they chose to buy birds from well-known fanciers : two eggs from Georges Carteus, a few Eric Devlaminck (ex national champion extreme long distance), Onyn from Renaix, Marcel Demeyere from Tiegem, a hen from the late Henri Mornard from Verviers, Steketee Jac and finally some local origins from Anthony Pelliteri from Bléharies and a few Jean Moreau from Obigies.
They can now also fall back on another successful line. The father of the ‘Tarbes’ is at the same time grandfather of the ‘Petit Bordeaux’ who won the Euro Region race last year.
All these brilliant birds were kept and they are now 100% convinced of their capacity !!
There wasa scent of euphoria this Sunday in Hérinnes…
Not only because of the victory from Tarbes. Many indicators were positive for the realization of an exploit. Grandfather since a month, Thierry was visited by his beloved granddaughter for the first time during the home-coming of Sunday. It was enough to make him think about completing this magnificent day with a super performance from one of his protégée… a dream that was to become true a few hours later !!
He twice paid a visit to his photographer Patrick during the week preceding Tarbes. A friend of Patrick talked to Thierry with these words : ‘After Bordeaux last year, will you perform again this year or not ?’Taking hold of the Cureghem programme Thierry answered : ‘Why not…?’ at the same time his finger was involuntarily pointing the race from… Tarbes !!
Doesn’t this make you superstitious !
Posted since 18h for the arrivals, after having calculated them to return home at 18h30, it was at 18h20 when they saw the ‘Tarbes’ coming back, flying over the rooftops, like a true bullet.
The phone calls quickly followed, like is often the case in these situations…
But Thierry stayed very calm because he was thinking about being beaten by some-one who raced further. However, this was not the case this time and all was well. Our sport needs more examples like this one to show the entire world that the professionals, even if they make us all dream, don’t have the whole grip and that an exploit is really possible for everyone.
The example of Bart Verdeyen is also significant because he has just beaten the master fancier in the Barcelona race, and this whilst being only 24 years old. This is also the beautiful side of our sport.
I was really welcomed by the family Masure and I had a great time there. Meetings like this one, with people who ‘love the pigeons’ are always welcome. When you are now part of it, you’ve got everything in your hands to stay amongst the top. That is what I wish for you. Congratulations from the entire PIPA team.